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Joshua Barney

1775-1818

Commodore Joshua Barney, earned a commission in the nascent Continental Navy, sailed as a privateer, and served as a commodore in both the French and American navies. Although largely forgotten, he was one of the most clever, competent officers of the American sailing navy.

A natural seaman and leader with extraordinary courage, Barney took part in thirty-five Revolutionary War naval engagements and was imprisoned three times, but escaped twice using resourceful disguises. In his later years Barney became a national hero defending the Chesapeake during the War of 1812.

Joshua Barney was among the first to use the American flag for naval recruitment, sailed under the banner on the first American vessel to receive a cannon salute from a foreign nation, and carried the stars and stripes into the French National Assembly as the new republic received American diplomatic recognition Finally the commodore served on the committee that ordered the Fort McHenry flag which became the "Star Spangled Banner."

By: Louis Arthur Norton, emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, has written numerous articles on maritime history.


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