Via the ICLA: US hero of the 1st Barbary War, Commodore Decatur shows the nerves of steel needed to fight the jihad. Three cheers for Commodore Decaatur, three cheers for the Counterjihad! KGS
Painting titled “Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat” by Dennis Malone Carter. United States Navy Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and his men from USS Enterprise attacking the Barbary pirate ketch Mistico on 23 December 1803.
First Barbary War
“Decatur’s Conflict with the Algerine at Tripoli. Reuben James Interposing His Head to Save the Life of His Commander” Copy of engraving by Alonzo Chappel, 1858.
Given command of the brig Argus in 1803, he took it to the Mediterranean for service in the First Barbary War against Tripoli. Once in the combat zone, Lieutenant Decatur commanded the schooner Enterprise and, on 23 December 1803, captured the enemy ketch Mastico. That vessel, taken into the U.S. Navy under the name Intrepid, was used by Decatur on 16 February 1804 to execute a night raid into Tripoli harbor to destroy the U.S. frigate Philadelphia, which had been captured after running aground at the end of October 1803. Admiral Lord Nelson is said to have called this “the most bold and daring act of the Age”.
This daring and extremely successful operation made Lieutenant Decatur an immediate national hero, a status that was enhanced by his courageous conduct during 3 August 1804 bombardment of Tripoli. In that action, he led his men in hand-to-hand fighting while boarding and capturing an enemy gunboat. Decatur was subsequently promoted to the rank of captain, and over the next eight years had command of several frigates.