In October of 1880 Britian declared war on America.
The American Navy consisted of two battle fleets, and a transport fleet. Each battlefleet had 3 Heavy Cruisers(with corvette escort), 2 Ironclads(with corvette escort), and 4 Ironclads. The transport fleet had 9 steamer convoys.
The 1st Battle fleet was escorting the transport fleet near Cambodia when war broke out with England. Both fleets went to port in Cambodia to refit and prepare for a war with the world's greatest naval power.
The 2nd Battle Fleet was based in Boston, and despite frequent landings by the British, the Secretary of the Navy refused to send the fleet from its port until it was "ready" for battle.
It was six months before the American Navy sallied into battle. In the East, the 2nd Battle fleet engaged and defeated several small British fleets, primarilly transports with frigate escort. This fleet provided cover as the transport fleet landed General Sherman's 1st Army, which took British Malaysia, and then escorted the transport fleet with the 1st Army(minus 2 divisions to garrison Malaysia) to Australia. The 2nd fleet saw no more action in 1881.
In the Atlantic, the decisive battle of the War was fought between two skilled fleets. The American 1st Fleet sallied out to do battle on April 9th, 1881. Meeting the 9 Iron-Armored ships was a british task force of 20 warships, roughly half Men-of-War, and half frigates. Over the next 8 days, the fleets traded salvos(they had a really slow reload rate I guess), until on April 17th, a few British frigates limped away. The lead American warship, the Ironclad Galena, had taken some very armor scratches. There were no casualties on the American side. On May 2, 1881 the fleet moved to the Gulf of Main, to stop an anticipated British landing. It was there that an Empire was undone.