Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BARNEY, Joshua, naval officer, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 6 July 1759; died in Pittsburghh, Pennsylvania, 1 December 1818. He left his father's farm while yet a child to go to sea, and navigated a vessel when but sixteen years old. He was made master's mate of the "Hornet," one of the first cruisers fitted out by the continental congress, and took part in Com. Hopkins's descent upon New Providence and capture of British stores, in February 1776. He was made a lieutenant for gallantry in the action between the schooner "Wasp" and the British brig "Tender" in Delaware bay, and was assigned to the sloop "Sachem," which captured a British privateer. While prize-master on board a captured vessel he was taken prisoner, but was soon exchanged. In the spring of 1777 he took part on board the Andrea Doria" in the defense of the " Delaware." He was lieutenant of the frigate "Virginia," which, before she got to sea, ran aground in Chesapeake bay and was captured by the enemy on 30 March 1778. After having been again exchanged in August 1778, he joined a privateer which brought into Philadelphia a valuable prize in 1779. He was again captured and exchanged in 1779, and afterward served on board the sloop-of-war "Saratoga," and, in the capture of the ship " Charming Molly" with two brigs, he led the boarding-party. The day after, when he was in charge of one of the prizes, the three vessels were re-taken by the "Intrepid," of 74 guns. He was confined in Portsmouth prison until May 1781, when he made his escape. He was re-taken, but again escaped, and reached Philadelphia in March 1782. He was placed in command of the "Hyder Ally," of 16 guns, fitted out by the state of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of clearing the Delaware of British privateers. On 8 April 1782, he captured a British sloop of war, the "General Monk," of 18 guns, off Cape May after a severe engagement. For this exploit Captain Bar-hey was voted a sword by the Pennsylvania legislature. He was made commander of the captured ship. He sailed for France in the "General Monk," in November 1782, with dispatches for Dr. Franklin, and returned with the information that preliminaries of peace had been signed, and bringing a large sum lent by the French govern-merit. After the war he engaged in commerce and traveled in the west. In 1793 he was captured by an English brig and imprisoned as a pirate. He declined the command of one of the frigates built to resist the depredations of the Algerine corsairs. In 1794 he accompanied Monroe to France, was the bearer of the American flag to the national convention, and entered the service of the French government, which gave him a captain's commission and made him commander of a squadron. In 1800 he resigned and returned to America. In the first year of the war of 1812-'15 he engaged in privateering. On 24 April. 1814, he was commissioned a captain in the navy and appointed to the command of the flotilla for the defense of Chesapeake bay. He was ordered to the defense of Washington in July and severely wounded and taken prisoner in the battle of Bladensburg. For his gallant conduct in the defense of the capital he received a sword from the city of Washington and a vote of thanks from the Georgia legislature. The ball in his thigh was never extracted, and the distress from the wound obliged him to return from a mission to Europe in October 1815. He resided on his farm at Elk-ridge until 1818, when, after a visit to the west, he purchased a large tract in Kentucky, and was on the way thither when he was taken ill at Pitt,-burg and died. See "Memoirs of Commodore Barney" by Mary Barney (Boston, 1832).*His son, John, member of congress from Baltimore from 1825 to 1829, died in Washington, District of Columbia, 26 January 1856, aged seventy-two years. He left unfinished a record of "Personal Recollections of Men and Things" in America and Europe.
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