1801 - 1805, 1815I am Sergeant Michael Dunn of the 1st Marine Battalion. I fought in the First Barbary War, also known as the Tripolitan War, because we battled pirates off the coast of Tripoli. The Mediterranean coast of North Africa had been a hotbed of piracy for a long time. Our country and many others had to pay bribes to the rulers of the Barbary States of Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli and Tunisia to keep pirates from attacking our ships and ransoming captured sailors. We sent Navy ships in 1801-1804 to fight them and had a few victories, but in 1803 in the Tripoli harbor the Philadelphia was grounded, captured, and used as a gun station against us. The night of February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small contingent of Marines including me in a captured ketch and boarded the ship, overpowered the pirates, and set fire to her, denying her use to the enemy. The British Admiral Horatio Nelson called this "the most bold and daring act for the age." On July 14, 1804, we fought a series of battles. Lieutenant Richard Somers sailed a fire ship packed with explosives to destroy the harbor and the enemy fleet. Unluckily, it blew up too soon killing Somers and his crew. President Thomas Jefferson finally had enough and declared, "MILLIONS FOR DEFENSE BUT NOT ONE CENT FOR TRIBUTE!" so in 1805, we went back to the Barbary Coast "sinking, burning or destroying their ships & vessels wherever we find them." We blockaded Tripoli harbor and General William Eaton and Marine First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon marched me, seven other Marines, and 500 Greek and Berber mercenaries across the desert from Alexandria, Egypt successfully capturing the port of Derna. This was the first time that the United States flag was raised in victory of foreign soil. Broken by the blockade and raids the Dey, the King of this area, signed a peace agreement on June 10, 1805.Our actions proved that the U.S. could fight and win far from home. Now you know why our Marine Corps Hymn has this words- "to the shores of Tripoli."
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 4:12am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 537664 N 3843735|
|Decimal Degrees||34.73501667, -86.58856667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 44.101', W 86° 35.314'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 44' 6.06" N, 86° 35' 18.84" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 115 Patriots Walkway, Huntsville AL 35801, US|
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