America in the Middle East, 1804
To protect American merchants from capture and captivity in the Barbary States, President Thomas Jefferson sent in the U.S. Navy. This 1846 lithograph, created by the famous firm of Currier & Ives, depicts one of the three attacks on the North African port of Tripoli by Commodore Edward Preble in August 1804. As the USS Constitution and other large warships lob shells into the city, small American gunboats defend the fleet from Tripolitan gunboats. “Our loss in Killed & Wounded has been considerable,” Preble reported, and “the Enemy must have suffered very much … among their Shipping and on shore.” The Granger Collection, New York.