A Senseless End for a Pioneering American Naval Hero

Today in History, March 22, 1820:

Stephen Decatur, Naval hero of the first and second Barbary Pirate wars, and of the War of 1812, hero and example to many of the U.S. Navy, is killed in a senseless duel.

In 1807 Commodore James Barron refused to defend his ship, Chesapeake, against British attack and was court-marshaled; Decatur sat on the court-marshal board.

Suspended from the Navy for 5 years, Barron chose to wait until after the War of 1812 to be recommissioned.

His cowardice was called, and he challenged Decatur, a former comrade, to a duel. Decatur, U. S. Navy hero, was mortally wounded. Such a shame. Decatur was a swashbuckler, a fierce fighter for his country.

Six Frigates…The US Navy Makes a Name for Itself

Today in History, March 27: 1794:

President Washington signs the Naval Act of 1794, ordering the construction of 6 Frigates capable of high speed and of holding their own against “ships of the line.”

After the Revolutionary War, America didn’t feel it needed a navy; after having several ships seized by Barbary pirates, and after abuses by the Royal Navy, the administration and Congress came to the realization that America needed a navy to protect it’s shipping.

Thus the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides, oldest commissioned US Navy vessel), USS Constellation, USS President, USS Congress, USS United States and the USS Chesapeake began their illustrious Naval careers.