U.S. #794 – Did you know Jimmy Carter is the only Naval Academy graduate to ever be elected President?

U.S. Naval Academy Opened

Decades after America’s first ships took to the oceans to defend its interests, the U.S. Naval Academy was opened on October 10, 1845.

The Continental Navy was founded during the American Revolutionary War to battle the Royal Navy at sea. And in 1783, Revolutionary naval hero John Paul Jones first proposed that America establish a school to train midshipmen. But after the war ended, the navy was demobilized to save money.

Item #59890 – Neat First Day Cover for U.S. #3001 (below) that also includes a U.S. Naval Academy commemorative medal.

America wasn’t without its navy for long, though. In 1794, President George Washington convinced Congress to create a new navy to face the rising threat of pirates. Decades later, President John Quincy Adams asked Congress to create a Naval Academy, yet they still didn’t see it as a priority.

Though Congress wouldn’t create a formal academy, it didn’t mean others didn’t create their own. There were smaller naval academies in Philadelphia, New York City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Boston, Massachusetts. In fact, in September 1842, an American brig left the Brooklyn Naval Yard with teenage naval apprentices on board. The young men were undisciplined and schemed to mutiny the ship. The story was national news and lead many to doubt the idea of sending young recruits out on the boats.

U.S. #3001 – The USNA’s first superintendent, Franklin Buchanan, went on to become the Confederate Navy’s only full Admiral.

But Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft believed in the importance of the academy and fought for its establishment, as well as Congressional funding. The Naval School, as it was then known, opened its doors on October 10, 1845 with a class of 50 midshipmen and seven professors. The school occupied a 10-acre Army post named Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland.

Initially, students attended for five years – spending the first and last years in the classroom and the others at sea. In 1850, the school was renamed the United States Naval Academy. Students now attend school for four years, spending their summers at sea. A new school was built in 1899 and the old one was demolished a decade later.

U.S.N.A. graduates have participated in every major U.S. War since the Mexican-American War. Today, the campus spans 338 acres and welcomes 1,000 new students every year.

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  1. As a former sailor of he Vietnam war,storylike this is most important to me.as a collector this history blows me away.

  2. Your caption that states that George Bancroft, the Academy’s founder, joined the Confederacy during the Civil War is wrong. A native of New York, he supported the Union during that conflict. You may have mistaken him with the Academy’s first Superintendent, Franklin Buchanan, who did join the Confederate Navy and was captain of the MERRIMACK during its famous battle with the MONITOR.

  3. Do you have a complete printed set of all the Day in History articles that you publish online?
    It would be great to have all of them to put in a loose leaf binder or book and refer to them as needed. The series is very interesting and fun to read and refer back to. But would like to have the complete set already printed without having to search back online . If you have a complete set, I’d be interested.

  4. That first set of Navy stamps is so beautifully engraved and yet so affordable for any collector. The Navy, though I was Air Force, is our first line of defense. And as far as conflicts around the world they are the first there with the Marine Corps on board and first to fight. I salute those who serve in the US Navy and thank you for your service. You watch while we sleep.

  5. Go Navy! This was a good introduction to the history of the Naval Academy. I didn’t know that President Carter was a graduate. Thanks for that information.

  6. I’m always amazed to read a part of history, in these articles, that I never heard before. I know I’m getting old but, I’m sure I never heard about the scheme to mutiny or the George Bancroft story.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. When I share these on face book, the stamp in the article does not appear in the posting – only large text This Day in History – it would be more attractive if the stamp being highlighted was shown.

  8. I am watching Mystic History every day and I am at my set early in the morning….
    I like the stamps that go with the day………..
    Thanks Mystic…you make my day!!!


  9. Like Rose Corry above, I would be interested in a printed set of the complete set. Please let me know if you anticipate developing a hard copy set anytime soon.

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