Georgetown University Library
Special Collections Division
3700 O Street NW
Washington, DC 20057-1174
Causten, Joseph H.
Causten enlisted in the Navy during the War of 1812. Assigned to serve aboard the frigate USS Constellation, neither Causten nor the crew would see action during the war, the ship never being allowed to leave its port in Norfolk, Virginia, because of the British blockade. Causten remained with the Navy after the war, being present for what historians have referred to as the Navy's period of professionalization. In the aftermath of the Tripolitan War and the War of 1812, the U.S. government was brought to the realization that a significantly strengthened Navy was necessary to protect U.S. shipping interests both at home and abroad. In response to these needs, two squadrons placed under the commands of Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur were formed for the purpose of protecting U.S. merchant ships in the waters of the Mediterranean, particularly in the region of the Barbary coast. The frigate USS Constellation was assigned to Commodore Decatur's squadron. In February 1815, President James Madison sent this squadron to confront the Algerian Navy after Congress had declared war on the powerful Barbary Coast nation for its attacks on U.S. merchant ships. After a quick and decisive battle between the two maritime nations, Decatur's squadron emerged victorious, thus ensuring the security of U.S. shipping for that region. Several of Causten's letters recount his experiences while serving in this squadron, and make reference to the Navy's successful, if not controversial, attack on a Turkish ship in 1816. Found in the Causten Family Papers.
Donated to Georgetown College by Susan Decatur, the widow of the War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), the Stephen and Susan Decatur Papers consist of one letter book containing letters dated from 1812 to 1813 written to Commodore Decatur congratulating him on the victory of USS United States against HMS Macedonian, two letters dated 1812 to him from U.S. Navy Secretary Paul Hamilton, and 16 letters to Susan Decatur dated between 1831 and 1845.
Dundas, William O.
William Oswald Dundas was a Confederate soldier and sailor. The collection includes correspondence with Lieutenant James Edward Calhoun, U.S. Navy.