Online Library of Selected Images:

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN, (1774-1833)

William Bainbridge was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on 7 May 1774. He went to sea in the merchant marine in 1789 and was captain of a ship before reaching the age of twenty. Bainbridge was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in August 1798. Though his first command, the schooner Retaliation, was captured by two much more powerful French frigates in November, Lieutenant Bainbridge was subsequently promoted to the rank of Master Commandant and then to Captain. During 1800-1803 he commanded the U.S. warships George Washington, Essex and Philadelphia during operations in the Mediterranean, but was taken prisoner with his entire crew when Philadelphia ran aground off Tripoli on 31 October 1803.

After regaining his freedom in 1805, Captain Bainbridge supervised naval facilities and the construction of gunboats and, while on leave, again served in the merchant marine. He returned from the last of his commercial voyages in 1812, shortly before the United States went to war with Great Britain. In September he was given command of the frigate Constitution, took her to sea on the second of her War of 1812 cruises, and destroyed HMS Java in battle on 29 December 1812. Bainbridge was stationed at Boston, in charge of building the ship of the line Independence, during most of the rest of the war. In July-November 1815, she was flagship of his squadron during an expedition to the Mediterranean to supress the renewed threat posed by the Barbary states.

Commodore Bainbridge was commander of Navy forces afloat at Boston for much of the rest of the decade, and in 1820-21 flew his flag in the ship of the line Columbus during another Mediterranean cruise. He was later Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, served as a Naval Commissioner in 1825-1828 and then was Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Bainbridge returned to the Boston command in 1832, but ill health forced him to leave that post in 1833. He died at Philadelphia on 27 July of that year.

The U.S. Navy has named four ships in honor of William Bainbridge, including: USS Bainbridge (1842-1863); USS Bainbridge (Destroyer # 1), 1902-1920; USS Bainbridge (DD-246), 1921-1945; and USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25, later CGN-25), 1962-1997.

This page features all the views we have related to Commodore William Bainbridge, USN, (1774-1833).

Click on the photograph to prompt a larger view of the image.

Photo #: NH 51541

Lieutenant William Bainbridge, USN

Photograph of a minature portrait in the posession of Mrs. Theodore Frothingham, Bainbridge's Great-Granddaughter, in 1936. It depicts Bainbridge in 1798, as a 24-year old Lieutenant. It had been partially colored by William Bainbridge Hoff.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 126KB; 605 x 765 pixels

Photo #: KN-1365 (Color)

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN (1774-1833)

Oil on wood, 30" by 21", by John Wesley Jarvis (1780-1840). Painted circa 1814.

Painting in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum Collection. Transferred from the U.S. Naval Lyceum, 1892.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 78KB; 585 x 765 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives as Photo # 428-KN-1365.

Photo #: NH 51512

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN

Late 19th Century or early 20th Century photograph of the oil portrait by John Wesley Jarvis.
This portrait was presented to the Naval Lyceum at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, by Surgeon George W. Corwise, USN, on 12 July 1839. It was later transferred to the United States Naval Academy.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 105KB; 580 x 765 pixels

Note: See Photo # KN-1365 for a color reproduction of this painting.

Photo #: NH 56071

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN

Engraving by G. Parker after the oil painting by John Wesley Jarvis, published during the mid-19th Century. The print includes a facsimile of Bainbridge's signature.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 110KB; 385 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 56072

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN

Engraving by Peter Maverick after the oil painting by John Wesley Jarvis, published during the mid-19th Century.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 151KB; 590 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 51514

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN

Engraving by W. Wellstood after a painting by Alonzo Chappel, published by Johnson Fry & Company, New York, during the later 1850s. A facsimile of Bainbridge's signature is included in the print.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 93KB; 460 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 1881

Commodore William Bainbridge, USN

Miniature portrait, circa 1828, which was owned by Commander A. B. Hoff in 1935.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 95KB; 525 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 1391

Captain William Bainbridge, USN
Commanding Officer of USS Constitution.

Engraving of the medal authorized by the United States Congress in honor of Captain Bainbridge's 29 December 1812 victory in the battle between USS Constitution and HMS Java. A gold version of the medal was struck for Bainbridge and a silver one for each of Constitution's other commissioned officers.

The engraving was published in Lossing's "Field Book, War of 1812", page 463.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 111KB; 740 x 405 pixels

Photo #: NH 2083-A

Campaign against the Barbary Powers, 1815

Engraving depicting Commodore William Bainbridge's squadron sailing from Gibraltar on 6 October 1815.

Copied from "Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs".

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 101KB; 740 x 415 pixels


Additional image:

A portrait in oils of William Bainbridge, by John Wesley Jarvis, is owned by the City of New York. This painting depicts Bainbridge in uniform, with the double-breasted jacket fully buttoned. He is depicted full height, facing the artist, with his left foot on a cannon ball that is resting in a shot rack on deck. Bainbridge is holding a sword in his right hand and is not wearing a hat. His head appears to be almost identical to that in the Jarvis portrait shown above. The painting's background features a good deal of cloudy gunsmoke and the breech of a cannon.

For additional information on this item, the availability of reproductions and usage rights, contact the New York City Art Commission.

For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

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