THOMAS MACDONOUGH was born 23 December 1783 at The Trap (now Macdonough), Delaware. He was appointed midshipman in 1800 and participated with distinction in operations against Tripoli, 1803–04, serving on frigate Philadelphia before her capture and volunteering for the dash into Tripoli Harbor with Decatur to burn the captured vessel.
During the War of 1812, he commanded the United States Squadron on Lake Champlain. His energy in preparation and vigor in combat won a skillfully executed victory over the British at Plattsburg, 11 September 1814, denying control of the lake to the British and forcing the accompanying invasion army to retire to Canada.
Honored by Congress with the Congressional Gold Medal and promotion to captain, he served as Commandant, Portsmouth Navy Yard 1815–1818, before assuming command of Guerriere, stationed in the Mediterranean. He sailed to the Mediterranean again in 1824 as commanding officer of Constitution, but because of poor health was relieved the next year at his own request.
He departed for home in Edwin, but died at sea 10 November 1825. He was buried at Middletown, Connecticut.