Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Decatur, Stephen, an American naval officer, was born at Sinnepuxent, Maryland, in 1779, and entered the navy in 1798. He served on the coast of Central America, and afterwards, in 1804, brought himself into notice in the Mediterranean by cutting out an American frigate, the Philadelphia, which had been captured and carried into Tripoli. In the war of 1812 he had command as commodore of the frigate United States, 44, in which he met, and after a smart action, took the British frigate Macedonian, 38. In this exploit he had the advantage of largely superior force. He afterwards commanded the President, 44; and in her, after leaving New York harbour, he was chased by a British squadron, and engaged, especially by the Endymion, 40, and then by the Pomone, whereupon, having lost heavily, he struck. This was early in 1815, and at the very end of the war, at the conclusion of which Decatur, with a squadron, proceeded to the Mediterranean and there executed reprisals against the Dey of Algiers. Upon his return he was appointed Commissioner of the navy. Commodore Barron, whom in 1807 he had superseded, and at whose trial he had subsequently assisted, appealed to him in this capacity for reinstatement in the service. Barron had been found guilty of having surrendered the Chesapeake, and Decatur, from principles of honour, bitterly opposed the reinstatement. A quarrel ensued, and a duel resulted on March 22, 1820. At the meeting both men were seriously wounded at the first fire, and Decatur died a few days afterwards.