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Lieut John Joliffe Yarnall

  • Birth unknown Virginia, USA
  • Death 1815 At Sea
  • Burial Body lost at sea, Specifically: USS Epervier
  • Memorial ID 94321395

John Joliffe Yarnall was born in Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia). He chose a career of military service, and in his first commission was appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy on 11 January 1809. Between 1809 and 1812, Yarnall cruised the coastal waters of the United States in Chesapeake and Revenge performing duty that was tantamount to blockading his own country to enforce President James Madison's embargo on trade with the European adversaries during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1813, he was transferred to Oliver Hazard Perry's command on the Great Lakes and became the first lieutenant on board Perry's flagship, Lawrence. He participated in the decisive Battle of Lake Erie on 10 September 1813 and, though wounded, refused to leave his post during the engagement. When Perry shifted his flag to Niagara during the battle, Lt. Yarnall assumed command of Lawrence. After the battle, he took the squadron's wounded on board and carried them back to Erie for medical attention. For his performance in the battle, Yarnall earned Perry's commendation as well as a medal expressing the gratitude of Congress and the country.

In the spring of 1815, Yarnall sailed from New York with Stephen Decatur in the frigate Guerriere for the Mediterranean Sea to conduct the Second Barbary War. On 17 June, off the Algerian coast, his ship encountered and captured Mashuda, the flagship of the Algerian Navy. During that engagement, the Yarnall again suffered wounds. Probably because of his wounds, Lt. Yarnall was chosen as the bearer of dispatches from Decatur's squadron to the government in Washington, D.C.. In July 1815, he embarked in the sloop-of-war Epervier for the voyage home. The warship was last seen on 14 July 1815 as she passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic. Presumably, Yarnall and all others on board went down with her during the transatlantic voyage.

Two U.S. Navy ships, USS Yarnall, were named for him.

Officers of the Continental and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-1900about John Yarnall
Name: John Yarnall
Rank Information: Midshipman, Lieutenant
Service Dates: 16 Jan 1809, 24 Jul 1813
Military Branch: US Navy Officers (1798-1900)

HMS Epervier was an 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop of the Royal Navy built by Ross at Rochester, England, and launched on 2 December 1812. The USS Peacock captured her in 1814 and took her into service. The USS Epervier disappeared in 1815 while carrying dispatches reporting the signing of a treaty with the Dey of Algiers.

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  • Created by: Rubbings
  • Added: 27 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 94321395
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut John Joliffe Yarnall (unknown–1815), Find A Grave Memorial no. 94321395, ; Maintained by Rubbings (contributor 47671529) Body lost at sea, who reports a USS Epervier.