Gamaliel Bradford—born at Duxbury, Massachusetts on 4 November 1763—commanded two privateers during the Quasi War with France. In 1799, he was captain of the Mary out of Boston. On 6 March 1799, he encountered two French privateers and, after a sharp two-hour engagement, forced them to shear off.

Later, Bradford assumed command of Industry, also out of Boston, in which ship he made a cruise to the Mediterranean Sea. On 15 June 1800, he put to sea from Naples, Italy, bound for Gibraltar, arriving there on 18 July. Soon after entering the strait, he spied a large French privateer. The Frenchman came into the wind and began chasing Bradford’s ship. The adversary then fired a gun and hoisted French colors. Industry’s stern guns could not reach the Frenchman but some of his were reaching her. As if that did not pose problems enough, three more French privateers soon appeared. Emboldened by their apparent overwhelming superiority, the French foursome closed the American rapidly. Thereupon, Bradford replied with telling effect. About three hours into the fray, Bradford received a wound in his thigh and was removed to his cabin. His brother and First Mate, Gershom Bradford, assumed command for the duration of the fight. After more than two additional hours of combat, the French decided that the cost of Industry’s capture far exceeded her value to them and sheared off. Bradford took his ship into Cadiz, Spain, where the chief surgeon from a British warship examined his wound and recommended amputation. Declining at that time, he took his ship on to Lisbon where the operation was performed.

Little is recorded of Bradford’s later life except that he died at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 7 March 1824.