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PAPERS OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF DELAWARE.
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOCGH,
UNITED STATES NAVY.
BY HIS GRANDSON
■ - \
Read before the Historical Society of Delaware, January iS, 1S97.
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF DELAWARE,
Press of J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.
Commodore Thomas Macdonough.
Though small in area, Delaware has furnished her full
proportion of those who have counted it a privilege to serve
their country in their country's need. In the stormy days
which preceded the birth of the young Republic and in the
stirring times that followed, her voice was heard in the halls
of Congress, and her arm was bared on land and sea in sup-
port of liberty, justice, and equality.
Delaware may well be proud of her children and they of
her. Among those who were proud to call themselves her
sons was one who was a Delawarean by birth, a Delawarean
by training, and, above all, a Delawarean in his intense love
and loyalty to his country and in the undaunted courage
with which he maintained her honor at home and abroad, —
Thomas Macdonough, United States Navy.
Delaware born and bred, his family was of Scotch origin.
His great-grandfather Thomas lived in the district known as
Salmon Leap, on the river Liffey, county Kildare, Ireland.
Either he or his father, I am unable to ascertain which, was
a native of Scotland, but, on account of the disturbed con-
dition of the country, had emigrated to Ireland and settled
there. This Thomas had several children, two of whom,
4 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
John and James, came to this country about 1730, — John
settling on Long Island, and James, the ancestor of the
Delaware line, settling in St. George's Hundred, New
Castle County, this State, at the place then called the Trap,
but to which the post-office department in 1844 gave the
name McDonough. Here he lived to a good old age, dying
in 1792, eighty years old, and was buried in the family lot
on the farm on which he lived. His wife was Lydia,
daughter of Peter Laroux, also of St. George's Hundred.
She was buried beside her husband. James and Lydia left
several children, among whom was Thomas, the commo-
dore's father, born in 1747.
Thomas lived in stirring times. He had adopted the
practice of medicine, but when there came the call to arms
in '76 he threw away the lancet and buckled on the sword.
On March 22, 1776, he was commissioned by Congress
major in Colonel John Haslet's regiment of Delaware troops
in the Continental service.
Five months later the regiment took the field. The first
engagement in which it took part was the battle of Long
Island. In the absence of the colonel and lieutenant-
colonel, Major Macdonough was in command, and acquitted
himself so as to receive the thanks of General Washington.
During this engagement he was wounded. Then followed
the battles of White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton, in all of
which the regiment participated. Its loss in officers and
men in the battle of Princeton was so great, and the time of
most of the men having expired, the regiment was disbanded
and never reorganized, and the major returned to his home.
In 1782 he was colonel of the Seventh Regiment, Dela-
— - _1
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. 5
ware Militia. In 1788 he was appointed Third Justice of
the Court of Common Pleas and Orphans' Court by Gov-
ernor Collins. In 1791 Governor Clayton appointed him
Second Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and Orphans'
Court, and in 1793 he was again appointed by the same gov-
ernor one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas.
His wife was Mary, daughter of Samuel Vance. He
died a comparatively young man in 1795, and he and his
wife are buried side by side in the family lot. Thomas and
Mary left a number of children, among whom was Thomas
junior, the subject of this paper.
HIS EARLY LIFE AT THE TRAP.
Thomas Macdonough, junior, was born December 31,
1783, at the Trap, on the farm on which his father and
grandfather had lived before him. For sixteen years he
lived at or near his home, happy and contented and doing
the duty that came to his hand. He always retained a
lively recollection and affection for the home of his youth,
and in a letter written to his sister Lydia from Middletown,
Connecticut, in after years, he says, " I should like to visit
the old home where I have spent some youthful happy
hours ; to stroll about the fields and woods as I used to do."
Just after completing his sixteenth year he entered the navy.
It is not hard to understand why he should have chosen
this course. His early associations were all of such a char-
acter as to make the choice a perfectly natural one for one
of his temperament and disposition. Many a time, no
doubt, in the long winter evenings, seated before the gen-
erous fireplace filled with blazing logs, with his children
6 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
around him, his father had told the story of the war ; told
of the long and weary march, of the camp-fire
bivouac, the cold, hunger, and fatigue, the battle, and then
the victory, beside which all their sufferings were as nothing.
How the boy's heart must have throbbed as he heard the
story from his father's lips! His Uncle Patrick had been
a soldier, too, and had seen service as an officer under St.
Clair in his ill-fated expedition against the Indians in 1 79 1.
His own elder brother, James, was a midshipman in the
navy, and had taken part in the engagement between the
" Constellation" and the " Insurgente." He, no doubt, had
often poured into the boy's willing ears the stories of the
sea. With such influences surrounding him, it needed but
a breath to fan the spark of patriotism into a bright and
ENTERS THE NAVV.
"On the 5th of February, 1800," as he himself writes,
" I received a Warrant as Midshipman in the Navy of the
United States from John Adams, then President, through
the influence of Mr. Latimer, a Senator from the State of
Delaware. Soon after my appointment I joined the U. S.
Ship ' Ganges' at New Castle and proceeded on a cruise in
the West Indies against the French with whom the States
were at war. On this cruise we captured two Guineamen
and a French privateer and sent them to the United States.
The privateer was run on shore. After considerable firing
on her, her crew deserted her and got on shore. She was
boarded by our boats, on board of one I was.
" About this time the yellow fever made its appearance
on board and many of the men and officers fell victims after
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH., . 7
a few hours' illness to its destructive ravages. Several Mid-
shipmen and myself, with a number of men, having caught
this fever were sent on shore at Havanna and put into a
dirty Spanish hospital. Nearly all of the men and officers
died and were taken out in carts as so many hogs would
have been. A Midshipman, a surgeon's mate and myself,
through the blessing of divine providence, recovered and
took passage for the U. States, destitute of all the com-
forts and even conveniences of life. The consul, however,
supplied us with shirts and some other articles of clothing.
Off the capes of Delaware we were captured by an English
ship of war on account of our vessel (a Merchantman be-
longing to Phila.) having Spanish property on board. I,
with the other gentlemen, were put on board the ,
an American ship, and landed at Norfolk, Virginia.
" There the consul supplied us with money, etc., to enable
us to join the ' Ganges,' which ship had left Havanna on
account of the fever which raged on board of her and with
difficulty reached the States with the loss of many men and
officers. Took passage on board the ferry boat, crossed
the Chesapeake bay and travelling up through the country
got out of the stage at the Trap, my native place, after an
absence of nearly a year, with straw hat, canvas shoes and
in other respects poor enough. My relatives and friends
were much surprised to see me as my death was, if not
published, it was stated that I could not recover.
" I remained some short time at the Trap ; then joined
the 'Ganges' again. Took a short cruise in the West
Indies and returned to Phila., where the ship was sold and
the Navy, by law, reduced, and almost all the officers dis-
8 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
missed. Through the influence of C. A. Rodney, Esq., my
father's and my friend, I was continued.
THE WAR WITH TRIPOLI.
" When I quitted the ship ' Ganges' I joined the Frigate
' Constellation,' Commodore Murray, and sailed for the
Mediterranean, where we remained for about twelve months.
Visited many ports in that sea and had a brush with the
Gun Boats off Tripoli."
The " Constellation" returned to the United States in the
latter part of 1802. In May, 1S03, he was ordered to the
frigate " Philadelphia," then being fitted for Mediterranean
service. The " Philadelphia" sailed in July and reached
Gibraltar August 24. Continuing, the Commodore says, —
" Soon after our arrival in that sea we captured a Moorish
vessel of 30 guns without resistance, and I was put on board
to assist in taking her to Gibraltar. The United States were
at this time at war with the Regency of Tripoli and not
with the Moors, though the latter had commenced depreda-
tions on our commerce. I was left at Gibraltar on board
the Moorish ship and the ' Philadelphia' went up the Medi-
terranean to cruise off Tripoli, where she was lost by run-
ning on shore in chase and was taken possession of by the
enemy, the officers and men put into close confinement and
kept there for 19 months. Thus was I providentially saved
from this prison and the apprehension of death which sur-
rounded those of my shipmates in the power of a merciless
" About this time Commodore Preble came out and took
the command of the Squadron, under whom, a daring and
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. g
vigilant officer, may be considered the first impulse given
to the Navy in his conduct before Tripoli. He took his
Squadron to Tangier, had negotiations opened with the
Emperor of Morocco, and coming to an arrangement of
the difficulties the prize ship was given up. I then quitted
her, not caring to be in his Majesty's service, and joined the
Commodore's ship as passenger until we met with the
' Philadelphia.' On our passage up we spoke a British
Frigate who informed us of her loss as stated.
" I then, in the harbor of Syracuse, joined the Schooner
' Enterprise,' Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, commander.
Was with him when the Frigate ' Philadelphia' was burned
in the harbor of Tripoli and when he captured, by board-
ing, the Gun Boats in one of the actions with the enemy's
vessels and batteries."
In the general plan which had been formed for the
capture and destruction of the " Philadelphia," Lieutenant
Lawrence and ten men, with midshipmen Laws and Mac-
donough, were directed by Decatur to fire the berth deck
and forward store-room, and they did their duty coura-
geously and well. Admiral Nelson at this time was in com-
mand of the English fleet blockading Toulon, and when he
heard of the destruction of the " Philadelphia" and the way
it was effected he declared it to be " the most bold and
daring act of the age." For his services on this occasion
the young midshipman was promoted to the rank of lieu-
tenant, his commission being dated May 18, 1804. The
young Delawarean was among those especially mentioned
for gallantry in the bombardment of Tripoli, August 3,
10 COMMODORE THOMAS MACD0N0UGH.
" Here I consider," the commodore writes, referring to
the operations in the Mediterranean, " was the school where
our Navy received its first lessons, and its influence has re-
mained to this day and will continue as long as the Navy
exists. I remained in the Squadron during all its opera-
tions against Tripoli, presented the Flags of the captured
Boats to Com. Preble at the request of Capt. Decatur, and
was in 1805 or 6 appointed by the Commodore a Lieuten-
ant of the Schooner ' Enterprise.'
" Captain Robinson now took the command of this
vessel and sailed up the Adriatic to Trieste, thence to
Venice, where she was hauled up in the arsenal and repaired.
Passed the winter of, I think, 1805 in Venice. From
Venice I went to Ancona and prepared four small vessels
for Gun Boats to be employed against Tripoli. Thence
sailed to Syracuse and joined the Squadron with the Boats.
On our arrival at Syracuse found peace had been made
with Tripoli. Joined the Schooner, Capt. David Porter as
commander. Soon after I exchanged my station as first
Lieutenant of the ' Enterprise' for the first Lieutenancy of
the United States Brig ' Syren,' Capt. John Smith, with
" Having now not much to do, visited many of the inter-
esting ports and places along the shores of this sea. From
Naples I went to Rome by land, visited Pompeii, Hercu-
laneum, Mount ^Etna, Malta and the towns of the Barbary
powers and returned to the United States.
" When I was first Lieutenant of the ' Syren' Brig an
occurrence took place in the harbor of Gibraltar which
excited a good deal of feeling both on the side of the Eng-
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. II
lish and ourselves. A British Man-of-war's Boat boarded
an American Merchantman which lay near the ' Syren' and
took out, or impressed, one of her men. I went alongside
the British Boat in one of ours and demanded him, which
demand was refused. I then took hold of the man and
took him in my Boat and brought him on board the
' Syren.' He was an American, and of course we kept
Before leaving the Mediterranean he met with an adven-
ture that nearly cost him his life. While lying off Syracuse,
he obtained permission one day to go ashore. Just as he
was stepping into a boat to return to his ship he was set
upon by three cut-throats armed with daggers. They
found, however, that they had caught, not a Tartar, but an
American, and a Delaware American. The young man
drew his sword, and, though the odds were three to one, two
of his assailants were soon disabled, and the third, taking to
flight and being followed by the midshipman, ran into a
building and upon the roof, from whence, there being no
way of escape, he threw himself to the ground to avoid
His service in the Mediterranean showed his superiors
something of the spirit that was in him. He was the gal-
lant Decatur's favorite midshipman, and " wherever Decatur
led he dared to follow."
VOYAGE IN THE MERCHANT SERVICE.
On his return to the United States in 1806 he was de-
tached from the " Syren" and ordered to Middletown, Con-
necticut, under Captain Hull. Thence he was ordered to the
12 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
" Wasp," under his old commander, Captain Smith, and sailed
for England and France with despatches, returning by way
of the Mediterranean. On reaching home the " Wasp"
cruised along the coast from Boston to Charleston enforcing
the embargo laws. From the " Wasp" he was ordered to
the ship " John Adams" and then to the frigate " Essex."
On May 22, 18 10, he was furloughed and ordered to
make a voyage in the merchant service. Soon after he
sailed from New York to Liverpool as captain of the brig
" Gulliver." From Liverpool he proceeded to Calcutta and
then home, being absent about fifteen months. Accord-
ing to family tradition, an incident happened on this trip
which was of considerable interest.
The " Gulliver" had discharged her cargo at Liverpool,
taken in a fresh one, and was ready to sail. On the even-
ing preceding her departure, Tom, as he was usually
called, went on shore. As he was about to return to the
brig later in the evening, he was approached, in the vicinity
of the docks, by a stranger, who asked him if he belonged
to any of the vessels in the river. He replied that he be-
longed to the American brig " Gulliver." Upon this the
stranger gave a signal, and before Tom knew it he was sur-
rounded by a press-gang, thrown into a boat, and presently
found himself on board an English frigate lying at the
mouth of the river. He at once demanded to see the com-
manding officer. On being taken before him he demanded
his release, declaring that he was not only an American
seaman but an officer of the American navy. The only
reply vouchsafed was an order to go forward, and forward
— -T---.— --"■-
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. 13
His name was entered on the purser's books, his station
and mess assigned him, and a hammock and bedding served
out to him, with directions to " turn in" as soon as possible.
Accordingly he hung his hammock up and got into it, but
without undressing, having determined to seize the first
chance of escape. Shortly after midnight the corporal of
the guard which had been relieved came below, unlashed
the hammock next his own, undressed and turned in. Tom
waited until the corporal was sound asleep, then slipped
quietly out of his hammock, took off his own clothes and
put on those of the sleeping corporal, and then, as soon as
the corporal of the new guard had passed below to make
his rounds, climbed up the ladder and gained the spar-deck.
The officer of the deck was aft upon the starboard side and
the sentries were walking their posts with regular tread.
The starboard-gangway was shaded from the light of the
moon by awnings, and walking deliberately up the ladder
Tom looked over the ship's side.
" Sentry," said he, " what boat is that at the boom ?"
" The second cutter, sir," replied the marine, without dis-
covering the identity of his questioner.
Tom immediately walked up to the officer of the deck,
and, being assured by the mistake of the sentry that he
would not be discovered, touched his cap and respectfully
" I would like to overhaul the second cutter, sir. I think
there is rum aboard her."
"Very well, corporal," replied the officer; "search the
boat and see what you can find."
Tom started quickly forward, but just as he got abreast
14 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
of the fore hatchway he saw the real corporal's head rising
above the combings. He ascended no higher, for with one
blow of his fist Tom knocked him down the ladder, and
then sprang quickly out through the port upon the swing-
ing boom and dropped into the boat. The flood tide was
setting up the river strongly, and quick as thought Tom cut
the rope which secured the boat and it dropped rapidly
" Help ! help !" shouted he ; " the boat's loose."
" Get out a couple of oars," cried the officer of the deck
as the boat swept past the quarter, " and you can hold her
against the tide."
Tom did get out a couple of oars, but the moment they
struck the water he began pulling rapidly up the river.
The sentries on deck immediately discharged their muskets,
and the third cutter was called away, but before she could
be manned Tom had reached the shore, and shortly after
was on board his own brig.
The next morning the " Gulliver" dropped down with the
ebb tide, and as she passed the frigate Tom saw the second
cutter swinging in her usual place. As he gazed upon the
flag that floated at the Englishman's peak, he said to him-
self, " If I live, I'll make England remember the day she
impressed an American sailor."
When war was declared against Great Britain shortly
after, the rallying cry — " No Impressment !" — must have
appealed to him with peculiar significance, and the memory
of this experience must have been with him on the nth of
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. 1 5
Continuing the history of his naval life, the commodore
" On my return from my India voyage I took charge of
a merchant ship from New York and sailed for Lisbon, but
the vessel springing a leak in a gale when out a few days, I
was compelled from this circumstance to return to New
York. The Non-intercourse law now taking place, I, of
course, could not prosecute the voyage and quitted the
ship. During the gale I was obliged to throw overboard
part of the cargo.
" War having now been declared against Great Britain
by the United States, I applied for service, and received
orders to repair to Washington and join the Frigate ' Con-
stellation' as first Lieutenant. I did not remain long on
board this ship, for it required some time to complete her
repairs and the time was irksome there. I therefore applied
for and obtained command of the Portland station, where
were several fine Gun Boats. After remaining a few months
at Portland I was ordered by Mr. Madison to take the com-
mand of the vessels on Lake Champlain. Proceeded thither
across the country through the Notch of the White Moun-
tains, partly on horseback, carrying my bundle with a valise
on behind, and a country lad only in company to return with
my horses. Arrived fatigued at Burlington on the lake
in about four days and took command of the vessels after
waiting on the commanding General Bloomfield."
The order directing him to take command of the naval
force on Lake Champlain was dated September 12, 181 2.
On December 1 2 of the same year he married Lucy Ann,
daughter of Nathaniel Shaler, of Middletown, Connecticut.
l6 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
There he afterwards made his home when absent from pro-
fessional duty and there his children were born. One of
them, "whom," as he writes in 1822 to his sister Lydia in
Delaware, " I call Rodney after my friend in Wilmington,"
is now living in New York City, and another, Charlotte
Rosella, now the widow of Mr. Henry G. Hubbard, is still
living in Middletown. On July 24, 1813, he was commis-
sioned master commandant.
THE BATTLE ON LAKE CHAMPLA1N.
War had been declared against Great Britain on June 18,
18 1 2, and in view of the plans of the British, the command
of Lake Champlain at the time the commodore was ordered
there was of vital importance to American interests. Nobly
did the young master commandant fulfil the duty intrusted
The morning of Sunday, September II, 1814, broke
bright and fair. From the green slopes of Cumberland
Head the eye takes in the gently curving shore, still clad
in summer verdure, the sunlight dancing on the waters of
the bay, and, just below, the American squadron skilfully
disposed to the best advantage by its wise commander and
waiting the coming of the foe. All is quiet and peaceful.
Presently, around the point sweeps the British fleet, the
red ensign of old England fluttering defiantly from every
masthead in the morning breeze. Then comes the calm
before the storm ; and then the smoke and shock of battle,
the cries of the wounded, and all the horrors of war. Then
— then the simple message, —
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. \J
"The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal
victory on Lake Champlain in the capture of i frigate, I
brig and 2 sloops of war of the enemy.
" T. Macdonough."
To this message came the following response :
"Navy Department, Sept. 19th, 1S14.
" Thomas Macdonough, Esq.,
" Commanding the U. S. Naval Force on Lake Champlain,
" Sir : — With the highest gratification which noble deeds
can inspire, I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
nth instant announcing the glorious victory which your
skill and valor, aided by the intrepidity and discipline of
your gallant associates, had achieved over a confident, vig-
orous, and powerful foe. Our lakes, hitherto the objects
only of natural curiosity, shall fill the page of future history
with the bright annals of our country's fame, and the im-
perishable renown of our Naval Heroes.
" 'Tis not alone the brilliancy of your victory in a Naval
view, but its importance and beneficial results that will fix
the attention and command the gratitude of your admiring
" Accept, sir, the assurance of the high respect and warm
approbation of the President of the United States which I
am commanded to present, and my sincere congratulations.
" Very respectfully,
" Your obedient servant,
" W. Jones."
1 8 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
This victory had an important effect upon the negotia-
tions for peace, which were being carried on at this time
between the American Commission and the English Gov-
ernment. The latter had submitted a proposition which
involved the acquisition of considerable new territory con-
taining several strategic points. This proposition was
promptly rejected by the American Commission, and the
negotiations came to an abrupt halt. In this crisis the
English Government appealed to the Duke of Wellington,
who, in a letter of November 9, 1 8 14, to the Cabinet Coun-
cil, said :
" I confess that I think you have no right, from the state
of the war, to demand any concession of territory from
America. Considering everything, it is my opinion that the
war has been a most successful one, and highly honorable
to the British arms; but from particular circumstances,
such as the want of the naval superiority on the lakes, you
have not been able to carry it into the enemy's territory,
notwithstanding your military success and now undoubted
military superiority, and have not even cleared your own
territory of the enemy on the point of attack. You cannot,
then, on any principle of equality in negotiation, claim a
cession of territory excepting in exchange for other advan-
tages which you have in your power."
The government took his advice, withdrew the obnoxious
proposition, and the treaty of peace was signed soon after.
INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE.
The technical details of the battle are matters of history.
While awaiting the approach of the enemy, the commodore,
. -j- -
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. 19
as he was then usually called, knelt on the deck of the
" Saratoga" with his officers and crew and invoked the aid
of the God of battles in the approaching conflict. In clear-
ing the decks of the " Saratoga" for action some coops had
been thrown overboard, and the poultry given their liberty.
Just as the engagement was about to begin, a rooster flew
up into the rigging, flapped his wings, and crowed loudly
and defiantly. He was answered by three hearty cheers
from the men, who regarded it as a sign of good luck.
The first shot fired on the " Saratoga" was fired by the
commodore himself. With his own hands he trained a
24-pounder on the British flagship " Confiance" as she ad-
vanced bow on, and when within range discharged the piece.
The shot raked the " Confiance," killing and wounding sev-
eral of her men, and carrying away her wheel. During the
action he repeatedly assisted in working the guns, and was
three times thrown across the deck by splinters. At one
time, while sighting his favorite gun, a shot cut the spanker-
boom in two, and a piece of the heavy spar, falling upon his
back, knocked him senseless to the deck, and it was some
minutes before he recovered consciousness.
Soon after a shot took off the head of the captain of the
same gun and hurled it against him, knocking him across
the deck and into the scuppers, where he fell unconscious
between two guns. He quickly recovered and returned to
his post. Every one of the officers of the " Saratoga" was
either killed or wounded except Macdonough, and when he
was asked how he had escaped serious injury, he replied,
" There is a power above which determines the fate of man."
One more incident is quoted from a memoir of the com-
20 COMMODORE THOMAS MACD0N0UGH.
modore by one of the members of this Society. " Another
son of Delaware, whose name should raise a feeling of ap-
plause in the hearts of us all, has left an account of an eye-
witness to this battle, and of his visit to the 'Saratoga'
afterwards. Said Mr. Clayton : ' I was told by Mr. Phelps,
a Senator from Vermont, that he was a boy living on his
father's farm near the banks of Lake Champlain when Mac-
donough's action of 1 8 14 with the British occurred. That
after the English had surrendered and the action had ceased,
he took a boat and went off to the flag-ship " Saratoga,"
that he might say he had seen Macdonough. When he
had climbed up on deck, he found it slippery with blood
and almost covered with the wounded and the dead. That
he saw a man walking back and forth rapidly on the quar-
ter-deck, his hat pulled down nearly over his eyes, and his
face and hands almost black with powder and smoke, and,
upon asking a seaman who that man was, he said, " That's
During the action he was the commander, cool, confident,
and with the air of authority born of command. In the
hour of victory he was the friend and companion-in-arms,
his heart torn by the suffering of the gallant fellows who
had made that victory possible. No wonder he was an object
of love and admiration to his crew. At the time of this en-
gagement he still lacked a few months of being thirty-one
On November 30, 1814, he was commissioned captain,
then the highest rank in the navy, to take rank from Sep-
tember 11, 18 14. On the same date he was ordered to
. .. :
COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH. 21
command the steam frigate "Fulton First." On May 13
181 5, he was ordered to Portsmouth, N. H., to take com-
mand of the navy-yard and superintend the equipment of
the ship " Washington" until the arrival of Commodore
Chauncey. On April 22, iSiS, he was directed to proceed
to Boston, assume command of the frigate " Guerriere," and
convey to Russia the Hon. G. W. Campbell, Minister to the
Court of St. Petersburg. After performing this service he
returned to the United States by way of the Mediterranean.
" At Naples," he writes, " I was presented to the Emperor
of Austria, Francis II., and also Ferdinand, King of Naples,
on board the United States Ship of the Line ' Franklin,'
which ship these Sovereigns visited."
On March n, 1820, he was ordered to command the
"74" building at New York. This ship was the "Ohio,"
and was launched the same year. He was attached to her
until April, 1824, four years, but, as she was laid up in ordi-
nary at New York during that period, he spent much of the
time at his home in Middletown. On May 31, 1824, he
was ordered to New York to command the " Constitution,"
of glorious memory, and on October 29 sailed once more
for the Mediterranean under the last orders he was ever to
On his arrival in the Mediterranean, being the senior
officer on the station, he assumed command of the Ameri-
can squadron. Owing to ill-health, however, he was relieved
of the command of the " Constitution" on October 14,
1825, with permission to return to the United States, but he
never lived to see his native land, dying at sea while home-
ward bound, ten days out from Gibraltar, November IO,
■ ■ ~
22 COMMODORE THOMAS MACDONOUGH.
1825. He was buried at Middletown, Connecticut, Satur-
day, December I, 1825, with military, civil, and Masonic
honors. His wife had died a few months before, and they
now lie side by side in the quaint old cemetery overlooking
the Connecticut River.
The simple inscription on his monument reads as fol-
" Sacred to the memory of Com. Thomas Macdonough
of the U. S. Navy. He was born in the State of Delaware
Dec. I/83, & died at sea while on his return from the com-
mand of the American Squadron in the Mediterranean on
the 10 Nov. 1825. He was distinguished in the world as
the Hero of Lake Champlain; in the Church of Christ as a
faithful, zealous, and consistent Christian ; in the community
where he resided when absent from professional duties as
an amiable, upright, and valuable citizen." He knew his
duty and he did it well.
N. MANCHESTER, INDIANA 46962