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Charles Morris
Commodore Charles Morris
by Southworth & Hawes, circa 1850
Born (1784-07-26)July 26, 1784
Died January 27, 1856(1856-01-27) (aged 71)
Place of birth Woodstock, Connecticut
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1799 - 1847
Rank Commodore
Unit USS Constitution
Commands held USS Adams
Battles/wars Quasi-War
the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War
War of 1812
Constitution vs Guerriere
Battle of Hampden

Commodore Charles Morris, USN (1784–1856) was a United States naval officer and whose service extended through the first half of the 19th century.


Morris was born in Woodstock, Maine on 26 July 1784, and after being appointed a Midshipman in July 1799 served in the Quasi-War with France, First Barbary War and Second Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. He was promoted to Captain in March 1813. He served as a Navy Commissioner from 1823 to 1827, and as the Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs from 1844 to 1847.

In 1812 Morris was executive officer on the USS Constitution under the command of Isaac Hull during her battle with the HMS Guerriere, in which action Morris was severely wounded. He was promoted to captain on March 3, 1813. In 1814 he commanded the USS Adams in raiding expeditions against British commerce. Cornered in the Penobscot River in Maine by a British squadron under Captain Robert Barrie, Morris and his men went ashore with their cannons and, assisted by local militia attempted to hold off the British amphibious force in the Battle of Hampden. The British regulars routed the Americans, however, and Morris and his crew had to scuttle the ship and escape overland to Portland, Maine.

In 1835, his daughter Louise eloped and married William Wilson Corcoran.[1]

In his later career he commanded the Mediterranean Squadron and served as the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. He died in Washington, D.C., 27 January 1856 at the age of 71. At the time of his death, he was the second highest ranking officer in the Navy after Charles Stewart.


Ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Morris and USS Commodore Morris for him.

Charles Morris Court, a street inside the Washington Navy Yard in Washington DC, is named after him.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

  1. Ecker, Grace Dunlop (1933). A Portrait of Old George Town. Garrett & Massie, Inc.. pp. 126–139. 

Further reading

  • Autobiography of Commodore Charles Morris, USN, Charles Morris, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 1-55750-479-2

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