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The United States Navy was established October 13, 1775 by the Continental Congress when it authorized the dispatch of two armed vessels ordered to search for munitions ships supplying the British Army. During the Revolutionary War the Continental Navy maintained nearly 50 ships with 20 active at its maximum strength. After the war, Congress sold the ships and released the seamen and officers. In 1789, the Constitution empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." In 1794, Congress ordered the construction of six frigates which were administered by the War Department until Congress established the Department of the Navy on April 30, 1798. The birthplace of the Navy can be attributed to several cities playing significant roles in the development of the of the first American Fleet. Philadelphia was home to the Continental Congress and subsequently the Continental Navy; it was the first port from which the initial fleet of four vessels set out to sea. Other cities claim the title of "birthplace of the Navy" such as: Machias Maine, Providence Rhode Island, Beverly and Marblehead Massachusetts, and even Whitehall, New York. Although, the United States Navy does not officially recognize any of these cities as it's birthplace, the Navy does trace it's roots to the Continental Navy. For more stories of the U.S. Navy visit the Navy Historical Center website.