Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves and the North American Squadron 1774-1776

By Donald A. Yerxa, published November 1976


The failure of the Royal Navy’s North American squadron between 1774 and 1776 contributed to the momentum gained by colonial protests that led to the American War of Independence. This article considers the activities of the squadron including blockade, commerce warfare and amphibious assault. The factors contributing to the perceived failure of the squadron are considered, including the inactive and lacklustre character of the squadron’s commander, Vice-Admiral Graves, at a crucial time when decisive action was called for, as well as the failure of the Admiralty to provide specific instructions or sufficient naval resources given the length of coast, the numerous tasks assigned to the squadron and the difficulties of policing the Boston Port Act.

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Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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