American Yachts in Naval Service

A History from the Colonial Era to World War II

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Kenneth H. Goldman has written historical pieces for Navis Magazine and has sold several screen and radio plays. The International Journal of Maritime History called his first naval history book “an important addition to the literature of American naval vessels” and the Journal of America’s Military Past said, “The author does a superb job combining the USS Charles Carroll’s history with the recollections of her crew.” He is also a professional designer and fabricator of scale model kits of Civil War guns, horse-drawn wagons and WWI aircraft. He lives in Southern California.

Bibliographic Details

Kenneth Howard Goldman
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: 60 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8260-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4074-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

1. Beginnings 5

2. Minor Wars, Expeditions and Detours 18

3. A House Divided 27

4. War with Spain 59

5. The War to End War 83

6. World War Again 111

Epilogue 145

Appendix 1: Instructions to Commanders of Privateers 147

Appendix 2: The Trent Affair 150

Appendix 3: Yachts Acquired for Service in the War with Spain 151

Appendix 4: Yachts Over 100 Feet in World War I Naval Service, Including Shorter Vessels Named in Text 158

Appendix 5: World War II Yachts 169

Chapter Notes 183

Bibliography 197

Index 209

Book Reviews & Awards

“‘What’s the difference between a ship, a boat, and a yacht?’” That’s one of the oldest debates among sailors. As Kenneth Howard Goldman points out in this fascinating new approach to maritime history, each type has a unique history and purpose, and all three team up during naval wars. From the Revolution’s spy sloops to World War II’s coastal patrols, here is an overlooked chapter in American maritime history.”—John Rousmaniere, author of The New York Yacht Club: A History