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Macdonough I (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 9)


Thomas Macdonough was born 23 December 1783 in The Trap (now Macdonough), Delaware. He was appointed midshipman 5 February 1800 and participated with distinction in operations against Tripoli, 1803‑04, serving on Philadelphia before her capture and volunteering for the dash into Tripoli Harbor with Decatur to burn the captured vessel. During the War of 1812, he commanded the United States Squadron on Lake Champlain. His energy in preparation and vigor in combat won a skillfully executed victory over the British in Plattsburg Bay, 11 September 1814 that had far‑reaching effects. In denying control of the lake to the British, Macdonough's victory forced the invading army to retire to Canada, and left no grounds for British territorial claims in the area at the Ghent peace conference. Honored by Congress with promotion to captain, he served as Commandant, Portsmouth Navy Yard 1815‑18, before assuming command of Guerriere and taking up station in the Mediterranean. He sailed to the Mediterranean again in 1824 as commanding officer of Constitution, but because of poor health was relieved 14 October 1825 at his own request. He departed for home in Edwin, but died at sea 10 November 1825 and was buried in Middletown, Conn.


(Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 9: displacement 430; length 246'3"; beam 22'3"; draft 6'8"; speed 30 knots; complement 72; armament 2 3-inch, 5 6‑pounders, 2 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Bainbridge)

The first Macdonough (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 9) was laid down 10 April 1899 at Weymouth, Mass., by the Fore River Ship & Engine Co.; launched 24 December 1900, the day before Christmas; sponsored by Miss Lucy Shaler Macdonough, granddaughter of Commodore Thomas Macdonough; and commissioned on 5 September 1903; Lt. Charles S. Bookwalter in command.

After shakedown, Macdonough spent seven months as a training ship for midshipmen at the Naval Academy, Annapolis. On 31 May 1904 she joined the Coast Squadron, North Atlantic Fleet, and for the next three years operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean. She was ordered to the Reserve Torpedo Fleet at Norfolk on 16 May 1907 and served with that fleet until the following year.

Placed in full commission on 21 November 1908, Macdonough became the flagship of the Third Torpedo Flotilla and sailed for Pensacola, Fla. She participated in operations out of that port until the following spring when she returned to the east coast. During the summer of 1909, she cruised with the Atlantic Torpedo Squadron off New England. She then returned to the Gulf of Mexico and steamed up the Mississippi River for the St. Louis Centennial Celebration. Returning to the east coast in December, she was placed in reserve at Charleston on the 16th. Macdonough took part in summer exercises during the summer of 1910 and returned to Charleston, where, with the exception of two cruises to New York, she remained for the next two years. In 1913 and 1914, she conducted summer cruises for the Massachusetts Naval Militia.

On 29 January 1915, Macdonough was detached from the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla and assigned to the Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. For the next two years she operated with submarines in maneuvers and exercises from Pensacola to Newport. Following this duty, she commenced, on 27 March 1917, a recruiting cruise along the Mississippi River. In mid‑June the ship departed New Orleans for Charleston where she joined the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. Until January 1918, she performed screening assignments off the east coast. On 16 January 1918, she departed Philadelphia for Brest, France, arriving 20 February. She remained off the coast of France, providing escort and patrol services, until 20 May 1919. Sailing for the United States, she arrived at Philadelphia on 24 June and remained in that port until decommissioned on 3 September. Her name was stricken from the Navy Register on 7 November 1919 and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 10 March 1920.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

4 May 2022

Published: Wed May 04 11:23:45 EDT 2022