commodore john barry bridge

John Barry (naval officer)

John Barry (1745 – 13 September, 1803) was an officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War and later in the United States Navy. He is often credited as "The Father of the American Navy". Barry was born in Tacumshane, County Wexford, Ireland and appointed a Captain in the Continental Navy 7 December 1775.

Naval service

He commanded Lexington, Raleigh, and Alliance. He and his crew of the Alliance fought and won the final naval battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783. He was seriously wounded 29 May 1781 while in command of Alliance during her capture of HMS Atalanta and Trepassey. Barry was successful in suppressing three mutinies during his career as an officer in the Continental Navy.

He was still in command of the Alliance when it participated in the last battle of the Revolutionary War.

Appointed senior captain upon the establishment of the U.S. Navy, he commanded the frigate United States in the Quasi-War with France. Barry authored a Signal Book published in 1780 to improve communications at sea among vessels traveling in formation.

On February 22, 1797, he was issued Commission Number 1 by President George Washington, backdated to June 4, 1794. His title was thereafter "Commodore." He is recognized not only as the first American commissioned naval officer but also its first flag officer.

Commodore Barry died at Strawberry Hill, in present-day Philadelphia on 13 September, 1803, and was buried there in St. Mary's Cemetery.

Things named in his honor


  • A statue dedicated to Barry stands in Franklin Square (Washington, D.C.).
  • A large statue of Barry stands directly in front of the formal entrance to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
  • A statue of the Barry stands overlooking the Crescent Quay in Wexford town in Ireland. It was a gift to the town from the United States and was delivered by a United States Navy frigate. The statue was unveiled in 1956, and each year a parade and wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the statue to celebrate "Barry Day".
  • A plaque commemorating Barry and his crew of the Alliance for the final naval battle of the American Revolution is located at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • A new plaque with a canon will be dedicated on March 10, 2007 in Port Canaveral.
  • A plaque stands in the city of Boston at Boston Commons
  • A plaque commemorating his grave site.

See also



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