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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Peleg Wadsworth

WADSWORTH, Peleg, soldier, born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, in 1748; died in Hiram, Oxford County, Maine, 18 November, 1829. He was graduated at Harvard in 1769, taught in Plymouth with Alexander Scammell, and then engaged in commercial pursuits. Early in the Revolutionary struggle he entered the army as a captain of minute-men in Roxbury and became aide to Gem Artemas Ward. Afterward he was made adjutant-general for Massachusetts, and was present at the battle of Long Island, 1 August, 1776. He became brigadier-general of militia in 1777, and was second in command of the Penobscot expedition in 1779, on which occasion he displayed great courage and was taken prisoner. He was again captured in his house by a party of British soldiers in February, 1781, and imprisoned in the fort at Castine, whence he escaped in June. In 1784 he established himself in business in Portland, Maine, where he was much employed in surveying. In 1792 he was in the state senate, and was elected to congress, serving from 2 December, 1793, till 3 March, 1807. In the last-named year he removed to Oxford county, Maine, to improve a large tract of land that had been granted to him by the government for his services. He developed the resources of that region, and was appointed major-general of Maine militia.--His son, Henry, naval officer, born about 1783; died in Tripoli harbor, 4 September, 1804, entered the navy as a midshipman, 28 August, 1799. He was attached to the frigate "Constitution," which sailed from Boston as Preble's flag-ship in August, 1803 to the Mediterranean for the Tripolitan war. He was appointed an acting lieutenant in that ship, and took part in the engagements with the Tripolitan fleet and forts. When the ketch "' Intrepid" was fitted out as a floating mine to explode in the harbor among the Tripolitan vessels, he volunteered to serve in that enterprise (see SOMERS, RICHARD), and perished with his companions. His sister became the mother of the poet Longfellow, who was named for him.--Another son, Alexander Seammell, naval officer, born in Portland, Maine, in 1790; died in Washington, D. C., 5 April, 1851, entered the navy as a midshipman, 2 April, 1804, and was promoted to lieutenant, 21 April, 1810. He was 2d lieutenant of the frigate "Constitution" during her memorable escape from the British fleet, and also took part in the engagement with the frigate "Guerriere," 19 August, 1812, for which he received a silver medal and was included in the vote of thanks to Hull and his officers. He was 1st lieutenant of the corvette "Adares" during her cruise in 1814 when she captured ten prizes, but was chased by a British fleet into Penobscot bay. There she ran ashore, and, to prevent capture, was destroyed by her crew, who erected a fort armed with the guns from the ship, and drove the enemy away. He was promoted for his services during the war to master-commandant, 27 April, 1816, and commanded the brig "Prometheus" in the Mediterranean squadron after the Algerine war in 1816-'17, and then the sloop "John Adams" in the West Indies, suppressing piracy in two cruises--in 1818-'19 and 1821-'2. He served at the Washington navy-yard in 1823-'5, and as inspector of ordnance in 1825-'9. He was promoted to captain, 3 March, 1825, surveyed Narragansett bay, Rhode Island, and commanded the frigate "Constellation," of the Mediterranean squadron, in 1829-'32. He was commodore commanding the Pacific squadron in 1834-'6, a member of the board of navy commissioners in 1837-'40, and inspector of ordnance from 1841 till 1850.

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