(1738–96) Revolutionary War naval officer. Saltonstall was born into a prominent Connecticut family that descended from founders of Massachusetts Bay. He went to sea while still young and was a privateer during the French and Indian Wars (1754–63). He enlisted in the Revolutionary cause at the outbreak of fighting and, because of family connections, was commissioned a captain in the Continental navy and given a command. In battle with a British ship, he and the others ships in his squadron allowed the British ship to escape, but Saltonstall was cleared of any wrongdoing in the affair. In 1797 he led a disastrous assault on British ships in Penobscot Bay, Maine; delays among the Continentals had allowed British reinforcements to arrive, and the Americans lost every vessel in the squadron. Saltonstall was blamed for the debacle and dismissed from the navy.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.