Truxtun of the Constellation: The Life of Commodore Thomas Truxtun, U.S. Navy, 1755-1822

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Johns Hopkins University Press, Mar 1, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 322 pages
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Thomas Truxtun was one of the first six captains President Washington appointed to the United States Navy in 1794. Although Truxtun therefore ranks with men like John Paul Jones in the development of the navy, this biography by Eugene Ferguson supplies the only full account of his eventful life and career.

In Truxtun of the Constellation, Ferguson tells the exciting story of a patriot who started as a teenaged merchant seaman, won command of his own ship, and became a privateer in the Revolutionary War. After the Revolution, he made four voyages to the Far East in the burgeoning China trade. He commanded the ship that brought Benjamin Franklin home to America from his ambassadorship to France. The greatest period of Truxton's career--and the source of his importance as a historical figure--came when he served as captain of the original Constellation, whose construction he oversaw in Baltimore. He commanded this historic frigate from the time she was launched in 1797 until her return from the undeclared naval war with France and the defeat of the heavier-armed La Vengeance in 1800.

First published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 1956, Ferguson's lively account describes the early problems and triumphs in the fledgling navy, the battle glories, and the professional and personal squabbles that helped to explain Truxtun's resignation in 1802.

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About the author (2001)

Eugene S. Ferguson is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Michael J. Crawford is the head of the Early History Branch at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C.

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