As one of his duties in the Navy, STEPHEN DECATUR sat as one of the judges in the court martial of his good friend Commodore James Barron, who, finding his ship under attack by the British in 1807, and with only one gun in place, had surrendered. Barron was expelled from the Navy for five years. When the War of 1812 began, he did not return to help defend his country. When he did return in 1818, he felt his good friend had betrayed him, and he and Decatur were ready for a fight. Eventually, the quarrel exploded into a battle of honor. The men dueled on March 22, 1820. Both men were shot, but Decatur was mortally wounded and died several hours later at home. Although he lived in the house for only one year, the house has always been known as the “Decatur House”.
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