By Claude Berube, John Rodgaard
Charles Stewart’s lifetime of crusing and wrestle at the excessive seas competitors that of Patrick O’Brien’s fictional hero, Jack Aubrey. Stewart held extra sea instructions (11) than the other U.S. army captain and served longer (63 years) than any officer in American naval historical past. He commanded all sorts of warship, from sloop to ship-of-the-line, and served each president from John Adams to Abraham Lincoln.Born in Philadelphia throughout the American Revolution, Stewart met President Washington and went to sea as a cabin boy on a merchantman ahead of age 13. In March 1798, at age nineteen, he obtained a naval fee one month earlier than the dep. of the military was once validated. Stewart went directly to an illustrious naval occupation: Thomas Jefferson well-known his Mediterranean exploits in the course of the Barbary Wars, Stewart urged James Madison on the outset of the battle of 1812, and Stewart informed many destiny senior naval officers—including David Porter, David Dixon Porter, and David G. Farragut—in 3 wars. He served as a pallbearer at President Lincoln’s funeral. Stewart cemented his recognition as commander of the Navy’s strongest frigate, the USS structure. No different captain commanded this send for an extended wartime interval or via extra naval engagements. Undefeated in conflict, together with defeating the British warships Cyane and Levant concurrently, either send and captain got here to be referred to as “Old Ironsides.”
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Additional resources for A Call to the Sea: Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution
Bainbridge ordered the Vixen to a position over three hundred miles westward of his frigate (off Cape Bon, Tunisia) to attempt an intercept of Tripolibound shipping. This left the Philadelphia alone to maintain the blockade in shallow and poorly charted waters. On 31 October Philadelphia ran hard aground off the city. That night she was captured with Bainbridge, David Porter, and the entire crew as prisoners. Two days later the Philadelphia’s crew was astonished to see their frigate refloated, brought into the harbor, and anchored under the guns of the city’s fortifications.
But, under Murray’s and Stewart’s watchful eyes, the Constellation was able to bring the second and numerically larger division under fire. One of the craft was able to slip past the American frigate while the remaining nine were cut off from the port. Both sides commenced an exchange of cannon and small arms fire, with the corsairs receiving considerable damage. Trying to disengage, they rowed toward the shore in an attempt to beach themselves between the numerous rocky outcroppings. Murray and Stewart took their larger and more powerful vessel inshore and then thought to launch Constellation’s small boats with an assault force to capture the beached corsairs.
With the successful release of Seaman Seeley, Stewart completed his freshwater replenishment and returned to his assigned operating area. Shortly after his departure, Experiment was cruising to windward of the island of St. Bartholomew when two sails approached the small American schooner. What followed on that day, 13 September, demonstrated Charles Stewart’s highly developed sailing and tactical skills, as well as his sense of justice. Seeing that the two oncoming ships were flying British colors, he ordered the raising of American colors and the appropriate recognition signal for that day.
A Call to the Sea: Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution by Claude Berube, John Rodgaard