Charley didn’t know anything about guns, but the sailors and Mr. Silas Stuart, the mate, seemed impressed with the speed of the “Cannies” at their stations. Naturally, they placed bets on whether the next shot would hit the barrel floating off the starboard bow.
“They’re fast, but accuracy counts,” Stuart said. “Now, if you want to see real accuracy, watch the Americans. ‘Cousin Jonathan’ is so skinflint about outfitting ships I suspect the cost of each ball that doesn’t hit its mark is deducted from the sailors’ pay!”
“Those Yankees will never be able to stand against our big Navy guns,” the cook said with a grin.
The cook aboard the Lady Jane was wrong. The United States Navy was able to stand against the Royal Navy's guns in war, not once, but twice within 40 years. Each time, the young nation proved itself a force to be reckoned with.
We celebrate our hard-won independence this weekend as John Adams said we should: "It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."
Have a safe and patriotic 4th of July! If you're looking for some appropriate reading, I recommend one of my favorite histories of the American Revolution.