Naval officer; born in Baltimore, Md.
, July 6, 1759.
Inclined to a seafaring life, he went to sea in his early youth: and when he was only sixteen years of age, an accident caused the care of his ship to devolve upon him. He met the exigency with courage and skill.
He entered the Continental
navy, at its first organization in 1775, as master's mate, in the sloop Hornet
, and joined Commodore Hopkins
In an action between the Continental
, in Delaware Bay
, before he was seventeen years of age, his conduct was so gallant that he was made a lieutenant.
In that capacity he served in the Sachem
(Capt. I. Robinson
), and after a severe action with a British brig, in which his commander was wounded, young Barney
brought her into port.
Soon afterwards he was made a prisoner, but was speedily released, and in the Andrea Doria
he was engaged in the defence of the Delaware River
He was again made prisoner, and was exchanged in August. 1778. A third time he was made captive (1779), and after his exchange was a fourth time made a prisoner, while serving in the Saratoga
, 16, was sent to England
, and confined in the famous Mill
prison, from which he escaped in May, 1781.
He was retaken, and again escaped, and arrived in Philadelphia
in March, 1782, where he took command of the Hyder Ali
, 16, in which he captured the General Monk
, of heavier force and metal.
For this exploit the legislature of Maryland presented him with a sword.
At the close of the war he engaged in business on shore, but very soon took to the sea again.
At Cape Francis
, W. I., he received on his ship (1792) a large number of women and children who had escaped massacre by the blacks.
His vessel was captured by an English cruiser, but Barney
recaptured her from the prize crew.
He was again captured by an English cruiser (1793), and imprisoned as a pirate.
His ship and cargo were condemned.
In 1794 he went with Monroe
, and bore
flag to the National Convention (see Monroe, James
). He was a warm partisan of the French
, and entered their navy as commander of a squadron, but resigned his commission in 1802.
When the War
of 1812-15 broke out, he engaged in privateering with much success.
He was appointed captain in the United States navy in April, 1814,
and placed in command of a flotilla of small vessels for the defence of the coasts of the Chesapeake
Driven up the Patuxent
by a British fleet, he destroyed his vessels, and with over 500 men he joined General Winder
in the defence of Washington
, Battle of.). Barney
was severely wounded (Aug. 24, 1814) near Bladensburg
, and made a prisoner.
Too much hurt to be removed as a prisoner, he was paroled and sent to Bladensburg
, near by, on a litter.
There he was joined by his wife and son and his own surgeon, and was conveyed to his farm at Elkridge, Md.
The bullet that gave him the wound, from which he never fairly recovered, is preserved in the Navy Department.
The corporation of Washington
voted him a sword, and the legislature of Georgia their thanks.
In May, 1815, Barney
was sent on a mission to Europe
, but suffering from his wound caused him to return in the fall.
Just as he was about to depart from Pittsburg, Pa.
, with his family, to Kentucky
, where he had bought land, he died, Dec. 1, 1818.