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

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“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.”

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Publication Information

  • Available Formats View
  • Creator Richard Zacks
  • Publisher Hachette Books
  • Year 2006
  • ISBN 10 9781401308490
  • ISBN 13 978-1401308490

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date November 29, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 17, 2019