The first Hornet is christened. Hornet would become one of the most distinguished names in American naval history with her performance in the Revolutionary War. The first two ships in the new Continental Navy were Hornet and Wasp.
In a one hour gun battle, the second Hornet, along with another sloop, battered the canons at the citadel at Djerna, damaging one of the walls enough to allow the Marines to rush over it and capture the citadel, thus deciding the war with the Barbary Pirates.
The third Hornet, a large sloop-of-war, was built in Baltimore in 1805 and was the first of its name designed as a warship. During the War of 1812 with Britain, she was victorious in several noted battles. While under the command of James Lawrence in 1813, she defeated the HMS Peacock in a widely acclaimed sea battle. Lawrence was promoted and later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Hornet continued carrying out anti-piracy operations in the Caribbean Sea after the war until lost at sea during a heavy gale off Tampico, Mexico in 1829.
The fourth ship to bear the name Hornet was a small five-gun schooner, used principally for inshore patrol work as a dispatch vessel. It did serve concurrently to the third Hornet.
An iron-side wheeler was number five, and the first Hornet to be steam-propelled. She was captured from the Confederates off North Carolina in 1864 and saw service with the U.S. Fleet during the rest of the Civil War.
The sixth Hornet was a converted yacht purchased for use in the Spanish-American War. After participating in operations at Daiquiri and Siboney, this Hornet, in company with two other converted yachts, met a superior force of Spanish ships at Manzanillo. In spite of being outnumbered three to one, the American ships attacked the Spanish group; they succeeded in sinking of disabling the entire enemy squadron while the Hornet suffered no casualties.
The seventh ship named Hornet was an early aircraft carrier. USS Hornet (CV-8) was the third and final member of the Yorktown class, commissioned just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a pre-World War II vessel, her size was limited in accordance with naval treaties of the 1930’s. CV-8 was sunk during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in late October 1942
The eighth Hornet (CV-12) was commissioned just 15 months after her keel was laid.