U.S. Sailors Fighting Tripolitans
In 1804, the U.S. Navy was sent to blockade the Barbary coast to prevent Tripoli from extorting protection money from ships seeking safe passage in the Mediterranean. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and his crew boarded a Tripolitan gun boat during an attack on Tripoli by the squadron under Commodore Preble on August 3, 1804. Stephen Decatur is seen in the lower right center, in mortal combat with the Tripolitan captain. Petty Officer Reuben James (his name is tattooed on his arm) bravely steps in front of a sword meant for Decatur.
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