Portrait of Thomas Tingey. Credit: Naval Historical Center Art Gallery Collection

The Captain Who Burned His Ships: Captain Thomas Tingey, USN, 1750-1829

November 8, 2011
On November 8, 2011, author Gordon S. Brown spoke about the Washington Navy Yard under its first commandant, Captain Thomas Tingey, and Tingey's actions during the British invasion of 1814.

Based on his book The Captain Who Burned His Ships, Brown traced the Yard's history during the quarter century of Tingey's command - a period when the area around the Navy Yard was known to many as Navy Yard Hill. Brown noted that at the time, the Yard was a larger employer than the U.S. Congress and a dominant factor in Capitol Hill's social and economic life.

A retired diplomat, Gordon Brown has authored several other books, including Incidental Architect, on William Thornton and his influence on early Washington cultural history. He had a 35-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, where his many postings included service as director of Arab Gulf Affairs in the State Department, political advisor to General Norman Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Gulf War, and ambassador to Mauritania.

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