A Complete List of the American Navy. Showing the Name, Number of Guns, Commander’s Name, and Station of each Vessel, To July 1, 1813—Including those on the Lakes… / Steele’s List of the Royal Navy of Great Britain, for 1813.
This rare broadside, or oversized printed sheet, presents a complete list of vessels and commanders in both the United States Navy and British Royal Navy as of July 1, 1813. At that time, Great Britain’s massive list of some 860 warships, according to Steele’s tally, dwarfed America’s modest fleet of fewer than 60 ships. The broadside’s layout underscores the mighty Royal Navy’s substantial advantage over the fledgling U.S. Navy. Also noted is each vessel’s number of guns, commander, and current station. USS Constitution, for example, was stationed in Boston under the command of Captain Charles Stewart. Asterisk and dagger symbols on the British side indicate ships captured by the U.S. Navy. By the time of this printing, HMS Guerriere and HMS Java were already captured and destroyed by Constitution. The italicized ship names indicate captured vessels, and this broadside’s owner took the liberty of manually scratching out a recently captured ship from the British side, the 14-gun Boxer, and inserting it into the American list of warships.
Navy lists such as this were published regularly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This particular broadside, published by John Low of New York, is a reprint of Steele’s list originally published in London.