The Captain Who Burned His Ships

Captain Thomas Tingey, USN, 1750-1829
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Binding:Hardback
Published:September 15, 2011
By Gordon S. Brown (Author)

This is the first biography of Captain Thomas Tingey, a seminal figure in the early development of the U.S. Navy. It is at the same time a biography of this important American naval figure and a history of the first quarter century of the Washington Navy Yard, which Tingey commanded for that period. It is also the story of the transition of the navy from an object of partisan discord, to an honored and beloved defender of a growing and increasingly self-confident young nation. Tingey, who came to America after a short service in the Royal Navy, contributed importantly to the success of the navy in the War of 1812 and left a legacy of naval service which many of his descendants have followed. The Captain Who Burned His Ships is designed to fill a blank in popular histories of the 19th century American navy, which have been centered on the exploits of the heroes of the Barbary campaigns and the War of 1812. It looks at the development of the navy through its construction and logistical components, in which the Washington yard and Tingey played an important role. It looks at Tingey’s contributions to the development of yard procedures and practices, his civic role in the budding city of Washington, and the tragic events of 1814, when he was forced to burn his own creation to save it from falling into British hands

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Product Details
  • Subject: War of 1812
  • Hardback : 224 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 15, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1612510442
  • ISBN-13: 9781612510446
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 0 lb
Praise
  • “The Captain Who Burned His Ships is a well organized, well written book and a pleasure to read. Its production values, too, meet the high standards of the Naval Institute Press. Commodore Thomas Tingey has now secured a well-deserved place in the US Navy's historiography thanks to the diligent scholarship and narrative skills of his biographer, Gordon S. Brown.”—Michigan War Studies Review

Gordon S. Brown is an author and retired diplomat, whose books include Incidental Architect, about early Washington DC, Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and The Haitian Revolution, and The Norman Invasion of Southern Italy and Sicily. During a 35-year career in the US Foreign Service he was Ambassador to Mauritania 1991-94, Political Advisor to General Schwarzkopf during the first Gulf War, and Director of Arab Gulf Affairs in the State Department.

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5.00 Stars
Great story behind the scenes...
Monday, December 12, 2011
By: David Lee Poremba The Past In Review

As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 is almost upon us, the new literature of that forgotten conflict will begin to crowd the bookshelves. The exploits of the United States Navy, especially, will be the subject of a number of wonderful titles. The Captain Who Burned His Ships is one of those titles but one that takes a different course. Thomas Tingey started his naval career as an officer in the Royal Navy of Great Britain. After a short stint of service, he became a successful merchant captain, sailing out of U.S. ports to various parts of the globe, including the Far East. The Quasi-War with France found him back in naval service as a ship’s captain; at the personal request of the secretary of the Navy, he became the first commandant of the Washington Naval Yard. That was in 1801 and he remained there until his death in 1829. During that time, the United States Navy developed into a permanent, valuable addition to the country’s defenses and the Washington Navy Yard became the principle facility of the Navy. Brown’s book is more than a biography of a naval administrator who fought his best battles ashore. It is also the story of the growth and development of the Navy Yard and of the young nation’s new capitol. Tingey raised his family there, was a part of Washington society and made important contributions to it. In 1814, he was forced to burn his creation to the ground to prevent its capture and use by the invading British. It is a testament to his skill and reputation that the Yard was rebuilt under his leadership. This book is an important (and quite readable) addition to the literature of the Navy, the War of 1812 and the history of the District of Columbia.

 

 
 

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