Between 1798 and the Civil War, the U.S. Navy…

Between 1798 and the Civil War, the U.S. Navy lost two-thirds as many officers to dueling as it did to more than 60 years of combat at sea. In the 18th and early 19th Centuries, personal honor could have a very real impact on a man’s life, especially for a naval officer. Most naval officers aspired to use glory and prize money to join the upper classes, but no one would give command of a ship to a cowardly or dishonorable officer. That’s why an insult in the wardroom could quickly turn into a deadly duel – if you were considered meek, your chances of promotion and prosperity could disappear.

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