Images of the Barbary Wars


Among the Clements Library’s tremendous collection of portraiture engravings are images of many of the most important military and political leaders involved the Barbary Wars.

Bainbridge William Bainbridge (1774-1833): Captain of the Philadelphia, who was a captive of the Bashaw of Tripoli from 1803 to 1806, and commander of the second U.S. squadron in the 2nd Barbary War
chauncey Isaac Chauncey (1779-1840): Naval officer in the 1st Barbary War and commander of the Mediterranean Squadron from 1816-1820
Dale Richard Dale (1756-1826): Captained the President, commanded the blockade of Tripoli (1801), and patrolled the Mediterranean during the 1st Barbary War

Stephen Decatur (1779-1820): Naval hero of both the 1st and 2nd Barbary Wars and leader of the mission to destroy the Philadelphia (1804)


gallatin Albert Gallatin (1761-1849): Secretary of the Treasury from 1801 to 1813
Hull Captain Isaac Hull (1773-1843): Commander of the Enterprise and the Argus during the 1st Barbary War, and as Board of Navy Commissioners in Washington, D.C. during the 2nd Barbary War
Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (1843-1826): Third President of the United States and supporter of naval action against the Barbary States
lear Tobias Lear (1762-1816):  Appointed by President Jefferson to consul general to the North African coast (1803), negotiator of the Treaty of Tripoli (1805), and consul to Algiers (1805-1812)
Madison James Madison (1751-1836): Secretary of State under Jefferson, Fourth President of the United States, and supporter of both Barbary Wars
Perry Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819): Commanded the Nautilus during the capture of Derna (1805) and patrolled the Mediterranean in the Java during after the 2nd Barbary War (1816-1817)
Pickering Timothy Pickering (1745-1829): Secretary of State between 1795 and 1800 who made decisions on tribute payments to the Barbary States
Porter David Porter (1780-1843): First lieutenant of the Philadelphia when it was captured in the port of Tripoli (1803), released (1805) captain of the Constitution for a few years after the 1st Barbary War, and served as minister to Algiers (1829-1831)
Preble Edward Preble (1761-1807): Commander of the American Navy during the 1st Barbary war (1800-1805), and helped plan the burning of the Philadelphia
Rodgers John Rodgers (1772-1838): Captain of the John Adams during the 1st Barbary War, Commodore of the Mediterranean Squadron (1805-1806), and head of the Board of Navy Commissioners (1815-1838)
As an Americana Library, the Clements Library has little visual material representing the African side of the conflict.  Additionally, few contemporary portraits of Barbary leaders exist.  The Norton-Strange-Townshend collection, however, contains an early 19th century snuff box with a portrait of an unidentified "Bey of Tunis."


Historical Events
Among the Clements Library’s holdings of graphics depicting historical events are five images portraying some of the most dramatic moments from the Barbary Wars:


A Perspective View of the U.S. Frigate Philadelphia in which is represented her relative position to the Tripolitan Gun-boats when during their furious attack upon her she was unable to get a single gun to bear upon them. Colored engraving, Tripoli, 1803.

Decatur's Conflict with the Algerine at Tripoli. Reuben James Interposing His Head to Save the Life of His Commander [Stephen Decatur]."  Copied from the original engraving by Alonzo Chappel, 1858.

The Attack Made on Tripoli on the 3rd of August 1804, by the American Squadron under Edward Preble: depicting the first attack on Tripoli harbor by the Constitution, the Syren, the Argus, the Enterprise, the Nautilus, and the Vixen (created 1805) under Comodore Edward Preble. Hand-colored engraving by J.B. Guerrazzi.

Blowing up of the Fire Ship Intrepid commanded by Capt. Somers on the night of the 4th Sept 1805, Before the Intrepid had gained her Disdined situation she was suddenly boarded by 100 Tripolines, when the Galland Somers and Heroes of his party Lieut. Wadsworth and Israel and 10 Men observed themselves surrounded by 5 Gun-boats and no prospect of escape, determined at once to prefer Death and the Destruction of the Enemy, to Captivity & a torturing Slavery, put a Match train leading directly to the Magazine, which at once blew the whole into the Air. Engraving.

A View of Commodore Preble's Squadron whilst engaging the Gun-boats and Forts of Tripoli on the 3rd of August 1804 when they captured three of the Tripolitan Gun-boats & greatly damag'd the Bashaw's Fortification…[depicting] Six gun-boats, a Tripolitian Brig, Schooner, Row Galley, Gun-boats, a French Privateer, the Bashaw's Castle, Fort Buchameene, Counsular Flags, Fort Spanish, Fort Turk, Fort Jewish, Fort Redondo or the Admiral's Fort, Mosques. Colored engraving.


Maps of Northern Africa:

The Clements Library Map Division holds several 18th century maps of the Barbary region:


The William Petty Lord Shelburne papers contain a 1766 report entitled Some account of the trade carried on by the Tripoline Moors to the inland parts of Africa, which includes a map of the inland trade of Tripoli: Volume 111, page 243.

Robert McAdams and S. Cock’s 1817 captivity narrative, The Narrative of Robert Adams, an American Sailor, Who Was Wrecked On the Western Coast of Africa, In the Year 1810..., features a map of Africa.

Jacques Nicolas Bellin’s 1764 atlas Le Petit Atlas Maritime; Recueil De Cartes Et Plans Des Quatre Parties Du Monde... contains a map of Algiers.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin’s 1764 atlas Le Petit Atlas Maritime; Recueil De Cartes Et Plans Des Quatre Parties Du Monde... contains a map of the Barbary Coast.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin’s 1764 atlas Le Petit Atlas Maritime; Recueil De Cartes Et Plans Des Quatre Parties Du Monde... contains a map of Tripoli.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin’s 1764 atlas Le Petit Atlas Maritime; Recueil De Cartes Et Plans Des Quatre Parties Du Monde... contains a depiction of Tunis.