List of U.S. Navy vessels in service and lost, 1812
This report to President James Madison confirmed that all ships worthy of repair had been requisitioned for service. Among them was the U.S.S. Constitution, whose capture of the H.M.S. Guerriere in August 1812 would be the first American naval victory of the war. In January 1813 Congress approved legislation to expand the U.S. Navy.
All the public vessels, worthy of repair, have been put in requisition, & the following are now in actual Service
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
The War of 1812
In 1812 Congress exercised for the first time its constitutional power to declare war. Provoked by Britain’s refusal to respect the neutrality of United States merchant vessels during Britain’s war with France, Congress declared war against Great Britain. British superiority at sea—already evident in its seizure of American ships and impressment of sailors—gave it military advantages. Awakened to the need for greater sea power, Congress acted to provide and maintain a stronger navy.