It is with no common feeling of admiration that we record an instance of heroic courage, and loyal self-devotion, on the part of a common sailor.
During the early part of Decatur’s struggle with the Turk, he was assailed in the rear by one of the enemy, who had just aimed a blow at his head which must have proved fatal; at this fearful juncture, a noble-hearted tar, who had been so badly wounded as to lose the use of his hands, seeing no other means of saving his commander, rushed between him and the uplifted sabre, and received the blow on his own head, which fractured his skull. We love to pause and honor great actions in humble life, because they speak well for human nature. Men of rank and station in society, often do gallant deeds, in a manner from necessity. Their conspicuous station obliges them to do so, or their eagerness for glory urges them on; but an act like this we have mentioned, so desperate, yet so disinterested, done by an obscure, unambitious individual, a poor sailor, can spring from nothing but nobleness of soul. We are happy to add that this generous fellow survived, and long after received a pension from government.
Decatur succeeded in getting, with both his prizes, to the squadron, and the next day received the highest commendation, in a general order, from Commodore Preble. When that able officer was superseded in the command of the squadron, he gave the Constitution to Captain Decatur, who had some time before received his commission. From that ship he was removed to the Congress, and returned home in her, when peace was concluded in Tripoli.
Commodore Hull became a sailor when he was only eight years old. He distinguished himself greatly in the naval war with France, and in the war with Tripoli, especially at the capture of Derne, in Africa.
[Illustration: COMMODORE HULL.]
At the commencement of the war of 1812, Hull having been advanced in the meantime to the rank of captain, was placed in command of the frigate Constitution, in which he was destined to perform those brilliant actions which have rendered him one of the most celebrated heroes of our navy. His first exploit was the escape of the Constitution from a British squadron, which is justly regarded as one of the most remarkable recorded in naval history. The account of it contained in the official letter of Captain Hull has all the interest of a romance. It is as follows:
pursuance of your orders of the 3d instant, I left
Annapolis on the 5th instant, and the capes on the 12th, of which I
advised you by the pilot who brought the ship to sea.