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Bainbridge, William, 1774-1833

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 ruler, [248] he was compelled to take an embassy to Constantinople for that petty despot. On his return, with power given him by the

William Bainbridge.

Sultan, Bainbridge 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 by Tripoli, in 1803, Bainbridge was put in command of the Philadelphia, one of Preble's squadron. 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 in October. Off the coast of Brazil the Constitution 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,

Bainbridge medal.

Pa., July 28, 1833, and in that city was buried in Christ church-yard.

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