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The original item was published from 12/20/2021 4:44:42 PM to 12/21/2021 10:32:17 AM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: December 20, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Commodore James Barron and Innovation in the Early U.S. Navy - Virtual Talk, Monday, January 3, 7 pm

Commodore James Barron square

Debuting on Facebook Live - Monday, January 3, 7-8 pm

Independent scholar Michael Romero will bring the innovations of Commodore James Barron into well-deserved light in this virtual talk.

Little has been written about Commodore James Barron (1768-1851) of the United States Navy.  Existing scholarship on Barron fixates on two events: Barron’s five-year suspension from the service for failing to prepare his ship for battle during the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair in 1807 and his killing of Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr. in an 1820 duel over fallout from that suspension.  This overlooks decades of invention in which Commodore Barron worked to influence the early development of the Navy despite his lackluster combat record.

The son of a prominent officer in Virginia’s Revolutionary War Navy, Barron was commissioned as a lieutenant aboard the frigate United States in 1798.   His service and early command experience during the Quasi-War with France and the First Barbary War was characterized by routine patrol and convoy escort duties.  Barron was involved in the development of one of the Navy’s first signal books, designed and oversaw the installation of a ventilator for use aboard Navy ships, designed a steam-powered ram for harbor and river defense, and helped revitalize naval education shortly before the establishment of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Through an in-depth examination of fifteen boxes of James Barron Papers and other related documents, this thesis will bring the innovations of Commodore James Barron into well-deserved light.

About Our Speaker
Michael Romero has worked as a Historical Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia since May 2011.  For the past six years, he has performed dedicated research into late eighteenth-century naval history and has achieved some success in bringing the naval side of the American Revolution to life in Williamsburg.  Among Mr. Romero’s interpretive goals is learning the skills that made eighteenth-century mariners unique; this has led him to earn certification in celestial navigation from the American Sailing Association and complete courses such as “Celestial Navigation in the Age of Sail” and “Longitude by Lunar Distance” from Frank Reed Navigation in Rhode Island.

The past three years have seen Mr. Romero make great strides in developing his interpretive skills and beginning to build a career as a naval historian.  He has published numerous articles online and in print for Colonial Williamsburg, the U.S. Naval Institute, and the National Association for Interpretation.  Mr. Romero’s frequent contribution to NAI’s Legacy were instrumental in his selection as an Associate Editor for the magazine in October 2020.  Most recently, he submitted his thesis to complete a Master’s Degree in U.S. Military History from the American Public University System.  Mr. Romero will be presenting extracts from his thesis, “Commodore James Barron and Innovation in the Early U.S. Navy,” which he previously presented at the McMullen Naval History Symposium hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy this September.

Romero is now seeking opportunities to work in a higher position in interpretation, education, or a related field while continuing to develop his own skills and experience.

After the talk debuts on Facebook Live, it will later be found on our YouTube playlist and the museum’s website

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