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Commodore Thomas MacDonough
Thomas MacDonough
Commodore Thomas MacDonough
American, 1783 - 1825
Biography: Thomas MacDonough was born in 31 December 1783, the son of a doctor, Major Thomas MacDonough, and Mary Vance MacDonough. His grandfather, James, had emigrated from County Kildare, Ireland, to America in about 1730. Thomas MacDonough entered the United States Navy as a midshipman on 5 February 1800. In January 1807 he was commissioned a lieutenant. Thomas MacDonough was ordered to Middletown, Connecticut, in 1806. He settled there, and married his sweetheart of six years, Lucy Ann Shaler (Shalor), on 12 December 1812. They had several children, including Captain Charles S. MacDonough (d. 1871). At the beginning of the War of 1812 Thomas MacDonough was given command of the naval station at Portland, Maine. A few weeks later he was ordered to take command of the fleet on Lake Champlain, arriving there in October 1812. In September 1814, MacDonough's fleet defeated the British stationed on Lake Champlain at the Battle of Plattsburgh. This was a very decisive engagement, because the British had intended to take control of the Great Lakes, and instead were forced to retreat to Canada. For his actions, Thomas MacDonough received many honors and a promotion to captain. After the War of 1812, Captain Thomas MacDonough served a commandant of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, navy yard for three years, then took command of the frigate Guerriere and joined the Mediterranean squadron. After contracting tuberculosis in 1818, he returned to the United States due to his ill health, and oversaw the construction of the USS Ohio. After five years, he requested sea duty, and received command of the USS Constitution in 1824. His health began to deteriorate, and he was forced to resign command on 14 October 1825. During the sail home, he died off Gibralter, about 600 miles from the coast of the United States on 10 November 1825. He was buried at Middletown, Connecticut, next to his wife, who had died several month earlier.