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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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Thomas Macdonough

Appleton's & Klos Biographies - A Stan Klos Company

MACDONOUGH, Thomas, naval officer, born in New Castle county, Delaware, 23 December, 1783; died at sea, 16 November, 1825. He entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800, and in 1803 was attached to the frigate "Philadelphia," which was one of the squadron employed against Tripoli, under the command of Commander Edward H. Preble.

 

On 26 August, 1803, the "Philadelphia" captured the Moorish frigate "Meshboa," of the Cape de Gatte, on the Spanish coast, and Macdonough escaped the captivity that subsequently befell the other officers and crew by being left at Gibraltar with her prize.

 

He afterward served in the schooner "Enterprise," under Commander Stephen Decatur, participating in the various attacks that were made in 1804 upon the city and batteries of Tripoli, and was of the party one, under Decatur that recaptured and destroyed the "Philadelphia" on the night of l6 February, 1804. He was promoted lieutenant in 1807, and master commander in 1813.

 

In August, 1814, a British army of about 12,000, under Sir George Provost, advanced along the western shore of Lake Champlain to Plattsburg, which was held by General Alexander Macomb, with about 1,500 men. The British squadron, under Captain George Downie, consisted of 16 vessels, carrying 95 guns and about 1,000 men. The American naval force, which was under Commander Macdonough, was anchored in Plattsburg bay, and consisted of 14 vessels of all classes, carrying 86 guns and about 850 men.

 

At sunrise on 11 September the British came in sight, and by eight o'clock approached the American fleet. Fire was opened by the Americans, who, as a matter of course, were anchored with springs. But, in addition to this arrangement, Macdonough had laid a kedge broad off on each bow of the "Saratoga," and brought their hawsers in, upon the two quarters, letting them hang in bights under water. By this timely precaution the victory is said to have been gained.

 

The attack was not returned by the British until the "Confiance" had anchored about 300 yards from the American line. Her first broadside killed or wounded forty men on the "Saratoga," nearly a fifth of her entire force, and more than a third of the American force during the action. The engagement then became general. In an hour the whole starboard battery of the "Saratoga" was disabled.

 

She was then winded about by means of the kedges that had been laid on her bows, and was brought to bear on the "Confiance," which had also suffered severely and lost her captain, George Downie. After attempting to perform the same evolution without success, and fighting about two hours and a half, the "Confiance" was forced to strike her flag.

 

 The remainder of the British fleet were either taken or put to flight. The enemy's loss was about 200, exclusive of prisoners. That of the Americans in killed and wounded was 112. The British lost all but 20 of the 95 guns they had brought into action. By Macdonough's precaution of throwing out kedges from the bows of the "Saratoga," her 26 guns were practically twice as many, since she could be turned around and so present a fresh broadside to the enemy. During most of the action Macdonough pointed a favorite gun, and was twice knocked senseless by shots that cut the spanker boom, letting the sparks fall on his back.

 

For his services on this occasion he was made captain, received a gold medal from congress, numerous civic honors from cities and towns, and was presented by the legislature of Vermont with an estate upon Cumberland head, which overlooks the scene of the engagement. The Mediterranean squadron was his last command, and he died on board a trading brig that had been sent by the United States government to bring him home.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

MACDONOUGH, Thomas, naval officer, born in New Castle county, Delaware, 23 December, 1783; died at sea, 16 November, 1825. He entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800, and in 1803 was attached to the frigate "Philadelphia," which was one of the squadron employed against Tripoli, under the command of Commander Edward H. Preble. On 26 August, 1803, the "Philadelphia" captured the Moorish frigate "Meshboa," of the Cape de Gatte, on the Spanish coast, and Macdonough escaped the captivity that subsequently befell the other officers and crew by being left at Gibraltar with her prize. He afterward served in the schooner "Enterprise," under Commander Stephen Decatur, participating in the various attacks that were made in 1804 upon the city and batteries of Tripeli, and was of the party one, under Decatur that recaptured and destroyed the "Philadelphia" on the night of l6 February, 1804. He was promoted lieutenant in 1807, and master commander in 1813. In August, 1814, a British army of about 12,000, under Sir George Provost, advanced along the western shore of Lake Champlain to Plattsburg, which was held by General Alexander Macomb, with about 1,500 men. The British squadron, under Captain George Downie, consisted of 16 vessels, carrying 95 guns and about 1,000 men. The American naval force, which was under Commander Macdonough, was anchored in Plattsburg bay, and consisted of 14 vessels of all classes, carrying 86 guns and about 850 men. At sunrise on 11 September the British came in sight, and by eight o'clock approached the American fleet. Fire was opened by the Americans, who, as a matter of course, were anchored with springs. But, in addition to this arrangement, Macdonough had laid a kedge broad off on each bow of the "Saratoga," and brought their hawsers in, upon the two quarters, letting them hang in bights under water. By this timely precaution the victory is said to have been gained. The attack was not returned by the British until the "Confiance" had anchored about 300 yards from the American line. Her first broadside killed or wounded forty men on the "Saratoga," nearly a fifth of her entire force, and more than a third of the American force during the action. The engagement then became general. In an hour the whole starboard battery of the "Saratoga" was disabled. She was then winded about by means of the kedges that had been laid on her bows, and was brought to bear on the "Confiance," which had also suffered severely and lost her captain, George Downie. After attempting to perform the same evolution without success, and fighting about two hours and a half, the "Confiance" was forced to strike her flag. The remainder of the British fleet were either taken or put to flight. The enemy's loss was about 200, exclusive of prisoners. That of the Americans in killed and wounded was 112. The British lost all but 20 of the 95 guns they had brought into action. By Macdonough's precaution of throwing out kedges from the bows of the "Saratoga," her 26 guns were practically twice as many, since she could be turned around and so present a fresh broadside to the enemy. During most of the action Macdonough pointed a favorite gun, and was twice knocked senseless by shots that cut the spanker boom, letting the spark*** fall on his back. For his services on this occasion he was made captain, received a gold medal from congress, numerous civic honors from cities and towns, and was presented by the legislature of Vermont with an estate upon Cumberland head. which overlooks the scene of the engagement. The Mediterranean squadron was his last command, and he died on board a trading brig that had been sent by theUnited States government to bring him home.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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