Book Review: Joshua Barney: Hero of the Revolution and 1812


by Louis Arthur Norton

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2018. Pp. xxvi, 228+. Illus., maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 9781682473412

A Forgotten Naval Hero

Commodore Joshua Barney (1759-1818), one of the most important naval officers in the Revolutionary War, rising to lieutenant before he was 20 and command of a ship by 23. He then served in the French Navy for a time, during the First Republic, before returning to American service. Barney greatly distinguished himself during the War of 1812, commanding the Chesapeake Bay gunboat flotilla and then a brigade of sailors and marines who offered the stoutest resistance to the British in the Battle of Bladensburg (August 24, 1814)

Despite his impressive record, Barney had to wait until 200 before he became the subject of a serious biography, which is now once again available, in paperback. Prof. Norton (emeritus Connecticut) not only gives us a good look at Barney’s life –as merchant seaman, patriot naval officer, privateer, prisoner-of-war, politician, and volunteer -- but also tells us much about the naval and maritime world in his day.

Despite its age, Joshua Barney remains a valuable read.


Note: Joshua Barney is also available in hard cover and several e-editions


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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