On this day in 1776, Navy Captain John Barry makes the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he takes command of the British warship HMS Edward.
The capture elevated Captain Barry into a national hero.
Barry received his first captain’s commission in the Continental Navy on March 14, 1776. John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, signed it.
After the war, he became America’s first commissioned naval officer, at the rank of commodore, receiving his commission from President George Washington in 1797.
He is widely known as “The Father of the American Navy,” sharing that designation with John Paul Jones.