The admiral died on the afternoon of 18 July 1792, anticipating one last commission to challenge his legendary skills as seaman and warrior. Less than two weeks after his 45th birthday, John Paul Jones was found in his Paris apartment lying facedown on the bed, his feet on the floor. Although not a religious man, the position of the body led to speculation that he was attempting to kneel as he took his last breath.
Given his Scottish Calvinist upbringing and the unwillingness of American officials to take responsibility, he was buried in a Protestant cemetery on the outskirts of the French capital. It would be 113 years before Jones would return to America and receive the honors and recognition he so craved during the last years of his life. The effort to find and return his remains is a story of dedication and unrelenting persistence by the American ambassador to France, Horace Porter.
John Paul Jones Commemoration (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1907, reprint 1966). This volume contains addresses given at the 1906 John Paul Jones commemoration at the U.S. Naval Academy and papers and reports, including Horace Porter’s, about the search for and identification of Jones’ remains. The 1966 reprint includes Captain John G. M. Stone’s recollections of Jones’ remains.
Joseph Callo, John Paul Jones: America’s First Sea Warrior (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006).
William M. Fowler Jr., Rebels Under Sail: The American Navy during the Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976).
Lincoln Lorenz, The Admiral and the Empress: John Paul Jones and Catherine the Great (New York: Bookman Associates, 1954).
Elsie Porter Mendes, An American Soldier and Diplomat (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1927).
Nathan Miller, Theodore Roosevelt: A Life (New York: William Morrow, 1992).
Robert L. O’Connell, Sacred Vessels: The Cult of the Battleship and the Rise of the U.S. Navy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
Horace Porter, Campaigning with Grant (New York: Century Company, 1897; reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000).
Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1959; Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989).
Evan Thomas, John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003).
Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962).