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Adapted from the biographical sketch for Samuel Evans, ZB Files, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • Barbary Wars 1801-1805, 1815
  • War of 1812 1812-1815
  • Quasi War with France 1798-1801
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Location of Archival Materials

Samuel Evans

17?? - 1824

Born in New Jersey. Date and place of birth not found.

Midshipman, 11 May 1798. Lieutenant, 25 November 1799. Master Commandant (Commander), 24 April 1806. Captain, 4 July 1812.

Appointed Midshipman, 11 May 1798, and ordered to duty on USS Ganges. Accepted appointment same day. The Ganges sailed from Philadelphia 24 May 1798, under the command of Captain Richard Dale, and cruised on the Atlantic coast in the early part of the Naval War with France (1798-1800).

In 1799 ordered to the USS George Washington, which was attached to the squadron of Commodore Thomas Tingey on the Guadaloupe Station. His commission as Lieutenant, dated 25 November 1799, was delivered to Lieutenant Archibald McElroy, who was at that time preparing the USS Augusta for sea at Philadelphia, but later served in the West Indies.

Owing to the incompleteness of our early records, no definite information concerning the service of Samuel Evans during the Naval War with France can be given beyond his orders.

2 June 1801 informed that he was one of the Lieutenants selected to be retained in the Navy under the Peace Establishment Act of 3 March 1801, and ordered to Philadelphia to join the George Washington under Lieutenant John Shaw. The George Washington carried tribute to Algiers in the summer of 1801, and remained in the Mediterranean on convoy duty for several months during the first part of the War with Tripoli (1801-1805), sailing for home early in 1802. No record of service on her has been found.

27 August 1802 ordered to Washington and 6 September 1802 to the John Adams. The John Adams sailed for the Mediterranean 19 September 1802, under the command of Captain John Rodgers, and left for the United States 19 October 1803. Lieutenant Evans' name appears on a list of her officers.

1 December 1803 furloughed until called upon. 21 March 1804 ordered to open a rendezvous at Baltimore immediately and use his most strenuous exertions to enter 100 able seamen, 50 ordinary seamen and boys for the President, Congress and John Adams. 31 March 1804 ordered to Washington, to place himself under the command of Commodore John Rodgers. Served in the squadron of Commodore Rodgers in the Mediterranean during the latter part of the War with Tripoli; transferred from the Congress to the Constitution 9 November 1804; commanding the Hornet 21 March 1805, and in her took part in the capture of the town of Derna, 27 April 1805; commanding the Nautilus 1 September 1805, and returning to the United States in command of her in July 1806.

16 August 1806 requested permission to be furloughed to make a merchant voyage in the ship Warren of Baltimore. Permission granted the same day, and ordered to report to the Navy Department on his return. He reported his arrival at Philadelphia on 17 February 1808 in a lengthy report of the 18th, in which he described the events of the voyage and the loss of the Warren, which was taken possession of at Talcahuano, Chile, by the Spanish authorities in January (year not given, but apparently 1807).

8 March 1808 ordered to superintend the building of gunboats at Baltimore, which service he performed throughout the year.

27 February 1809 ordered to New York to assume command of the Argus; detached from the Argus 21 March 1809 and ordered to Washington to assume command of the John Adams. 20 November 1809 ordered to prepare the John Adams, then under his command at New York, immediately for foreign service. Sailed from New York 15 December under orders of 5 December bearing despatches from the State Department to France and England and specie from the Treasury Department to Holland; wrote from Baltimore on 10 June 1810 reporting his return.

3 April 1811 furloughed for a merchant voyage by his own request, but was unable to go, and on 13 May was ordered to take command of the Naval Station at Norfolk. 7 August 1812 ordered from Norfolk to Boston to assume command of the Chesapeake and prepare her for service. On 28 November the Secretary wrote that he was glad to hear the ship was nearly ready for sea, and directed him to proceed as he had been directed by Commodore Decatur, to whose squadron he was attached. Sailed from Boston 13 December and made a short cruise in the North Atlantic, during which he captured six vessels, returning to Boston in April 1813.

30 April 1813 asked to be relieved of the command of the Chesapeake, as his eyesight was affected as the result of an old wound, and he must be under the care of an oculist. On 6 May the Secretary replied to his letter, releasing him from his command of the Chesapeake, and ordering him to take command of the Navy Yard at New York, 'to afford him a convenient situation while his health was restored,' stating that 'the service could but illy dispense with him,' and that at the New York Yard, then vacant, 'the services of a judicious, active, prudent and economical officer were extraordinarily wanted.'

Captain Evans remained in command of the New York Navy Yard until his death, which occurred at the Yard on board the USS Constitution, about noon on 2 June 1824, from a ruptured blood vessel while going up the gangway of the ship.

Dates of Service


1798 11 May Appointed Midshipman. Ordered to USS Ganges under Captain Richard Dale.
1799   To USS George Washington
  25 November Promoted to Lieutenant.
1801 2 June Retained as Lieutenant under Peace Establishment Act and ordered to Philadelphia to join USS George Washington under Lieutenant John Shaw.
1802 6 September Ordered to join USS John Adams. Served in Mediterranean under Commodore John Rodgers.
1804 March Recruiting duty at Baltimore, Maryland.
1805   In command of USS Hornet. Took part in attack on town of Derna, coast of Tripoli.
1806 24 April Promoted to Master Commandant (commander).
    To USS Nautilus.
  16 August Requested furlough in order to make merchant voyage in ship Warren of Baltimore. Permission granted.
1808 18 February At Philadelphia. Reported return from voyage.
  8 March Commanding officer at naval Station, Baltimore, Maryland. Superintended building of gunboats.
1809 24 February To command of US brig Argus
  31 March To command of USS John Admas.
  20 November To prepare USS John Adams for foreign service.
1811 13 May To assume command of Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia.
1812 4 July Promoted to Captain.
  7 August To command of USS Chesapeake at Boston, Massachusetts. To prepare her for service.
  28 November To proceed as soon as ready for sea for duty with Commodore Decatur's squadron.
1813 April Captured schooner Ellen while in command of USS Chesapeake.
  6 May Granted furlough on account of trouble with eyes due to old wound. Ordered to take command of Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, immediately upon recovery.
1824 2 June Died while still in command of Brooklyn Navy Yard.


Published: Thu Nov 12 09:31:45 EST 2020