JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1932MARINES ACCOMPLISH MISSION IN TRIPOLI
Derna, Tripoli (JFK+50) Two hundred and eleven years ago today, April 27, 1805, American agent William Eaton* led a small force of United States Marines to the Tripolitan port city of Derna in an attempt to depose the ruling pasha, Yusuf Karamanli**.
Supported by the USS Argus and USS Hornet, the mission was accomplished. Marine commander, Lt. Presley O'Bannon***, would be presented a sword (Marmeluke Sword) by the former pro-American pasha which would serve as a pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers today.
Lt. O'Bannon raised the American Flag over Derna marking the first time the US Flag flew over a conquered foreign city.
The phrase in the Marines Hymn, "to the shores of Tripoli" comes from this mission.
*William Eaton (1764-1811) was born in Woodstock, Connecticut. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1792 & became a captain in the Legion of the United States. WE was appointed Consul at Tunis. WE was also a principal witness in the trial of Aaron Burr.
**Yusuf Karamanli (1766-1838) was born in Tripoli. As pasha, he demanded a payment of $225,000 in tribute from the United States which resulted in President Thomas Jefferson sending the US Navy to blockade Tripoli. YK signed a treaty which ended the War with the Barbary Pirates in 1805.
***Lt. Presley O'Bannon (1776-1850) was born in Virginia. His father served as a captain in the Continental Army. PO joined the USMC in 1801 and served until 1807. After his military service, PO was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature & then the Kentucky State Senate.