U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1886-1889
As of December each year
|OLD NAVY $||36||36||36||35|
* Mostly protected cruisers plus two armored cruisers and three unprotected cruisers.
** Although not a gunboat, the steel-hulled despatch boatDolphinwas part of the "New Navy". The great increase in numbers after 1897 includes new building, conversions, and war prizes.
*** All wooden or iron ships until 1898 when the wartime expansion included eleven merchant ships temporarily converted to auxiliary cruisers.
^ Includes one steam sloop and one steam sloop-of-war.
~ Includes wooden, composite, and iron gunboats.
@ Includes one sloop-of-war and three training ships.
$ The distinction between "Old" Navy and "Steel" Navy is somewhat artificial, the former being the old iron-hulled vessels with early steam engines, while the latter term covers (with a few exceptions) the new steel-hulled triple-expansion steam engine warships that become the standard ships of 20th-century navies.
• U.S. authorized first vessels of the "steel navy" in 1883 and 1885.
• First battleship (pre-dreadnought) authorized in 1886.
• Publication of Alfred Thayer Mahan's widely read but often misunderstoodThe Influence of Sea Power Upon Historyin 1890.