Stephen Decatur was a naval officer who distinguished himself in the War of 1812 and the wars with the Barbary states. Commissioned in 1798, he was ordered to the West Mediterranean. He led a small band of sailors into Tripoli harbor, boarded the captured American frigate Philadelphia, and set it afire. British Adm. Horatio Nelson called the exploit "the most bold and daring act of the age."
During the War of 1812 on the frigate United States, Decatur defeated the British Frigate Macedonian in one of the war's most important single-ship engagements. He later was unable to leave American waters because of the British blockade. When he tried to run the blockade out of New York in January 1815, he was captured. By this time the war had ended, and he was repatriated.
Thomas Macdonough was a naval commander in the War of 1812. He is best known for a crucial victory over the British in Lake Champlain that forestalled an invasion of New York. Macdonough also served in the Tripolitan War.