So the old song asks, about the good Reuben James. But did you know who Mr. Reuben James was?
In the ensuing skirmish, Reuben James positioned himself between Decatur and an enemy blade, saving Decatur's life. For the rest of the war, James continued to serve Decatur aboard Constitution and Congress. During the War of 1812, he served on the United States, under Decatur, and on the President. On 15 January 1815, however, President was defeated by the British and James was taken prisoner.And that, brothers, is why -- even after the disaster of 1941 -- we still have a ship called the good Reuben James.
After the War of 1812, Reuben James resumed service with Decatur, aboard Guerriere, and participated in the capture of the 46-gun Algerian flagship Mashouda on 17 June 1815. After peace was made with the Barbary states, James continued his service in the Navy until declining health brought about his retirement in January 1836. He died on 3 December 1838 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Washington, D.C.