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A row galley was a term used by the early United States Navy for an armed watercraft that used oars rather than sail as a means of propulsion . During the "age of sail" row galleys had the advantage of propulsion while ships of sail might be stopped or running at slow speed because of lack of wind for their sails.

Even row galleys were sometimes fitted with sails.[1]

During the American Revolution, row galleys, such as the USS Spitfire and the Washington, with crews of up to 60 oarsmen, were employed successfully in battle against larger warships.

During the American Civil War, Union Navy and Confederate Navy ships operating in rivers and other interior waterways, would send row galleys to surprise and capture enemy ships anchored for the night.[citation needed]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Winfield, Rif. British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714-1792. 2007. p. 334

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