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Barron, James (1769–21 April 1851), naval officer, was born in Virginia, the younger of two naval sons of James Barron, a merchant captain and officer of the Virginia navy in the Revolution, and Jane Cowper. The older son, Samuel Barron, also commanded in the U.S. Navy and was senior to James. James Barron began his sea service before the age of twelve on board his father’s ship in the Virginia service. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in 1798, presumably having sailed in merchant vessels in the intervening years, since he would be known throughout the service for his masterful seamanship. In 1790 he married Elisabeth Mosely Armistead, another Virginian; the Barrons’ first child, Jane, was born in 1791....

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Colvocoresses, George Musalas (22 October 1816–03 June 1872), naval officer, was born on the Greek island of Chios, the son of Constantine Colvocoresses and Franka Grimaldi. In 1822 he was kidnapped by Turks, who massacred most of the Greek population of the island, and was taken to Smyrna. His father, who survived the slaughter, ransomed him with the assistance of relatives. Seeing little hope for the boy’s future in Greece, the elder Colvocoresses seized an opportunity through the Greek Relief Committee to put his son on board the U.S. brig ...

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Samuel Willard Crompton

Decatur, Stephen (05 January 1779–22 March 1820), naval officer, was born in a log cabin in Sinepuxent, Maryland, the son of Stephen Decatur, a merchant and privateer, and Ann Pine. Growing up in the maritime town of Philadelphia, Decatur was influenced to pursue a life at sea both by his father’s profession and by the success that American merchant vessels had overseas in the wake of the Revolution. From an early age he displayed a tendency toward argument and physical violence—traits that would become important themes in his naval career....

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Jones, Thomas ap Catesby (24 April 1790–30 May 1858), naval officer, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the son of Catesby Jones and Lettice Tuberville, farmers. After his father’s death in September 1800, he entered the College of William and Mary. After spending a year there, he moved to Richmond, where his uncle secured him a midshipman’s warrant in the navy. He was not commissioned until the ...

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Lee, Samuel Phillips (13 February 1812–05 June 1897), naval officer, was born at Sully Plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of Francis Lightfoot Lee (1782–1850), lawyer and planter, and Jane Fitzgerald. He was the grandson of Richard Henry Lee and a cousin of ...

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Levy, Uriah Phillips (22 April 1792–22 March 1862), U.S. naval officer and philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Michael Levy, a merchant, and Rachel Phillips. He was drawn early to the sea and at age ten ran away to be a cabin boy. After his return two years later, he was apprenticed for four or five years to a Philadelphia ship owner to learn navigation and other maritime skills. By age eighteen he had made several profitable voyages as a mate from Philadelphia to the West Indies....

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Oliver Hazard Perry. Print published in Gleason's Pictorial, 1854. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95712).

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Perry, Oliver Hazard (23 August 1785–23 August 1819), naval officer, was born near South Kingston, Rhode Island, the son of Christopher Raymond Perry, a and Sarah Wallace Alexander. Of prominent Rhode Island lineage, he and his younger brother, Matthew C. Perry, were both significant to American naval history. Oliver Hazard Perry received an educational foundation from his mother and learned maritime sciences from schoolmasters in Newport. The Navy Department appointed Perry a midshipman on 7 April 1799 and assigned him to his father’s frigate, ...

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Waddell, James Iredell (13 July 1824–15 March 1886), U.S. and Confederate naval officer, was born in Pittsboro, Chatham County, North Carolina, the son of Elizabeth Davis Moore and Francis Waddell. At a young age Waddell was adopted by his paternal grandmother and attended school in Pittsboro. At about the age of thirteen, because of the ill health of his grandmother, Waddell was taken to Orange County, North Carolina, by his maternal grandfather, Alfred Moore. For the next few years Waddell attended school in nearby Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), North Carolina....