Inclusive dates
Papers, 1802-1841, of Samuel Barron (1765-1810) and James Barron (1769-1851), officers in the United States Navy, consisting of letters, 1802-1805, to Samuel Barron during his service in the Mediterranean Squadron as commander of the U.S.S. Philadelphia and as squadron commander including requests from sailors; pay for marines; the U.S. frigates Philadelphia, Constitution, Congress, and President; serving in the Mediterranean; and U.S. relations with Tripoli and Tunisia. Also includes letters, 1807-1841, to James Barron regarding the U.S.S. Chesapeake; politics and the election of 1824; the U.S.S. Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia Naval Yard; gifts, naval matters, personal news, and a letter from John Floyd (1783-1837) to Commodore Jesse Elliot (1782-1845) requesting his pistols. Papers also include a letter, 31 May 1805, from Tobias Lear, U.S. Consul-General and Peace Commissioner, to Don Gerardo Joseph de Souza, Spanish Consul at Tripoli and Commissioner on behalf of the Bashaw of Tripoli, concerning an exchange of persons held by the United States and Tripoli
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Biographical or historical data
  • Samuel (1765-1810) and James Barron (1769-1851) were the sons of James Barron (1740-1787)and Jane Cowper Barron. James senior, commanded part of the naval forces of Virginia during the American Revolution. His sons served under their father, then served in the Virginia navy until it disbanded in 1789. The Barrons joined the merchant marines. In 1798, they joined the United States Navy; Samuel as captain of the frigate Richmond and James as a lieutenant aboard the frigate United States. Samuel Barron commanded the Philadelphia as part of the Mediterranean squadron under Commodore Richard Dale (d. 1832) during the first year of the Tripolitan war. Command of the squadron passed to Edward Preble (1761-1807), then to Samuel Barron. Barron established his Mediterranean headquarters at Syracuse on Sicily and on Malta. Barron's orders were to blockade and negociate with Tripoli for the return of the captain and crew of the Philadelphia, which had run aground and been captured after Barron's tenure. Plagued by ill health, Barron eventually surrendered command of squadron to John Rodgers (1773-1828). Samuel Barron died in 1810. His son, Samuel Barron (1808-1888) served in the Confederate navy.
  • James Barron, who also served in the Mediterranean squadron, commanded the frigate Chesapeake during its encounter with the British ship the Leopard. After the British attack, Barron faced a court-martial and was found guilty of neglecting to clear decks for battle. Suspended without pay from the navy for five years, Barron served aboard commercial vessels. Upon his return to the United States in 1818, he found his requests for active duty blocked by Stephen Decatur. Frustrated, Barron challenged the popular hero to a duel, killing Decatur 22 March 1820. Although given command of the Philadelphia Naval shipyard in 1824, Barron never commanded a naval vessel again. He died 21 April 1851 in Norfolk, Virginia.
Cataloging source
Form designation
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Inventory
Immediate source of acquisition
Valentine Museum
Type of unit
items (52 leaves)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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