Captain Stephen Decatur


Captain Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) achieved naval prominence following his bold and successful actions during the Barbary War, 1801-05. During the first year of the War of 1812, he commanded the USS United States when she captured HMS Macedonian. On June 1, 1813, Decatur’s three-ship squadron was chased into New London Harbor by ships of the British blockading force. Failing at several unconventional efforts to break free of the blockade, Decatur laid up his ships and departed from Connecticut in May 1814. Taking command of the USS President, Decatur was captured in January 1815 trying to escape from New York. The British returned Captain Decatur to New London in time to participate in the peace ball there. Decatur was killed in a duel with fellow naval officer James Barron in 1820. (© Mystic Seaport Collection, Mystic, CT, #1952.213)