Archive for the 'Barbary Wars' Category

May 30

In Respect to Their Memory and Admiration of Their Valor

Monday, May 30, 2016 12:01 AM


Commdore David Porter

The ornate, allegorical Tripoli Monument is a memorial to six U.S. naval officers’ ultimate sacrifice during the Barbary War. On the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, sandwiched between Leahy Hall and Preble Hall, lies an unlikely looking military memorial. Its elaborate, asymmetrical appearance, however, belies its rich martial past. In fact, the white marble statuary is the United States’ oldest military monument, built to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of U.S. naval officers during the Barbary War against Tripoli and originally funded by their fellow officers. The monument was the idea of David Porter, who would rise to become a… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 1

Old Ironsides

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:01 AM



In the U.S. Naval Institute’s archives I recently found a publicity brochure for Old Ironsides tucked away in a box. Premiering in 1926, the film dramatically conveys the story of the USS Constitution at the Battle of Tripoli. Filmed in magnascope, an early version of widescreen, it follows the adventures of a young man—known only as “the boy”—desperate to join the the Constitution‘s crew. Along the way he is shanghaied, finds love, and gets captured by pirates before ultimately joining the heavy frigate for the infamous battle at Tripoli. Enjoy the climatic battle scene here: Profits from the opening… Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 18

The Burning of the USS Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:55 PM


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… 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… 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… Read the rest of this entry »