Archive for the 'Barbary Wars' Category

Feb 18

The Burning of the USS Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:55 PM
Burning of the Frigate Philadelphia in the Harbor at Tripoli by Edward Moran

Burning of the Frigate Philadelphia in the Harbor at Tripoli by Edward Moran (U.S. Naval Academy Museum)

On the evening of 16th February, 1804, the U.S. frigate Philadelphia was burned in Tripoli Harbor. The frigate had been captured on October 31, 1803 when the ship ran aground on a reef a few miles outside Tripoli. The war with Tripoli had raged since 1801, the entire action of the war mostly amounting to a few naval skirmishes and a lackadaisical blockade of Tripoli. When Commodore Edward Preble arrived to take command of the war, he had hoped to up the tempo of operations against Tripoli and quickly bring the war to a successful conclusion. The capture of the Philadelphia dramatically complicated this objective. The capture meant the Philadelphia’s captain and her crew, 307 Americans, became Tripoli’s prisoners. The capture also diminished American prestige among the Barbary States. Preble decided it was necessary to destroy the captured ship. The mission would be extremely dangerous; Preble expected the destruction of the ship would only come with great loss of life. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. volunteered to command the mission. His success restored American prestige and secured him a reputation of valor that followed him the rest of his life. The burning of the Philadelphia was a heroic episode during the Barbary Wars that made Decatur a hero and greatly increased the reputation of the Navy and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 23

Richard Dale Strikes Barbary Pirates

Monday, July 23, 2012 9:47 AM

July 23, 1801

Commodore Richard Dale blockades Tripoli in America’s first foreign war.

In the December 1937 issue of Proceedings, Lieutenant Felix Howland wrote about the American blockade of Tripoli during 1801 to 1802, examining the popular conception that the blockade had been a success. Howland’s article highlighted the necessity of vigilantly maintaining the blockade, and emphasized the implications of failing to do so:

On May 14, 1801, Tripoli declared war against the United States. Shortly thereafter an American squadron under the command of Commodore Richard Dale appeared in the Mediterranean, and on July 23, 1801, Mr. William Eaton, the Consul at Tunis, taking advantage of the presence of the American ships, declared Tripoli under blockade and notified Commodore Dale of his action. As there has been generally current the idea that this blockade was successfully and vigorously prosecuted thereafter until the end of the war in 1805, it is the purpose of this paper to present some hitherto unpublished documents in the archives of the State Department which show how false is such an opinion and which help to explain why Commodore Richard V. Morris, who succeeded Dale, was subsequently disgraced for his part in the failure of the blockade. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 30

Our Oldest Naval Memorial: The Tripoli Monument

Monday, May 30, 2011 1:00 AM

” ….may the inspiring memorial reign long and peacefully, honoring the ‘heroes that fell before Tripoli’ during that early but very important period of American and naval history”

 

The Tripoli Monument by DodyW. Smith: 

For 112 years, the Tripoli Monument has stood on the grounds of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, but its unique and tumultuous history began long before 1860. Originally erected at the Washington Navy Yard in 1808, it was the Federal capital’s first monument and for a period of 35 years the only monument in the District of Columbia. It witnessed and weathered the War of 1812; the building, burning, and rebuilding of the Capitol, and the slow establishment of the city itself. For 52 years, its existence was plagued with uncertainties and agitations. Read the rest of this entry »