Born on Long Island in 1755, Thomas Truxtun went to sea at the age of 12. Three years later, he was snatched from the deck of a merchant ship and impressed on board a British man-of-war. Truxtun was promised advancement if he would remain in the Royal Navy, but he obtained his release and returned to the merchant service. During the Revolution, he commanded several successful privateers, and when the United States Navy was organized, he was selected as one of its first six captains. He put to sea immediately in the new frigate Constellation to fight the French.