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Arthur Sinclair
Commodore Arthur Sinclair
Born (1780-02-28)February 28, 1780
Died February 7, 1831(1831-02-07) (aged 50)
Place of birth Virginia
Place of death Norfolk, Virginia
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1796 - 1831
Rank Commodore
Battles/wars Quasi-War with France
First Barbary War
War of 1812

Commodore Arthur Sinclair (28 February 1780 – 7 February 1831) was an early American naval hero, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War and in the War of 1812. His three sons also served in the Navy; they resigned in 1861, however, to serve in the Confederate Navy.

Sinclair was the great-grandfather of novelist Upton Sinclair, author of the novel The Jungle (1906).


Born in Virginia, Sinclair entered the Navy as Midshipman in 1798. He served as Midshipman in Constellation during the capture of the French frigate L'Insurgente on 9 February 1799. He was attached to the Mediterranean Squadron from June 1804 to July 1806, participating in the attacks on Tripoli on board Essex. He then sailed Gunboat No. 10 to the United States. On 10 June 1807 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. On 13 December 1811, he was ordered to the command of Argus; and, between 12 October and 17 December 1812, cruised in Argus with the North Atlantic Squadron and took a number of prizes. During the cruise, he became separated from the squadron and was chased for three days and nights by an enemy squadron before his superior ship handling enabled him to escape. On 18 May 1813, he was ordered to duty in the squadron on Lake Ontario and commanded General Pike in the engagement on 28 September 1813. In 1814, he commanded Niagara on Lake Huron and Lake Superior and directed the naval squadron in the Battle of Mackinac Island and the Engagement on Lake Huron.

Promoted to Captain in 1813, he commanded Congress in 1817; served in Washington in 1818; and, in 1819, was placed in command of the Norfolk Station where, in 1821, he established a naval school on the schoolship Guerriere. Captain Sinclair died at Norfolk, Virginia on 7 February 1831.


The destroyer USS Sinclair (DD-275) was named for him.


  • Sinclair, Upton. The Autobiography of Upton Sinclair. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1962.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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