From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, Dec. 26, 1812
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
Weather: Utica 1812
Almanack: Clear and cold.
Brilliant Naval Exploits
The following message was received by the House of Representatives on Friday the 11th inst. [Dec.] from the President of the United States, by Mr. Coles his secretary.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the U. States.
I transmit to congress copies of a letter to the secretary of the navy, from captain Decatur, of the frigate “United States,” reporting his combat and capture of the British frigate Macedonian. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on that officer and his companions on board, for the consummate skill and conspicuous valor by which this trophy has been added to the naval arms of the United States.
I transmit, also, a letter from captain Jones, who commanded the sloop of war Wasp, reporting his capture of the British sloop of war Frolic, after a close action, in which other brilliant titles will be seen to the public admiration and praise.
A nation, feeling what it owes to itself and its citizens, could never abandon to arbitrary violence on the ocean a class of men which gives such examples of capacity and courage, in defending their rights on that element; examples which aught to impress on the enemy, however brave and powerful, a preference of justice and peace to hostility against a country whose prosperous career may be accelerated, but cannot be prevented, by the assaults made on it.
Washington, Dec. 11, 1812.
COMMENT: On October 25, 1812 the U.S. Frigate United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), defeated and captured the British Frigate Macedonian. after a long and bloody battle. The British suffered 43 killed and 71 wounded, while American losses were limited to 7 killed and 5 wounded. The Macedonian, with its 38 guns, was taken into the American navy, where it remained until 1828. Stephen Decatur was one of America’s first great naval heroes, but he died in 1820 in a duel with Commodore James Baron (1768-1851). The Town of Decatur, in Otsego County, is named for him.