Profiles: Uriah Levy


Commodore Uriah Levy was born in 1792 in Philadelphia, PA. He lied about his age and joined the Navy as a teenager. He fought in the War of 1812 against England and was appointed as a sailing master on the USS Argus in June 1813. Levy and his crew were taken captive by the British and he was imprisoned in the Dartmoor Prison in England for 8 months.

Uriah had six court-martials against him for petty offenses. He was also the man responsible for abolishing flogging in the U.S. Navy. The practice was officially abolished in 1862, the year of Levy's death. In 1836, Levy purchased Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello. Commodore Uriah Levy died on March 22, 1862, and became the first Jew to attain the rank of Commodore. The oldest Jewish chapel in the Navy, in Norfolk, VA, is named in his honor.


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