Truxtun, Thomas

Truxtun, Thomas,

1755–1822, American naval officer, b. near Hempstead, L.I., N.Y. In the American Revolution he won a name as a privateer, seizing many British prizes. Later he was a sea captain in merchant trade until the U.S. navy was organized. In the "near war" with France (1798–1800), he commanded the ConstellationConstellation
, U.S. frigate, launched in 1797. It was named by President Washington for the constellation of 15 stars in the U.S. flag of that time. The frigate was built to serve against the pirates of the Barbary States, but after the outbreak (1798) of hostilities between
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 and earned an outstanding reputation. He captured the French frigate L'Insurgente (1799) and then later defeated La Vengeance (1800), although he was prevented by a storm from taking the latter ship as a prize. Shortly afterward he retired from the navy. His name also appears as Truxton.


See E. S. Ferguson, Truxtun of the Constellation (1956).

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Truxtun, Thomas

(1753–1822) naval officer, merchant captain; born near Hempstead, N.Y. He was successful as a privateer in the American Revolution and as a captain in the China trade. He became a naval captain (1794) and supervised the construction of the USS Constellation at Baltimore. During the undeclared war with France he captured the French Insurgente (1799) and defeated La Vengeance in a five-hour battle (1800). He wrote books on navigation and naval tactics and left a record of success for the new U.S. Navy.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.