OCTOBER 13, 1775: The Continental Congress authorizes the outfitting of ships to intercept munitions and stores being transported to British forces operating in the colonies, laying the groundwork for what would later grow into the United States Navy. The following month the new maritime force was organized under commander Esek Hopkins, who had operated as a privateer during the French and Indian War. Ordered by Congress to attack the British fleet at Chesapeake Bay or otherwise “distress the Enemy by all means in your power,” Hopkins sailed to the British port at Nassau in the Bahamas, seizing valuable supplies in an operation that saw the first amphibious assault by the Continental Marines. Nevertheless, Hopkins’s decision was controversial, and he was later censured and relieved of command. Disbanded after the Revolutionary War, the modern Navy was established with the Naval Act of 1794, which authorized the construction of the service’s first six frigates.