August 1st, 1801 – Victory for the USS Enterprise!


The third ship to be named USS Enterprise, was a schooner, built by Henry Spencer at Baltimore, Maryland, in 1799, whose command was given to Lieutenant John Shaw. This ship was overhauled and rebuilt several times, effectively changing from a twelve gun schooner to a fourteen gun topsail schooner and eventually to a brig. On August 1st, 1801, the Enterprise engaged in battle with the Tripolitan polacca Tripoli off the coast of modern-day Libya


The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitanian War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two Barbary Wars between the United States and the four North African states known collectively as the Barbary States. Three of these were nominal provinces of the Ottoman Empire, but in practice autonomous: Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. The fourth was the independent Sultanate of Morocco. The cause of the war was pirates from the Barbary states seizing American merchant ships and holding the crews for ransom, unless the U.S. paid tribute to the Barbary rulers. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute. It was the first military action in foreign lands and seas authorized by Congress.

The capture of theTripoli was the Enterprise’s first action. Just west of Malta, she defeated the 14-gun Tripolitan corsair Tripoli, after a fierce but one-sided battle. Unscathed, Enterprise sent the battered pirate into port since the schooner’s orders prohibited taking prizes.


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