Stephen Decatur And The Barbary Pirates

By Karen Harris
Painting by Rembrandt Peale depicts a portrait of US Naval Officer Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), 1817. Source: (Photo by The New York Historical Society/Getty Images)

An exceptional sailor and heroic commander, Stephen Decatur was the youngest person in United States Navy history to reach the rank of captain. It was through his victories, leadership, and efforts that the U.S. Navy established itself as a powerful force of the sea. In the early 1800s, Decatur was a national hero, so much so that dozens of cities and towns were named for him. Let’s look at the exploits of Stephen Decatur.