French Warship Losses, 1792-1800
When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, France had the second largest navy in the world, and one which had greatly distinguished itself during the War of the American Revolution, notably in the Battle of the Chesapeake Bay in 1781, one of the few times that Britain actually lost command of the seas at a critical moment.
But the Revolution changed that, as career officers, mostly aristocrats, were purged or fled abroad, leaving the fleet in the hands of jumped-up junior officers and even common seamen. It was a blow from which the French Navy never recovered, as can be seen by the figures for loses of major warships – ships-of-the-line and frigates – during the Wars of the Revolution.
|Major Warship Loses, 1792-1800|
|Sunk in Action||11||14|
|Lost to the Sea||10||6|
In addition to these serious loses of major warships, the French lost about 150 smaller warships, 743 ships fitted as privateers, and over 1,300 merchant vessels.
A Problem in the Ranks . . . and the Horse Lines
In 1900 the U.S. Army activated a new cavalry regiment, the 15th. Normally this should have been a routine matter, involving transferring seasoned troopers and horses from existing regiments. But the 15th was to be raised in the Philippines, where both experienced cavalrymen and trained mounts were scarce. Of course, both men and animals were available. The men were recruited in the Philippines from discharged personnel from the volunteer infantry regiments that had served in the Islands during the Spanish-American War, while the horses were untrained mounts bought from Australia. Nor were the officers available much more useful most of them having been commissioned directly from civilian life through political intervention. Needless to say, this created some problems.
The major responsible for organizing the 3rd Squadron of the new regiment expressed these problems elegantly,
I have 400 men who have never seen a horse. I have 400 horses who have seen seen a man. And I have 15 officers who have never seen a man or a horse.