American Yachts in Naval Service: A History from the Colonial Era to World War II
Kenneth Howard Goldman
Before there was a U.S. Navy, several Colonial navies were all-volunteer—both the crews and the vessels. From its beginnings through World War II, the Navy has relied on civilian sailors and their fast vessels to fill out its ranks of small combatants. Beginning with the birth of the yacht in 17th century Netherlands, this illustrated history traces the development of yacht racing, the advent of combustion-engine power and the contribution privately owned vessels have made to national defense. Vessels conscripted during the Civil War served both the Union and Confederacy—sometimes changing sides after capture. The first USS Wanderer saw the slave trade from both sides of the law. Aboard the USS Sylph, Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine fought the Third Reich’s U-boats under sail. USS Sea Cloud made history as the first racially integrated ship in the Navy, three years before President Truman desegregated the military.