The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805

The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805

Richard Zacks

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 140130849X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A real-life thriller, now in paperback--the true story of the unheralded American who brought the Barbary Pirates to their knees

In an attempt to stop the legendary Barbary Pirates of North Africa from hijacking American ships, William Eaton set out on a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. The operation was sanctioned by President Thomas Jefferson, who at the last moment grew wary of "intermeddling" in a foreign government and sent Eaton off without proper national support. Short on supplies, given very little money and only a few men, Eaton and his mission seemed doomed from the start. He triumphed against all odds, recruited a band of European mercenaries in Alexandria, and led them on a march across the Libyan Desert. Once in Tripoli, the ragtag army defeated the local troops and successfully captured Derne, laying the groundwork for the demise of the Barbary Pirates. Now, Richard Zacks brings this important story of America's first overseas covert op to life.














flowed from his lips. And in the third article, he found his covert mission turned on its head. After bringing Hamet to the eastern province of Tripoli, he must now try to make the legitimate ruler disappear. “The Americans will use all means in their power to persuade the Brother of the said Bashaw, who has co-operated with them at Derne &c to withdraw from the Territory of the said Bashaw of Tripoli; but they will not use any force or improper means to effect that object; and in case he should

belowdeck into the holds for the 160-mile voyage. The prisoners wore only what they had slipped into at bedtime on that seemingly unimportant September night, which would turn out to be their last night of freedom for half a decade. This was life on a Mediterranean island, circa 1798, in the age of Napoleon and Nelson and the waning days of the Barbary corsairs. The Bey of Tunis, the country’s ruler, had commissioned these seven ships and a thousand men to attack San Pietro. To the Bey, they

denomination . . .” James Cathcart (Leghorn) to secretary of state, May 5, 1803. Consular Letters, Tripoli. National Archives. Microfilm M466, Roll 2. 302. “No Consular present is mentioned in the Treaty . . .” Tobias Lear (aboard USS Constitution in Syracuse harbor) to secretary of state, July 5, 1805, BW VI, pp. 159-162. 303. “In case of future war . . . , captives on each side . . .” Convention between United States and Hamet Caramanly, February 23, 1805. “Treaties and other International

Jefferson Papers at Library of Congress. CHAPTER 26. BURR, BOTTLE, AND SIX FEET UNDER 347. “I am Eaton no more” Eaton (Brimfield) to Humbert, January 15, 1810, quoted in LIFE, p. 425. 347. “You will not take it unkind . . .” Darius Munger (South Brimfield) to Eaton, May 28, 1806, WE-HL, Reel 2. 347. “Tea parties, turkey suppers, apple bees, husking bees, . . .” Quoted in “Historical Celebration of the Town of Brimfield” by Reverend Charles Hyde (Springfield, 1879). 348. “The Great I” as in

hoped for . . . an Arab messenger galloping to catch up with him. Sheik Tayyib agreed that the camel caravan would resume. The army—despite their afternoon start—accomplished twelve miles in the right direction that day, passing through low sand valleys and then twenty miles the next day through rocky desert plains. They glimpsed the ruins of a castle, an odd reminder that the region had once thrived under earlier rulers. No one knew the name of the castle. Eaton guessed by the architecture that

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