From Revolutionary War herocics to the launching of the Constitution , Samuel Nicholson was a seminal, and largely unsung, founding father of U.S. naval tradition - despite a career of ups and downs.
When thinking about the pioneers of American naval history, Esek Hopkins would not likely be the first name to come to mind. Neither would Hector McNeill, Abraham Whipple, nor William Hallock. From the brief existence of the Continental Navy, only Captain John Paul Jones’ improbable victory over HMS Serapis and his famous declaration “I have not yet begun to fight” are well known. Yet Hopkins was the first commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy, and the others were among the first captains commissioned with Jones. These patriot-adventurers fought for their young country’s cause without gaining the acclaim given to Jones or to their colleagues on land.