The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
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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.
Massachusetts) and Thomas Sumter (Republican, South Carolina). The spin wars intensified. Eaton succeeded in convincing several newspapers to run his angry August shipboard letter lampooning Lear and Barron. It appeared April 8, the same day that Bradley introduced a resolution to postpone ratification of the Tripoli treaty till next session of Congress. The senators debated the issue most of the day. Again, Eaton and Bradley lost. The vote came down 10 in favor of delaying, 20 opposed. The tally
but whether there has been a miscarriage of it, or a failure of the ordinary attention and correctness of that officer [Lear] in making his communications, I have thought it due to the Senate, as well as to myself, to explain to them the circumstances which have withheld from their knowledge, as they did from my own, a modification, which, had it been placed in the public treaty, would have been relieved [removed], from objections which candor and good faith cannot but feel in its present form.”
was the holy marabout. Since Bashaw Yussef was convinced the marabout had cast spells to beach the Philadelphia, he rewarded him with a very early glimpse of the new slaves. (Yussef’s faith in the man’s advice ran so deep that he once borrowed pig shit from the American consulate to mix into the royal horses’ feed to try to stop a fatal distemper.) The marabout hobbled up to inspect the Americans; his face showed utter disdain for these Christian prisoners. Were some men being selected to die?
lined with young turbaned Turkish officers in dazzling uniforms, carrying jeweled swords. Eaton described the primary room of the court as surpassing in “magnificence” anything he had ever seen of this kind, that is, more sumptuous than those in Algiers or Tunis. The viceroy invited William Eaton, taking him by the hand, to join him on a large sofa of “embroidered purple and damask cushions.” Also attending were a host of long-bearded advisers comprising the government divan, or council. First
the army had six days’ rations of rice left, and they must hurry, not delay. All other food—biscuits, flour, dried meat, everything—was gone. Hamet blamed the sheiks and other tribal leaders and said they all demanded a chance to rest. “If they prefer famine to fatigue, they might have their choice,” Eaton told Hamet. General Eaton, on the verge of the worst crisis yet, again ordered a stop to the rations of the Moslem troops. For hours, Hamet and the sheiks and the Moslem cavalry argued among