19th Century America’s Most Influential Naval Officers: The Lives, Careers, and Battles of Stephen Decatur, Oliver Hazard Perry, David Farragut, David Dixon Porter, and George Dewey by Charles River Editors

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*Includes pictures *Includes excerpts of contemporary accounts "We have met the enemy and they are ours." - Oliver Hazard Perry Americans had few things to celebrate during the Barbary Wars or the War of 1812, but one of them was the growing prestige of the U.S. Navy, and among those who were instrumental in its development, few were as influential as Stephen Decatur Jr. Decatur had an impact on nearly every war America fought in between the 1780s until his death in 1820, and his stardom ensured that he was a fixture among Washington, D.C.'s elite in his own lifetime. As with John Paul Jones during the American Revolution, Decatur's activities helped instantly associate his name with the fledgling country's success at sea. One of the only major victories the Americans won throughout the War of 1812 came at the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813, and that action made Oliver Hazard Perry, a veteran of the Barbary Wars and commander of the USS Lawrence, a legend whose name has endured for over 200 years. Perry was so instrumental in the victory that British historian C.S. Forester noted "it was as fortunate for the Americans that the Lawrence still possessed a boat that would float, as it was that Perry was not hit." As one of the biggest naval battles of the war, the results meant that America maintained control of Lake Erie, an important location from which they could recover Detroit and be better positioned to confront the British and Shawnee leader Tecumseh's confederacy. For his part, Perry would forever be remembered as the "Hero of Lake Erie," even as he and compatriot Captain Jesse Elliot would feud over their respective actions during the battle for the rest of Perry's life. Despite his experiences throughout the Civil War, Farragut's name has become almost universally associated with a famous quote attributed to him during the Battle of Mobile Bay, when his flotilla encountered mines while trying to subdue the Confederacy's last major open port. After one of the ships hit a mine and sank, the others began to pull back, only for Farragut to urge his forces forward, yelling, "Damn the torpedoes!" The ensuing victory earned Farragut another promotion in rank, and by the time Farragut died in 1870 at the age of 69, he had served in the U.S. Navy for nearly 60 years, ensuring that he would forever be remembered as one of his country's most important naval officers. Porter was recognized throughout the Civil War for his service, even as he was subjected to the kind of politicking that marked the war effort in Washington, and he became just the second man in the history of the U.S. Navy to attain the rank of Admiral. He would also have a distinguished career after the war as he helped reform the Navy. The Spanish-American War was famously labeled a "splendid little war." by John Hay, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, and while it is often overlooked today due to its brief and one-sided nature, the conflict produced one of the most popular military heroes in American history. While many are familiar with Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, the naval exploits of George Dewey were seemingly nothing short of miraculous. A former veteran of various naval engagements in the Civil War, Dewey managed to find himself in charge of the Asiatic Squadron, and in its most famous battle at Manila Bay, Dewey scored a decisive victory that destroyed Spain's Pacific fleet and subdued Manila's shore batteries while suffering just one American death. While he would never enjoy political success, his distinguished naval career resulted in a promotion to Admiral of the Navy, the equivalent of a six-star admiral. Dewey remains the only American to ever attain that rank, and he became the benchmark by which future naval officers measured themselves, especially during the 20th century's cataclysmic world wars.

  • | Author: Charles River Editors
  • | Publisher: Independently published
  • | Publication Date: January 16, 2020
  • | Number of Pages: 419 pages
  • | Language: English
  • | Binding: Paperback
  • | ISBN-10: 1661769012
  • | ISBN-13: 9781661769017
Charles River Editors
Independently published
Publication Date:
January 16, 2020
Number of pages:
419 pages