Visit the New Commodore James Barron Mural

Date: May 11, 2015 By: Joe Elder Category: Blog

A new mural depicting Commodore James Barron was recently commissioned by The Supporters of Portsmouth Public Art. The mural presents Commodore Barron in the foreground with the ships HMS Leopard and American frigate USS Chesapeake behind was created by Chesapeake, Virginia artist Sam Welty, who has also created a number of other exceptional murals throughout the historic Olde Towne district.  You can view the now completed mural at 612 Court Street, Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA. commodore-Barron-mural-photo-clyde-nordan

Commodore James Barron. Namesake of the Commodore Theatre on High Street, James Barron is best known for an infamous incident at sea in 1807, when his ship, the frigate Chesapeake, surrendered to the British warship Leopard after firing only one shot. Four former British sailors serving aboard the Chesapeake were tried for desertion and impressed into the British Navy. The nation and President Thomas Jefferson were outraged at the British action. Historians consider the “Chesapeake-Leopard Affair” a catalyst of the War of 1812. Barron was later court-martialed for his actions and barred from further command. In 1820, Barron killed Commodore Stephen Decatur, who testified against him at his court-martial, in a duel in which he also was injured. Barron went on to a successful second career as commander of the Gosport Yard, now the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He is credited for suggesting warships be clad with iron sheeting. He died on April 21, 1851, at age 82. He is buried in the graveyard of Trinity Episcopal Church located on the corner of High and Court Streets, also referred to as Church Square!

History re-printed from an article written by Lia Russel, Virginian Pilot, October 10, 2011.

Photograph of the mural painting in progress by Sam Welty located at 612 Court Street, Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA.  Photo by Clyde Nordan.