The Story of Our Navy
Stevens, William Oliver1918
Soon after the Revolutionary War ended, pirates off the coast of Tripoli threatened American shipping throughout the Mediterranean. In 1801, President Jefferson sent a squadron of four ships to combat pirate harassment. As seen here, the pirate ships sailed very near their target to facilitate short-range firing and boarding—they wanted to take the enemy ship if possible. The USS Enterprise took down the pirate ship’s mizzenmast (the smallest and furthest to the rear) and wounded or killed fifty of its eighty crewmen without suffering a single casualty. This was the only bright spot in a Tripoli campaign riddled with laxity and inconsistent command.
Drawn from the Museum & Library's rare book collection, this special display is part of SEAL The Unspoken Sacrifice—providing a unique glimpse into the history of the U.S. Navy. Featuring authentic texts and compelling illustrations dating to the Navy's beginnings in the late 18th century, these rare books and documents trace the evolution of naval warfare from an era of masts, sails, and pirates to the advent of steam-powered ironclads, and from the UDT Divers of WWII to the Navy SEALs of today.
Anyone can use PMML Rare Book Room resources. Click to make an appontment.