Congressional Gold Medal Awarded to William Bainbridge
Beginning in 1776, the United States Congress began awarding gold medals to distinguished military figures who served in the American Revolution, and later in the War of 1812 and Mexican-American War, as expressions of appreciation for their achievements and contributions. Since then the scope has broadened to include civilians such as notable public servants, humanitarians, scientists, doctors, and cultural figures.
On March 3, 1813, the U.S. Congress approved the commissioning of this Congressional gold medal to Commodore William Bainbridge for his defeat of the British frigate HMS Java on December 29, 1812. The battle marked USS Constitution’s second victory of the War of 1812, and Bainbridge and his crew were greeted with a hero’s welcome upon their return to Boston.