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Charles Willson Peale, from life, 1796-1797

Oil on canvas. H 24, W 20 in (H 61.0, W 50.8 cm)
Independence NHP
INDE 14041

About the Man
About this Portrait:
Charles Willson Peale's museum portrait of Dearborn reflects the silvery tones common to the artist's work of the 1790s. However, the painting is absent from the 1795 museum catalog. Peale probably painted it when Dearborn was in Philadelphia serving in Congress from 1796 to 1797. The portrait first appears in the 1813 Peale Museum catalog.

Ownership History:
Listed in the 1813 Peale Museum catalog. Purchased by the City of Philadelphia at the 1854 Peale Museum sale.

earborn was born in Hampton, New Hampshire. He studied medicine and opened practice in 1771. When Revolutionary fighting began, he led a local militia troop to Boston and fought at Bunker Hill. He then served under Benedict Arnold during the American expedition to Quebec, where he was captured and imprisoned for a year. Dearborn later fought at Ticonderoga, Monmouth, and in the Genesee Valley. He also served on George Washington's staff at Yorktown. After the war, he worked as U.S. marshal for the District of Maine. In 1793, he represented Massachusetts in Congress for two terms. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson appointed him Secretary of War, a post he held for eight years.

uring the War of 1812, Dearborn commanded the Army's northeast sector. He lost Detroit and several other forts in the Great Lakes to the British while sustaining heavy casualties in the capture of Toronto. As a result, he was reassigned to an administrative command in New York City. In 1815, President James Madison recommended Dearborn's reappointment as Secretary of War. The Senate rejected the nomination. He later served two years as U.S. Minister to Portugal.

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Last Modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2001