Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Sea Raiders of the American Revolution: the Continental Navy in European Waters

Bowen-Hassell, E. Gordon, Dennis Michael Conrad, and Mark L. Hayes. 2003. Sea raiders of the American Revolution: the Continental Navy in European waters. Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, Dept. of the Navy.

(Find in a library – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/605992304)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How did the US manage to attack British shores during the Revolution?
  • What was “commerce raiding?”
  • Was the Navy a state or national force during the Revolution?
  • What are some character flaws I can give to an otherwise successful commander?


This well illustrated book provides background on Lambert Wickes, Gustavus Conyngham and John Paul Jones, three successful naval captains in the American Revolution. Tactics, raids and relationships with authority are discussed. Sidebars provide information on daily life and weapons used on American vessels.

The book explains how the Continental Navy was only one of several American navies. Most of the colonies maintained their own navies, as did the National Army.


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