The First Barbary War (1801-1805), or “America’s First War on Terror,” as some refer to it, was a pivotal moment in US history. While both the Navy and Marines participated in the Quasi-War with France, it was the war with the Barbary pirates that cemented both the Marine Corps and the Navy as the proud organizations that they are today. This was the war that produced heroes such as O’Bannon, Decatur, Preble, Porter, Hull, and Somers.
To the Shores of Tripoli follows three fictional Marine privates as they participate in the watershed moments in the war. Private Seth Crocker is an uneducated, underage Marine who fights from the tops of the USS Enterprise and in battles such as the Gunboat Battle off the coast of Tripoli. Private Ichabod Cone, a veteran of the Revolution, is part of the crew of the USS Philadelphia when it is captured and spends most of the war as a slave of the pasha. Private Jacob Brissey is one of the seven Marines, under Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon, who march 600 miles across the desert against tremendous odds to attack and capture the city of Derne, where, for the first time in history, the US flag is raised over foreign soil.
This book is historical fiction, but the events it describes are historical fact. Most of the characters actually existed and fought in the war. Where possible, their actual words are reproduced here. In all other cases, dialogue and characterizations were born in the author’s imagination.
The First Barbary War is considered the birth of the US Navy. It is equally valid to say that the war created the foundation for the Marine Corps as we know it today.