This Month In County History

1838: John Rodgers, naval officer, dies

August 07, 2005

John Rodgers, born near Havre de Grace to a family of prominent sailors, died on Aug. 1, 1838.

He entered the U.S. Navy when it was organized in 1798. In 1811, Rodgers, in command of the President, was ordered to cruise off the U.S. coast to stop the impressment of American sailors by the British frigate Guerriere. He encountered a British ship, which he apparently took to be the Guerriere, and gave chase. Accounts of what happened vary, but a battle took place, and the British ship, the Little Belt, was defeated and cut to bits. The incident was one of those leading up to the War of 1812.

Rodgers, at the outbreak of that war, at once set out to pursue British ships and captured several merchantmen. He later participated in the naval defense of Baltimore. After the war he was president of the board of naval commissioners. He died in Philadelphia.

-- The Columbia Encyclopedia

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