Naval officer; born in Princeton, N. J.
, May 7, 1774.
At the age of sixteen years he went to sea, and at nineteen commanded a ship.
On the reorganization of the navy in 1798 he was appointed a lieutenant.
He and his vessel and crew were captured in the West Indies
by a French cruiser in September of that year, but were released in December, when, returning home, he was promoted to the command of a brig.
In May, 1800, he was commissioned a captain, and in the ship Washington
be carried tribute from the United States
to the Dey of Algiers
, by whom he was treated with much insolence.
By threats of capture and a declaration of war by the Algerine
he was compelled to take an embassy to Constantinople
for that petty despot.
On his return, with power given him by the
frightened the insolent Dey, compelling him to release all Christian prisoners then in his possession.
He returned to the United States
in 1801, and he was again sent to the Mediterranean with the frigate Essex
Upon the declaration of war against the United States
, in 1803, Bainbridge
was put in command of the Philadelphia
, one of Preble
On Oct. 11 the Philadelphia
struck on a rock neal Tripoli
, and was captured, with her commander and crew.
At Tripoli Bainbridge
and 315 of his men remained prisoners about nineteen months. On his return to the United States
, he was received with great respect, and in the reorganization of the navy, in 1806, he became the seventh in the list of captains.
Having obtained the rank of commodore, Bainbridge
was appointed to the command of a squadron (September, 1812) composed of the Constitution
, (flagship). Essex
, and Hornet
, and sailed from Boston
Off the coast of Brazil
captured the British frigate Java
(Dec. 26); and for this exploit the commodore received the thanks of Congress and a gold medal.
Other honors were bestowed upon him. In 1815 he was appointed to the command of a squadron of twenty sail, destined for Algiers
(q. v.), but peace was concluded before it reached the Mediterranean.
He settled disputes with the Barbary States
; and he again commanded in the Mediterranean in 1819-21.
From that time he was almost constantly employed in service on shore, being at one time president of the Board of Navy Commissioners.
He died in Philadelphia
, July 28, 1833, and in that city was buried in Christ church-yard.