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Stephen Decatur

frigate, tripoli and harbor

DECA'TUR, STEPHEN, Jr., 1779-1820; b, Md.; son of capt. Stephen, and like him a sea-farer, though in the regular navy. He served in the smaller offices from 1798 to 1803 without special distinction. In Nov. of the latter year he had command of the Argus, in commodore Preble's squadron, and afterwards of the Enterprise. At this time he made a dash into the harbor of Tripoli and burnt the frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of the Algerine enemy. In recognition of this act he was made capt., and presented with a sword. Decatur had much more hard fighting in the harbor and neighborhood of Tripoli, and in all cases showed the utmost and bravery. The war with Tripoli ended 1805, and from that time until the war with Eng land, Decatur was in various duties of small importance. In 1812, he was in command of a squadron off the Atlantic coast, and Oct. 12, in the United States, captured the Eng lish frigate .Macedonian. In May, 1813, he found himself blockaded m Long Island sound, and was forced to remain more than a year in the harbor of New London. In

Jan., 1815, he attempted to escape from his blockade in the frigate President, but his ship struck on the bar at Sandy Hook, and, after a determined contest with four of the enemy's ships, he surrendered and was taken to Bermuda with his frigate as a prize. He was soon paroled, and in May, 1815, sailed from New York with three frigates, one sloop, and six brigs and schooners to operate against Algiers. He captured two important vessels; but the war was soon concluded by a treaty abolishing demand upon the United States for tribute, and giving up all prisoners. He made arrangements to the same effect with the rulers of Tunis and Tripoli, and thus put an end to the enslav ing of the Americans by the corsairs of those countries. In Nov., 1815, he was made navy commissioner, holding the office until his death, which occurred in a duel with commodore James Barron.