Mad Jack: The Biography of Captain John Percival, USN, 1779-1862

Mad Jack: The Biography of Captain John Percival, USN, 1779-1862

by David Long


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A respected writer of naval history, Long is most qualified to write this first biography of Mad Jack, an unusual and controversial figure in the early days of the U.S. Navy. Using family accounts and primary materials, Long recounts the 40-year naval career of this maverick naval officer and in doing so gives the low-down on how the Navy worked in its nascent years. Anyone interested in eighteenth and nineteenth century military history will find this engrossing reading.

This popularly written but scholarly study covers the unusual Navy captain, whose career spanned the globe. Long provides a chronological account of Captain Percival's early years; his command during the War of 1812; his administrative duties at the Boston Navy Yard; his trips to the Pacific; mutinies; an incident with missionaries in Hawaii and the subsequent trial; cruises to the Caribbean; South America; and the Mediterranean; a trek around the world in the mid-1840s; his retirement; and his final years. Extensive notes and a bibliographical essay guide the reader to other important sources for those studying the period. Numerous maps are also provided.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313285677
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/24/1993
Series: Contributions in Military Studies Series , #13
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

DAVID F. LONG, retired after 45 years as Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, has written a number of diplomatic and U.S. naval works, including Gold Braid and Foreign Relations: Diplomatic Activities of U.S. Naval Officers, 1798-1883, and such naval biographies as Nothing Too Daring…David Porter, 1780-1843

ady to Hazard… William Bainbridge, 1774-1833

d Sailor-Diplomat… James Biddle, 1783-1848, as well as edited A Documentary History of U.S. Foreign Relations.

Table of Contents

Percival's Genealogy and Early Years, 1779-1812

The War of 1812, 1813-1815

Postwar Episodes, 1816-1818: To Colombia in Macedonian, 1816; and at the Boston Navy Yard, 1816-1818

To the Pacific in Macedonian, 1818-1820; and Back to the Boston Navy Yard, 1820-1823

To the Pacific in United States and Dolphin; and the Globe Mutiny, 1824-1826

Dolphin's Sojourn in Hawaii; and Home in United States, 1826-1827

Judicial Ordeals in Boston; and Aftermath, 1827-1829

Cruises to the Caribbean in Porpoise; and to Lower South America in Erie; Amid Assignments at the Boston Navy Yard, 1829-1838

To the Mediterranean in Cyane, 1838-1840

Striving for and Preparing Constitution for Her Only Around the World Cruise, 1840-1844

Constitution's Around the World Cruise, 1844-1846: Percival as Captain and His Relations with His Officers and Men, 1844-1846 and New York City through Borneo, May 1844-April 1845

Constitution's Around the World Cruise, 1844-1846: Precedent—Percival and the First U.S. Armed Intervention in Vietnam, 10-26 May 1845

Constitution's Around the World Cruise, 1844-1846: China to Boston, June 1845-September 1846

Forced Retirement and Old Age, 1846-1862

Percival: The Naval Officer and the Man

Bibliographical Essay


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