Believing they could stand against the British, the Continental Congress established the U.S. Navy on November 28, 1775. Admiral Esek Hopkins was the first (and only) Commander-in-Chief of the American "fleet" (six war vessels).
The first battleship owned by America was the U.S.S. Alfred (formerly a 24-gun private vessel known as the Black Prince). Lt. John Paul Jones took command of the one-year-old Alfred on December 3, 1775, as he raised the first flag of the United States: the Grand Union Flag.
With additional weapons and a new Continental Navy in place, the thirteen colonies ended 1775 in a way they would never end another year: British-owned. Within months, the patriots would formally declare their independence from George III.