Born On This Day ~ January 5 ~ Stephen Decatur

Stephen Decatur

Born: January 5, 1779 (Sinepuxent, Maryland)
Died: March 22, 1820 (Washington, D.C.)

Famous For/Known For:
Navy Commander

A little about Stephen Decatur:

Born to parents, Captain Stephen Decatur, Sr. and Ann. Decatur followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy on April 30, 1798.

His first assigned ship was the United States with John Barry as his commanding officer.

Decatur was such an accomplished sailor that he was promoted to lieutenant in 1799.

On February 16, 1804, Decatur devised a plan which lead to a successful raid on the USS Philadelphia, which had been captured in Tripoli Harbor. He and sixty men in a disguised ketch, flying British colors and looking like a Maltese merchant ship, entered the harbor. They claimed to have lost their anchors and Decatur asked if he could tie up the ketch to the frigate. Once both ships were close together fighting with swords and pikes began.

This successful raid promoted him to Captain at the age of 25. Decatur was the youngest to hold that rank.

During the War of 1812, Decatur received orders to suppress the Barbary pirates. He soon captured the Algerian frigate Mashouda and enforced the Dey of Algiers to make peace.

In 1816, Decatur was designated to the Board of Naval Commissioners in Washington, D.C.

On March 22, 1820, Decatur was challenged to a duel by Commodore James Barron due to comments made about conduct during the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. Barron was severely wounded. Decatur was fatally shot in the abdomen.

President James Madison, the Supreme Court,a large number of Congress and over 10,000 people attended Decatur’s funeral.

Decatur died in a duel at the age of 41.

Books About/Written By Stephen Decatur

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