Billy Budd is a simple american sailor who was impressed to serve aboard a british war-ship during the Napoleonic wars. It was such impression that lead to the American entering the war on the French side and starting what is known as the war of 1812.
Billy Budd simple ways charm the captain and crew of the war-ship but he draw the spite of the ship's master at arms. In a fallacious accusation of treason Billy in a fit of anger strikes the master at arms and kills him with a single blow.
The captain much against his wishes is forced to execute Billy. The crew revolts but just then a french battle ship appears and the men instead fight the french in honour of Billy.