Stephen, naval officer, born in Newport, R. 1., in 1751; died in
Frankford, near Philadelphia, 14 November, 1808. His father was a native of
Rochelle, in France, and an officer in the French navy, who had immigrated to
the United States, and married an American lady. Stephen was captain of a
merchantman at an early age, and during the Revolution commanded the privateers
"Royal Louis" and "Fair American," gaining distinction by
the capture of English vessels. He was appointed post captain in the navy on 11
May, 1798, at the beginning of hostilities with France, mid in the
"Delaware," twenty guns, cruised on the American coast and in the West
Indies, and captured the French privateers "Le Croyable" and "Marsuin."
He commanded a squadron of thirteen vessels on the Guadeloupe station in 1800,
and after his discharge from the service, under the peace establishment of 1801,
engaged in business in Philadelphia.
son, Stephen Decatur, naval
officer, born in Sinnepuxent, Maryland, 5 January 1779; died near Bladensburg,
Maryland, 22 March, 1820. He made a voyage with his father in 1787. At the age
of seventeen he was employed by Messrs. Gurney and Smith, of Philadelphia (who
were agents for the navy), and went to New Jersey to superintend the getting out
of the keel pieces for the frigate "United States," m which ship he
was launched, and which he successfully commanded in the war of 1812'5. Through
the aid of Commander Barry, he obtained a warrant as midshipman, dated 30 April,
1798, and was placed on board the frigate " United States." He was at
that time nineteen years of age, well informed" for his age, chivalrous in
temper, courteous in his deportment, and adding grace of manner to an attractive
person. While attached to the frigate "United States" under Com.
Barry, Decatur cruised in the West Indies, capturing several French privateers
that were preying upon American Commerce. He labored hard to make himself master
of his profession. On one occasion the " United States" chased the
French privateer "L'Amour de la Patrie," of six guns, which vessel, in
attempting to escape, received a twenty-four pound shot at her waterline from
the "United States." She at once shortened sail and surrendered, and
Decatur was sent in a boat to take possession. When he got alongside, "L'Amour
de la Pattie" was sinking fast, and the crew, stripped of their clothing,
were assembled at the side, begging to be taken into the boat. As it was
impossible to take on board sixty men, Decatur ordered the French captain to put
his helm up and run down to the frigate as the only chance of saving the crew.
This was done, and though the vessel sank when within fifty yards of the "
United States," the crew was saved to a man.
a short time Decatur became a good officer and an excellent sailor. A
contemporary said he was a man of an age, an officer of uncommon character and
rare promise, one not equaled in a million. Just at the time this remark was
made, the cry "Man overboard!" resounded through the ship, and boats
were called away. Without hesitation, Decatur sprang from the mizzen chains, and
in a few moments his muscular arms were holding the drowning man above the
waves, which he continued till the boats reached the spot, when he passed the
nearly dying youth into one of them, and then climbed in himself. It is of such
men that heroes are made, and the one Decatur saved, while himself gaining
celebrity, lived to see his preserver attain a fame unsurpassed by that of any
officer of his time in the American navy. In 1799 Decatur was commissioned
lieutenant. He sailed again with Com. Barry when he conveyed the commissioners
to France. On the return of the " United States" she was laid up for
thorough repairs. Decatur obtained orders to the "Norfolk," of
eighteen guns, Commander Thomas Calvert, but in September, 1800, again joined
his old ship the " United States." When the French war was ended, and
the treaty of peace between France and the United States had been ratified by
the senate on 3 February, 1801, and promulgated by the president, congress
passed a law directing the sale of the whole navy except six ships, and
discharging from the service all but nine of the twenty-eight captains, all of
the commanders, and all but thirty-six of the one hundred and ten lieutenants.
Stephen Decatur was one of those selected to remain in the navy. His brother
James also remained as a midshipman, while the gallant commander (the elder
Decatur) resigned his commission and returned to private life.
discharge of the officers and crews was no sooner effected than the pacha of
Tripoli, though the United States paid him yearly tribute most faithfully and
shamefully, felt slighted because our government had presented a fine frigate to
the dey of Algiers, and had sent him none; and also because one of the ministers
of the bay of Tunis had received $40,000 from the United States, whereas he (the
paeha) had received but little more. On 10 May, 1801, the impudent pacha
declared war against the United States, cut down the American flagstaff, and
began hostilities against the American merchant marine, at that time totally
unprotected. A squadron of four vessels, under the command of Com. Richard Dale,
was fitted out, and Decatur joined the "Essex," one of the squadron,
being selected by Captain Bainbridge to fill the important place of first
lieutenant when he had been but three years in the navy. After performing
effective service in restraining the Barbary powers from molesting American
vessels, and convoying American Merchantmen safely into the Atlantic, the
"Essex" sailed for New York on 17 June, 1802, reaching that port on 22
July. Decatur joined there the frigate " New York," Captain James
Barron, and sailed again for the Mediterranean. He was transferred to the
command of the "Norfolk," of eighteen guns, and afterward to the
schooner "Enterprise," of twelve guns, under Com. Preble. The latter,
hearing of the loss of the "Philadelphia" off Tripoli by striking on a
reef, sailed in the frigate "Constitution" for that place, taking
Decatur with him.
23 Dec. Decatur captured the ketch "Mastico" off Tripoli, which vessel
was named the "intrepid," and afterward was used to destroy the
"Philadelphia," then moored under the guns of Tripoli, the Tripolitans
having succeeded in getting her afloat and taking her into the harbor. Decatur
volunteered for this service, left Syracuse in midwinter, and arrived off
Tripoli, 16 February 1804, and, with a picked crew of officers and men, stood
into the harbor, boarded the "Philadelphia," and carried her. Then the
order was given to set fire to her, and in ten minutes she was ablaze. Decatur
and his crew escaped to the "Intrepid," and made their way out of the
harbor amid the rapid firing and falling shot of 141 guns. The
"Philadelphia" was totally destroyed. Admiral Nelson pronounced this
"the most daring act of the age." In the subsequent attack on Tripoli,
Decatur took charge of a division, and greatly distinguished himself in taking
vengeance on the Tripolitans for the death of his brother James. He received his
commission as captain, in reward for his gallant services in destroying, the
"Philadelphia," on 22 May, 1804. He served at Tripoli during the war,
and in September was appointed by Preble to the command of the
"Constitution," from which he was afterward transferred to the frigate
"Congress." Peace between Tripoli and the United States having been
concluded, 3 June, 1805,
returned home, laid up the "Congress," and was received most
enthusiastically throughout the country. In February, 1808, he was appointed a
member of the court martial that tried Com. James Barron for surrendering the
"Chesapeake" to the British man-of-war "Leopard." Decatur
was next appointed to command the "Chesapeake." This was during the
time that the embargo was laid on British commerce. He was afterward ordered to
the frigate " United States," in which ship, in 1810, he hoisted his
broad pennant as commodore of the southern station. He held this command when
war began between England and the United States in 1812. Putting to sea, he soon
fell in with the British frigate "3Iacedonian," which he captured
after a short, sharp action, in which the enemy's ship was completely dismasted
and much cut to pieces. Jury masts were rigged, and the "Macedonian"
brought safely into port. In the spring of 1814 Decatur took command of the
frigate " President" and a squadron consisting of the
"Peacock," the "Hornet," and the store ship" Tom
left his squadron in New York to escape the British blockade ; but, having
grounded m going to sea and injured his vessel, he decided to return to port for
repairs, but fell in with four British frigates, to which the " President
" was obliged to surrender after a most obstinate resistance, which one
frigate, the "Endymion," was so cut up as to be obliged to haul out
(or she drifted out) of action. The "President " was not surrendered
until she was surrounded by the three other frigatesthe" Majestic,"
the "Pomone," and the "Tenedos" and when her decks had the
appearance of a slaughterhouse. She had twenty-five killed and sixty wounde done
quarter of her crew. While the war of 1812 was in progress, the day of Algiers
began to capture American merchantmen; and, when peace was established, the
United States fitted out two squadrons to punish Algiers for her treachery and
the violation of her treaty. Decatur was given the command of one squadron and
Bainbridge of the other.
Decatur's arrival in the Mediterranean, he captured the Algerine frigate "Mashouda,"
forty-six guns, flagship of Admiral Rais Hammida, after a brave resistance. He
also captured, subsequently, the Algerine brig of war "Estedio." He
arrived off Algiers on 28 June, 1815, where peace was concluded on terms very
favorable to the United States. It was stipulated that the United States should
never pay tribute to the dey of Algiers, and all Christian captives were to be
released. This treaty and the demands of Decatur gave the deathblow to that
cruel system which for centuries, to the shame of Christendom, had elevated the
Barbary powers into baneful importance. Decatur next went to Tunis and demanded
indemnity from the bey for violating treaty stipulations, which demand was
conceded. He then made a similar demand on the pacha of Tripoli, and for the
release of Neapolitan and Danish prisoners, all of which was granted, thus
ending forever the pretensions of the Barbary powers.
this Decatur received the thanks of all Europe; and, on the assembling Of
congress in December, 1815, President Madison began his message with a high
eulogium upon his success against the Barbary states. Decatur arrived in
Washington in January, 1816, and was appointed navy commissioner with Commodores
Rodgers and Porter, in which office he gave all his zeal, skill, and experience
in building up the young navy of the republic. While attached to the board of
navy commissioners Decatur made some remarks of a censorious nature against Com.
Barron, which the latter objected to, and which Decatur refused to retract,
though he disclaimed any intention to be insulting. A long correspondence
ensued, in which Decatur did all that an honorable man could do to remove
unfavorable impressions from Com. Barron's mind, but nevertheless the latter
challenged Decatur. The meeting occurred at Bladensburg, 22 March, 1820, Captain
Elliott being Barton's second, and Com. Bainbridge Decatur's. When the word
"fire" was given, Barron fell, wounded in the hip, where Decatur said
he would shoot him. Decatur was shot in the abdomen, and fell soon after Barren.
He was taken to his home, where he died that night. No man was ever more
regretted by the country than this heroic officer, to whom the highest honors
were accorded, and he was followed to his grave by the largest concourse of
people public and private that had ever assembled in Washington City.
younger brother, James Decatur, entered the navy as midshipman, 21 November,
1798, and was promoted to be lieutenant, 20 April, 1802. In the attack of 3
August,1804, on the Tripolitans,
he commanded one of the American gunboats, and was instantly killed by a
musketball while attempting to board one of the enemy's vessels.
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Commodore Stephen Decatur
Commodore Stephen Decatur. Born in Sinepuxent, Maryland
on January 5, 1779. Died March 22, 1820. ...
... Stephen Decatur. 1779-1820. In the WAR OF 1812, Decatur captured the
British frigate Macedonian. Start your search on Stephen Decatur. ...
... Stephen Decatur, b. Sinepuxent, MD January 5, 1779 d. March 22, 1820. Born
and raised in Philadelphia, Decatur showed evidence of the bold and ...
About Stephen Decatur High
... DECATUR, Stephen (1779-1820). "The most daring act of the age,"
said Lord Nelson,
the famous British admiral. He was speaking of Stephen Decatur's exploit in ...
xrefer - Decatur, Stephen
(1779 - 1820)
... Decatur, Stephen (1779 - 1820), US naval officer. He commanded the United
in the War of 1812, defeating the British Macedonia . He commanded the squadron
... Decatur, Stephen (1779-1820), American naval officer, born on January 5,
Sinepuxent, Maryland, and educated at the University of Pennsylvania. During ...
Stephen - Britannica.com
... ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA. Decatur, Stephen. Decatur, detail from an
Henry Meyer after a portrait by John W ... b. Jan. 5, 1779, Sinepuxent, Md., US
Indixie City Tour "Decatur,
... when it was founded by order of the US Congress and President James Monroe
of the renowned US naval officer Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820). ...
History of Decatur,
... President James Monroe in honor of the renowned US naval officer Commodore
Decatur (1779-1820). Decatur, who won a sword from Congress and a captaincy ...
... Iron Works, Bath, Maine. The ship is named in honor of Commodore Stephen
(1779-1820), famed for his raid to burn the captured US frigate Philadelphia ...
Decatur Co., GA
and GA GenWeb History
... County. The county was named for Stephen Decatur (1779-1820)of Maryland, an
US.Navy commodore, who was killed in a duel by Commodore James Barron. ...
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