Congressional Silver Medal awarded to Alexander Scammel Wadsworth
This silver medal was presented to Lieutenant Alexander Scammel Wadsworth by the U.S. Congress in 1812 for his service aboard USS Constitution during the ship’s battle with HMS Guerriere in August 1812. This event was only one of several that distinguished Wadsworth’s illustrious naval career, which you can read more about here. The edge of the medal is engraved with text that reads “Presented to Lieut. Alexr. S. Wadsworth U.S. Navy by the Congress of the United States.”
Such inscribed Congressional silver medals from the War of 1812 are very rare. 16 Congressional gold medals were awarded, and Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Crowninshield ordered an additional 50 to be struck in silver and presented to commissioned officers who were on board ships during battles. Wadsworth was one of the officers to receive a silver medal.
The obverse of the medal features a portrait of Isaac Hull, who was Commander when Wadsworth was a Lieutenant. In his engraved portrait, Hull looks towards the left as he wears his dress uniform, complete with epaulets. The Latin text surrounding the portrait names Isaac Hull and gives the month and year in which the battle with Guerriere occurred. The reverse of the medal includes a depiction of the battle of Constitution against Guerriere. Guerriere appears to be on the brink of losing, its battered masts just beginning to collapse. The Latin text on the reverse identifies the scene depicted.