chapter  7
42 Pages

Napoleon and the War on Commerce: 1800-1815

On 7 July 1798, a young captain named Stephen Decatur took his sloop Delaware into action against a French ship that had been cruising the waters off New Jersey, preying upon American merchantmen. Decatur’s capture of the Croyable turned an escalating war of words into actual bloodshed. A month later President Adams declared to Congress that “open hostilities have commenced between France and America.”1