Barbary Wars Timeline

This timeline is a work in progress, but focuses on the principal characters, events, and context for the Barbary Wars, 1801 – 1805.


Sept. 19

Tobias Lear V born on Hunking St., Porstmouth, NH


Feb. 23

William Eaton born in Woodstock, CT.


Dec. 14-15

John Langdon leads raids on Fort William and Mary. Langdon and Lear senior were cousins.

Nathan Eaton, schoolmaster and farmer, moves family from Woodstock to Mansfield, CT.


King George proclaims colonies in a state of rebellion and declares war.


Lear enters Governor Dummer school, aged 15

Harvard votes on Aug. 11 2 mos. before battle of Saratoga to only provide bread, milk, and biscuit for breakfast. If students wanted coffee, tea, or chocolate, they had to pay for and procure it themselves. Part of the cutbacks during war. Beer was also furnished to the students from the college brew house.

John Paul Jones arrives in Portsmouth to take command of the Ranger


Lear enters Harvard College, age 17. Harvard records show occasional “punished for neglect in reciting” a few times, “tarrying in vacation”, “punished for taking an entertainment”.


Eaton runs away from home (Mansfield, CT.) to join American Revolution. Musters out as sergeant at end of war.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln gets honorary degree from Harvard.


Tobias Lear IV dies


American Revolution ends with signing of Treaty of Paris, Sept. 3. Barbary pirates begin attacks on US ships, which are now no longer protected by the British.

Lear graduates from Harvard but without master’s degree (which students had to pay for). Travels to England and France to round out his education. Becomes fluent in French.


Lear returns to Portsmouth.

Washington writes Gen. Lincoln asking for recommendation for a secretary. Lincoln asks son, who was classmate of Lear’s. After negotiations, Lear joins Washington as secretary for $200/yr.

Algiers captures the Betsey.


Eaton becomes a teacher at school in Windham, NH.


Eaton enrolls in Dartmouth.

First treaty with Barbary signed, with Morocco. Present of $10,000 and further $10k needed following year when new emperor comes on scene.


Lear helps Washington prepare for Philadelphia congress. Washington tries to build support for the constitution.

Eaton returns to Dartmouth to finish education after he has the money.


Apr. 14

Washington informed that he has been elected president when Charles Thompson delivered the message to Mt. Vernon.

Lear moves to New York ahead of Washington to prepare for president’s arrival

Lear accompanies Washington on his tour of New England following the end of the First Congress. In Portsmouth, pays a call on Lear’s mother.


Eaton graduates from Dartmouth.

Yusuf Qaramanli murders his oldest brother in his mother’s harem after luring him there under the pretext of forging an alliance. He then makes peace with next oldest brother, Hamet.

Capital moves to Philadelphia but land broken in Washington for site of future capital.

Lear marries childhood sweetheart, Polly Long


Yusuf lays siege to Tripoli in short-lived effort to pressure Hamet to give up the throne. Civil strife rakes city. Yusuf gives up.

Mar. 11

Polly Lear gives birth to Benjamin Lincoln Lear.

Nov. 4

Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Claire defeated by Little Turtle and Miami Indians


Washington calls on Gen. Anthony Wayne to build and command a new army.


Eaton joins 4th regiment of infantry under General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s expedition against Indians in Ohio as a captain.



General Wayne’s forces push into Ohio


Ali Burghol, a Turkish corsair, arrives in Tripoli. Armed with a firman (decree) from the Sultan and supported by about 400 Greek and Turkish mercenaries, Ali Burghol takes the city without firing a shot. The ruling pasha, Ali, flees with his son, Hamet, and seeks refuge on the Tunisian island of Jerba. His other son, Yusuf, stays to besiege Ali Burghol, for two months. When Ali Burghol attacks Jerba, the Bey of Tunis raises an army of 20,000 soldiers, which march on Tripoli with Yusuf and Ahmed at its head. Having looted the city and killed many of the leading citizens, Ali Burghol departs. Yusuf gets the credit for driving out the Turks because he stayed and fought.


Eaton marries Eliza Danielson, widow of General Timothy Danielson


Eaton joins his company and eventually receives instructions to join Wayne in Pittsburgh.

Washington unanimously elected to second term.

Lear leaves Washington to strike out on his own. Forms Lear & Co. with Tristram Dalton, former senator from Massachusetts, and James Greenleaf, a land speculator. Dalton had money, Greenleaf was the businessman, Lear had the government contacts.

Lear travels to Europe to get a loan (secured in Amsterdam at 6%), sell plots of land, and drum up business. Not successful.

Polly (age 23) dies of Yellow Fever epidemic that swept through Philadelphia.

Ali Karamanli and family flee to Tunis after revolution and attacks by Turks in Tripoli.


June 11

While Hamet is out of the city, Yusuf closes the gates and declares himself pasha. Hamet can find no support and flees to Derna.


Eaton helps defend Fort Recovery from Indian attack, which is repelled.

Aug. 20

Gen. Wayne defeats Miami at Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Dec. 1

Eaton heads to Georgia under orders to join 3rd Regiment commanded by Col. Henry Gaither.


Eaton is court-martialed on charges of insubordination by Lt. Gen. Henry Gaither, under whom Eaton is serving in Georgia. Eaton convinces mentor, Sec. of War Timothy Pickering, that Gaither is out to get him because he won’t join him in a land speculation scheme. The charges against Eaton are thrown out.

Lear marries Frances Bassett Washington, “Fanny”, Martha Washington’s niece. She was a recent widow of George Augustine Washington.

Lear becomes president of Potomack Company.


Eaton resigns from the army.

Fanny Lear dies of tuberculosis.

Greenleaf’s speculation collapses. He’d bought lots in Washington but hadn’t been able to sell them off or repay his debts. Lear & Co. prospering still through trade though not investments.

Washington’s presidency ends and he moves back to Mt. Vernon.



Pasha of Tripoli signs treaty with US

François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, a slave, leads a slave rebellion and secures the colony of St. Domingue.


Eaton is appointed as American consult to Tunis by friend Timothy Pickering, Secretary of State. Eaton’s main job is to convince the bey of Tunis that trading with US would be better and more profitable than piracy.


Quasi-War begins with France (ends in 1800).

Lear & Co. is failing. Goods not selling, upriver commerce not materializing. And tensions with France hurt trade.

Adams appoints Washington to command the American army. Washington makes Lear chief aide and gives him the rank of colonel.

July 2

Napoleon lands in Alexandria to begin campaign in Egypt with aim of cutting British from source of wealth in India

July 21

Napoleon defeats Mameluke armies at Battle of Pyramids.

Aug. 1 – 2

Britain’s Admiral Horatio Nelson defeats French navy at Battle of Nile. Napoleon is cut off from France.


John Leander Cathcart and William Eaton head to Barbary on brig Sophia escorted by the Hero, loaded with naval stores, brig called Hassan Baschaw with 8 6-pounders, the schooner Skjöldabrand, and the El Eisha to assume posts as consuls of Tripoli and Tunis correspondingly.


Feb. 9

Eaton and Cathcart reach Algiers, where George O’Brien (himself a former captive) is consul. Eaton participated in meeting with Dey.

Mar. 2

Eaton and Cathcart embark for Tunis.

Mar. 15

Eaton and Cathcart arrive in Tunis after hit with stormy weather.

Mar. 18

Napoleon besieges fortress at Acre.

Apr. 2

Cathcart proceeds to Tripoli.

May 21

Napoleon abandons siege at Acre.

Aug. 22

Napoleon abandons his army and returns to France.

Dec. 14

Washington dies at age 67 (or 68?). Lear captures last statement. He wills Lear a life tenancy of Walnut Hill Farm and asks Lear to arrange his papers.

Agreement with Tripoli to pay $18,000/year not to have American ships attacked. Similar treaties with Morocco, Algiers and Tunis.

Eaton arrives in Tunis laden with gifts.


Mar. 20

General Kleber defeats Turks at Heliopolis, Egypt.

Apr. 27

General Kleber retakes Cairo.

May 25

Yusuf writes letter to president complaining and demanding better treatment in flowery but distinct wording. Pasha demands more tribute of US. Yusuf agrees to wait for reply but threatens war if not satisfied.

June 14

General Kleber assassinated.


American brig Catherine robbed while in Tripoli port. Yusuf orders stores returned but only portion is.

American payments to Tunis are late. Bey of Tunis threatens to put Eaton in chains if payments do not arrive.

Lear writes Hamilton detailing that he has no need to worry about surfacing of embarrassing papers.

Oct. 1

France and Spain sign secret Treaty of Ildefonso, in which Spain returns colonial territories in Louisiana to the French. Boundaries, however, are not settled, leading to later disputes between Spain and France following the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana territories still remain under Spanish control until Nov. 30, 1803, when power is transferred to France.


Lear delivers Washington’s papers to Chief Justice John Marshall. Many gaps exist in his letters.

Capital moves from Philadelphia to Washington.


Feb. 9

Treaty of Lunéville, between France and Austria.

Feb 17

Thomas Jefferson assumes presidency.

Mar. 8

British troops under General Abercromby land at Aboukir.

Mar. 21

British General Abercromby defeats the French army in Egypt at Alexandria.

Apr. 2

British navy attacks Danish navy in Copenhagen Roads.

May 10

Cathcart informed that Yusuf had decided to declare war.

May 14

US refuses to succumb to further demands by Tripolitan pasha. Pasha declares war, chops down US flagpole at US consulate.

May 15

Unaware of Yusuf Pasha’s declaration of war, Jefferson agrees to send a naval squadron to Tripoli to blockade the port and show colors. Jefferson authorizes squadron “chastise their insolence by sinking, burning or destroying their ships and vessels wherever you shall find them” if it discovers any attacks on US shipping.

May 21

Jefferson sends letter to Yusuf reassuring him of desire for peace but informing him also that he was sending a “squadron of observation” into the Mediterranean.

June 1

Lear gets his commission as consul general to Santo Domingo and soon departs aboard the Neptune with his son, Lincoln.

June 2

Fleet under Captain Richard Dale sets sail for the Mediterranean from Hampton Bay

June 15

Cathcart, now in Leghorn, suggests idea of using Hamet to overthrow Yusuf in a letter to Eaton.

June 18

Presley O’Bannon is appointed 2nd lt. of Marines.

July 2

US squadron under Commodore Dale arrives in Mediterranean.

July 7

Toussaint Louverture (“Toussaint” means “awakening of all saints” or “all souls rising”) drafts a committee that writes a constitution for the united and free island of Saint-Domingue. Article XIII of the constitution was abolition of slavery, which worried Jefferson and Lear (as slave owners; Lear had slaves in Saint-Domingue and back at Walnut Tree Farm despite protestations against slavery) in particular. Background: Toussaint had been born a slave, but educated and freed by master at 33. Member of Masonic Lodge of Saint Domingue. In 1793, Toussaint adopted Louverture as his nickname and signed docs that way. Raised and led guerilla army. Expelled British and Spanish troops. “Louverture” means “Opening”, ie. new beginning.

Toussaint complains that L’s credentials weren’t correct and that TJ hadn’t sent him a letter as a head of state. TJ for his part didn’t want to offend the French, whose colony it had been.

July 18

Dale arrives in Tunis and delivers instructions to Eaton.

July 24

Dale arrives off Tripoli, where Danish consul Nissen sends note that Yusuf wished to discuss a treaty. No agreement. Dale institutes blockade.

Aug. 1

USS Enterprise, a schooner, fights and defeats the 14-gun Tripoli.

Aug. 30

Dale back off Tripoli after sailing to Malta. Dale negotiates terms of war, such as terms of prisoner exchange.

Sept. 3

Dale abandons Tripoli to get more stores and tend to health of his men.

Sept. 22

French under General Menou surrender to British in Egypt.


Preliminary Articles of Peace signed in London between France and Britain. Leads to speculation that France now unencumbered so could focus on St. Domingue, in turn hurting trade in the latter.

Oct. 22

Insurrection in Saint-Domingue to kill all whites, which Toussaint and his general Henri Christophe put down. Insurgents massacred. L in letter to Gen. Lincoln: “This has given a real shock to all business here, and it will be some time before it will recover and resume its activity. Terror & dismay was spread everywhere to a degree exceeding belief. … My attention to others prevented my thinking of myself; but I assure you my dear General, I would not for a trifle, pass a few days as I have the last. … Our son Benj behaved like a hero. Not a symptom of fear appeared in him.”

Oct. 23

England and Denmark sign peace agreement.


Dale sails to US to get instructions.


Feb. 3

Gen. LeClerc’s army arrives by ship: 20,00 troops on 25 ships.

Feb. 4

Gen. Christophe torches Cape Francis, making good his threat against French if they were to make any overt action against the island. Almost 2000 homes destroyed. Whites sought refuge on ships.

Feb. 5

French troops invade. Toussaint flees to mountains to continue guerrilla war.

Feb. 6

Congress passes An Act for the Protection of the Commerce and Seamen of the United States Against the Tripolitan Cruisers.

Feb. 28

Lear receives letter from Madison telling him not to offend French in any way since negotiating purchase of New Orleans.

Mar. 25

France, Batavian Republic, and Spain on the one side and Britain on the other signed Treaty of Amiens. 14 month peace from Napoleonic wars.


Hamet approaches Eaton, telling him that Yusuf has offered him the governorship of Derna. Eaton convinces Eaton that it’s not a good idea. Puts him on the Gloria, and takes him to Malta.

Apr 20

Lear leaves St. Domingue

Apr. 27

Commodore Morris (with his wife, the “Commodoress”), sets sail from US to assume command of the Mediterranean fleet.

May 6

Lear arrives in Norfolk. Makes report then heads to Walnut Hill Farm for period of seclusion through rest of the year. L sends memorial to Congress asking for reimbursement of $6,586 to cover his losses while in his post. Describes self as “General Commercial agent of the United States” rather than consul.

May 20

3 Tripolitan cruisers evade the US blockade

May 25

Commodore Morris arrives in Mediterranean at the head of a strengthened squadron.

May 28

Captain Murray arrives in Tunis, with late payments and gifts for the bey. The bey is pleased but demands an armed corvette or brig. Eaton is outraged. Captain Murray makes plain to Eaton he will have nothing to do with his Hamet scheme.

June 17

The Emperor of Morocco declares war on U.S. Negotiations lead to peace again in August.

June 25

France and Ottoman Empire sign Treaty of al-Arish, returning Egypt to Ottomans.

June 26

Brig USS Franklin is captured by Tripolitan pirates and brought into Algiers as a prize. Five Americans are among the crew. American consul O’Brien tries to ransom them, but the prisoners are whisked away to Bizerte, 40 miles NE of Tunis. Eaton tries to gain their freedom but they are taken to Tripoli and paraded through the streets in chains.

Aug. 6

Eaton gets word that Hamet is wavering in Malta. He sends a letter to the former pasha warning of Yusuf’s Derna plan. He also includes $2,000.

Aug. 22

Jefferson’s Secretary of State James Madison sends letter to the American consul in Algiers, Leander Cathcart, and Eaton giving support for the plan to provide support for Hamet to reclaim his throne from Yusuf.


Commodore Morris reviews the Hamet plan in Malta and shoots it down as too risky and a drain on his resources. He interprets his orders from Washington D.C. as not binding him to supporting Hamet win back his throne in Tripoli. Morris informs Hamet that perhaps in June, he would bring his squadron to Tripoli. Hamet loses faith in American help.

Oct. or Dec.

Hamet applies for a passport from Capt. Murray and sails to Derna. Does not come as governor, but in his own right. He is greeted with acclaim.

Nov. 9

Eaton sends dispatch to Department of State, stating he needs $23,000 to cover expenses in connection with Hamet.

Dec. 20

Eaton, frustrated with an ineffectual US navy and Commodore Morris’ refusal to support the Hamet plan, writes Madison with request to be relieved.


Enlarged squadron sent to Mediterranean under Commodore Edward Preble

Jan. 17

USS Enterprise captures imperial Algerian brig, Paulina. Bey claims cargo is his, angrily calls in Eaton and threatens war.

Jan. 20

Emboldened by his warm reception in Derna, Hamet writes Jefferson a letter saying that with US Navy support, he could march on Tripoli with “100,000” men.

Jan. 22

Eaton writes Cathcart for help in paying off his debts (to Hadgi Unis Ben Unis). Eaton owes $34,000 Spanish dollars ($19,000 US). Part of that, 17,000 piastres ($6,000), he paid for the release of a Sardinian hostage – Countess Maria Anne Porcile, who had been promised to the harem of the Tunisian prime minister before Eaton interceded.

Jan. 30

Commodore Morris dispatches the Enterprise to Tunis.

Feb. 18

House Claims Committee rejects L’s reimbursement, not wanting to set a precedent.

Feb. 22

Three US frigates and the Enterprise moor in Tunis’ bay. Eaton is bolstered by the presence of armed ships. Morris is received by bey. They haggle over the Tunisian ship Paulina and Morris acquiesces to restitution.

Mar. 4

Morris attempts to leave the Tunisian port but is arrested, along with Captain John Rodgers and Cathcart. The bey demands that they pay off Eaton’s debts. Morris and Rodgers blames Eaton. Bey demands Eaton be removed.

Mar. 5

Eaton sells his ship, Gloria, for $12,000 Spanish dollars and Morris promises to pay balance. Eaton is furious with what he sees as the commodore’s meek submission despite having American warships in the port.

Mar. 10

Squadron leaves Tunis. Eaton leaves too, heading for Washington. At Gibraltar, Eaton switches to USS Perseverance and sails to Boston.


Jefferson, learning of the Treaty of Ildefonso, dispatches Monroe and Livingston to Paris to try to buy Louisiana.

May 2

Louisiana Purchase completed when Napoleon decides to invade Britain and acknowledges that defeats in Haiti make dreams of an American empire impractical. Napoleon: “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.”

May 12

John Adams under Captain Rodgers defeats frigate Meshouda off Tripoli

May 16

Britain declares war on France.

May 22

Party of Americans pursues Tripolitan merchantmen to shore and lands to burn her, but they are driven off.

May 26

The USS Adams joins fleet off Tripoli

May 27

General action in Tripoli. Ships caught in harbor and escape destruction by luck. USS Adams fires through USS John Adams.

May 29

Yusuf opens peace negotiations.

June 1

USS Adams attacks 10 small craft unloading wheat in a bay 35 miles NW of Tripoli

June 7

Morris lands in Tripoli to treaty with Yusuf. Yusuf asks for $200k Spanish dollars. Morris offers $15k. Negotiations break down.

June 10

Official appointment of Lear as Consul General to the Barbary States with salary of $4000/yr plus $4000 for expenses.

Lear marries Frances Dandridge Henley, another niece of Martha Washington. “Fanny”, shortly afterwards.

Lear charges Washington family $1000 for work on Martha W’s estate. Leads to acrimony.

June 18

Morris leaves Tripoli for Malta though leaves blockade in place.

June 21

John Adams attacks 22-gun ship anchored off shore. Ship blows up.

June 30

Lear inducted into Masonic Lodge.

July 14

Louisiana Purchase Treaty arrives in US.

July 16

Madison informs Cathcart of L’s role taking over O’Brien as consul general and take over from him (Cathcart) negotiations with Yusuf. He was fired.

August 13

Lear writes Chief Justice Marshall refuting case that he had suppressed part of W’s diaries/papers to curry favor with TJ.

Lear and wife leave aboard Constitution with Preble. Had planned to leave on Philadelphia, stroke of luck that didn’t.

August 31

Morris is recalled and returns to US on Adams. O’Bannon returns to US.

Sept. 16

Lear accompanies Preble to Tangiers for show of force after reports Emperor of Morocco had allowed attacks on American shipping.

Hamet flees Derne to Egypt when threatened by Yusuf.

Oct. 6

Sultan of Morocco signs peace after Preble cruises off Moroccan shore and blockades port of Tangiers, his first act on assuming command of Mediterranean squadron.

Oct. 20

44-gun frigate USS Philadelphia arrives off coast of Tripoli to begin blockade.

Oct. 31

The USS Philadelphia runs aground after trying to chase down a corsair sneaking into Tripoli’s harbor. Efforts to dislodge the ship are unsuccessful. Surrounded by Tunisian ships, Captain William Bainbridge and 307 crew were imprisoned. Pasha demanded $200,000 for their release.

Nov. 1

Tripolitans float Philadelphia from shoals and bring her into harbor.


O’Bannon is assigned to duty in at Marine barracks, Washington D.C. He then ships out 7 months later, first aboard the USS President, then the USS Constitution, then the USS Argus.

Nov. 20

Preble drops Lear and wife off in Algiers.

Nov. 21

Marshall replies to Lear via Gen. Lincoln saying he hadn’t meant to impugn L. “I have never been desirous of incriminating against Mr. Lear.” Mentions the gaps and doesn’t understand – great astonishment.

Nov. 30

Spain transfers Louisiana territories to France.

Dec. 15

Lear learns of Philadelphia. He authorizes George Davis, Charge d’affairs in Tunis, to get $10k for relief of crew.


Eaton prosecutes Hamet idea in US. Jefferson signs off and appoints him Navy Agent to the Barbary States.

Feb. 16

Lt. Stephen Decatur leads 74 volunteers to burn the Philadelphia. Decatur’s forces don’t lose a single man.


O’Bannon sets sail on the USS President.

May 18

Napoleon proclaims himself emperor.

May 26

Eaton gets commission as naval agent. Departs on President as well with new commodore, Samuel Barron. E was to report to Barron directly. Had salary of $1200 per year and a rank of lieutenant.

Lewis and Clark set out on expedition

June 17

George Davis expelled from Tunis by bey, who rattling saber as Americans have troubles with Tripoli.

End of June

Eaton leaves with Barron on the John Adams.


Burr kills Hamilton in duel.

July 21

Preble arrives off Tripoli with squadron at full strength (approx. 1000 men).

Aug. 3

Preble launches attack on Tripoli. Bombards city for 4 days. French vessel approaches saying pasha ready to negotiate and accept “reasonable terms”. Preble skeptical so keeps up attack.

Aug. 5

John Adams with Eaton on board arrives off Tripoli.

Aug. 9

Preble gets word that Barron has arrived and taken over as commodore. Reorganizes forces to ready another attack, which Barron does not authorize fearing it is too late in the season. Belief that with renewed attacks in summer of 1805, pasha would cave.

Lear leaves with wife on President to Malta via Syracuse to be ready for negotiations.

Aug. 10

Yusuf offers $500 per hostage to end war. Preble rejects the offer.

Aug. 28

Preble renews attack on Tripoli.

Sept. 4

Intrepid sent into Tripoli port as fire ship. Blown up before it arrives on target.

Sept. 11

Barron arrives on President off Tripoli and relieves Preble of command. Barron is ill and abandons Tripoli, though keeps blockade in place.

Oct. 7

L and wife arrive in Malta.


Jefferson is re-elected president

Nov. 8

Jefferson makes address to congress – big deal about Louisiana; Tripoli is naval affair; Bey of Tunis making threatening gestures.

Nov. 26 (or 25?)

Eaton lands at Alexandria aboard the Argus.

Dec. 2

Napoleon is crowned emperor.

Dec. 7

Eaton’s party approaches Cairo.


L joins fleet readying for expedition against Tripoli

Jan. 3

Hamet responds to Eaton’s notice that he will come to meet the American in Cairo.

Jan. 19

Eaton abandons Cairo after he gets wind of French rumors that the Americans are really British spies. Hamet changes rendez-vous point.

Mar. 4

Jefferson inaugurated

Eaton and Hamet sign convention of 14 articles, including one making Eaton general of the expedition and one promising to put Hamet back on the throne. Secret clause includes surrender of Yusuf Karamanli and Murad Reis to Americans as hostages.

Mar. 5

Eaton completes negotiations with Sheikh el-Tayib, a Bedouin, for provision of 190 camels for the march.

Mar. 8

Eaton and troops set out across the Libyan desert, make 15 miles on their first day.

Mar. 9

Army remains in camp as el-Tayib demands pay in advance.

Mar. 10

Eaton, frustrated with el-Tayib’s duplicity and Hamet’s lack of support, promises to take Christians and abandon expedition; el-Tayib recants and march continues.

Mar. 11

Army marches 20 miles

Mar. 12

Army marches 21 miles

Mar. 13

Army covers 20 miles through low valleys and rocky desert plains. Report that Derna overthrew Yusuf’s men and waiting for Hamet. Gunfire in celebration interpreted as attack at back of column and Arabs close in on Greeks.

Mar. 14

E marches 26 miles, passing ancient fortification. They cross a ridge divides Egypt and Libya.

L is on Argus with Hull and Stephen Decatur.

Mar. 15

They march 25 miles, camp in ravine. Musket, bayonet, cartouche box and cartridge stolen as well as all provisions of cheese. Daily losses of provisions and barley. Rain.

Mar. 16

High winds, thunder, incessant rain. Stay in camp. Flash flood hits camp, move to higher ground.

Mar. 17

Rainy. Eaton makes promises of payment to get march going.

Mar. 18

Army makes 15 miles, arrived at castle Mascorah (?). Plain valley, stony desert, white cliffs cut view to sea. Ruins, ancient mansion and pleasure house, cultivation. Sheikh held castle with few families. Castle: square 150 ft. 11 ft. high, loop holes. Cattle, sheep, goats, chicken, butter in skins, dates and milk – too expensive. Eaton learns Hamet promised that Arabs only to go this far. Hamet convinces Eaton to pay to continue. Eaton is so low on funds he has to take up a collection from his officers and gathers $673, which pays to Arabs. Eaton has only 3 Venetian sequins left over.

Mar. 19

Hamet pays off Arabs with promise to march 2 more days. That night, all but 40 desert. Others refuse to proceed.

Mar. 20

Rest of camels desert as well. El- Tayib discovered at head of plot. He wants assurance that promised American ship is in fact in Bomba. Report arrives from Mecca pilgrim of Hassan’s force of 800 cavalry and numerous foot. Hamet wants to abandon mission. Loud council of war among Hamet’s officers, to which Eaton is not invited. Eaton takes fortified position with Christians and threatens to march on his own, while waits for information about ship in Bomba.

Mar. 21

50 camels return and agree to march 2 days. They arrive at an elevated stony plain, after marching 13 miles.

Barron replies to E’s dispatches congratulating him on his successes and promising assistance. He also sends letter to Hamet assuring him of American support for the plan to take Derna.

Mar. 22

Army marches 12-22 miles. Arrive at camp of 4,000 Bedouin from the Eued Ali tribe. Vast herds of horses, camels, cattle. First Christians they had ever seen, laugh of their dress. Exchange rice for produce since they have no more funds. Find dates. Courier is detached to find Hull.

Mar. 23

Stay in camp. 80 mounted warriors join. Provisions reduced to hard bread and barley.

Mar. 24

Eaton bargains for 90 camels at $11 a head to go to Bomba, with promise of pay.

Lear makes entry in diary telling how much he disapproves of Eaton and his plan.

Mar. 25

47 tents join expedition, including 150 warriors. Curious about Christian biscuits. Never seen bread. Woman offers daughter to interpreter for sack of rice, which Eaton forbids.

Mar. 26

Courier arrives with more news of Hassan’s men – 500 cavalry plus numerous foot soldiers said to be few days from Derna. Hesitation again. Camel drivers flee. Eaton suspends rations again until caravan returns. El-Tayib says he will not proceed without intelligence of US navy at Bomba. Eaton explodes at el-Tayib.

Mar. 27

El-Tayib excites an insurrection. Hamet needs him as an ally and is worried he will use influence against mission but Eaton refuses to deal with him any more. Eaton starts march, considers attacking el-Tayib, who later sends message that he will join if Eaton stops. El-T says he has great influence over his people. The army only covers 5 miles.

Mar. 28

Hamet takes horses from E’s officers and gives to his footmen. Hamet threatens to march back. Eaton marches ahead and Hamet joins. In camp, after marching 12.5 miles, Eaton discovers that the Arabs who joined on 25th and who thought to be following had been dissuaded by el-Tayib. Hamet Gurgies sets off to get them to return. Camp has castle. E. conversation about Islam, “American” Christianity, freedom of worship, etc. Arabs lament that so good a man must go to hell.

Mar. 29

Army stays in camp to wait for Gurgies. Are at castle, 10 ft. high walls, clay, 100 ft. square. Expensive foods, bartered with rice. Vast, arable land, good water. Gurgies appears with Arabs. Eaton issues two-thousand word proclamation on history of U.S., its aims, denounces Yusuf, and champions Hamet. Proclamation brings in no recruits.

Mar. 30

Eaton marches with Arabs to follow. Dispute breaks out between el-T. and Sheikh Mohammad concerning payment of $1500. El-Tayib has kept some of the payment meant for others for himself. Mohammad refuses to proceed. Hamet urges them to stay with the army. Eaton has marched 15 miles by the time word of dispute arrives from Hamet. Eaton backtracks 3 miles to well and camps. Needs Arabs. Hamet returns to Arabs hoping to reconcile them. Clothing and personal articles are stolen. Eaton notes Arabs as having “Savage independence, incorrigible obstinacy to discipline, adherence to laws of hospitality, scrupulous devotion.”

Mar. 31

Army remains in camp. Rain and thunder and wind.

Apr. 1

El-Tayib appears and demands rations. Eaton refuses. Argument about what had been promised vs. delivered. El-Tayib is down to just 28 men. El-T threatens to attack to get rations – “Remember, you are in a desert and a country not your own.” Eaton threatens to execute him is he acts as a traitor. El-Tayib storms out, then tries to reconcile and makes promises of fidelity.

Apr. 2

Hamet returns with Mohmmad and all sheikhs he had overtaken on long journey. 6-700 fighting men now, excluding accompanying families.

Apr. 3

They march 10 miles then Arabs stop, insisting on getting dates from interior. Eaton agrees as long as they promise to continue day after. They agree to a compromise – the bulk of the army will continue ahead while a small party will find dates then rejoin the main army. Celebration of a marriage by Arabs at camp.

Apr. 4

They march 18 miles. Selim Comb chases down wild cat with his gray hound. They pass more ruins, evidence of massive civilization.

Apr. 5

Army makes 12 miles and camp at an ancient castle, which is large and well constructed. Cement resembles that used in Carthage. Graves of pilgrims. Officer presents Eaton with 2 copper Greek coins. Large mountain is visible to the west. 150 miles from Derna.

Apr. 6

Bedouin steal 6 horses overnight. Detachment sent to get them back. Horses have not drunk for 42 hours when take break at fetid well. Army covers 17 miles. No water that night.

Apr. 7

Army marches 18 miles and scales mountain at Sollum. No water again but good feed for horses.

Apr. 8

Army descends other side of mountain. Find water at 9 am. Eaton scouts ahead to continue march but Hamet calls for camp to be pitched. Hamet wants to dispatch courier to Bomba. Eaton urges speed since they only have six days of rice left. In frustration, Eaton orders rations stopped. Arabs revolt and gather, making sounds that they will take all the remaining rations. Eaton beats his Christians to arms. They line up in front of magazine tent. Hamet demurs and agrees to disband the gathering. Eaton in triumph orders manual of arms. Arabs think Christians preparing to fire. Arabs remount and charge. Some call to shoot while others try to stop them. Charge breaks off at last minute. Argument within Arabs contingent about whether to kill Christians or not. Hamet slaps officer with flat of saber. Eaton approaches group and takes Hamet aside to speak to him. Hamet and Eaton agree to continue. Hamet, impressed with resoluteness of O’Bannon and his men, embraces the Marine.

Apr. 9

Army covers 10 miles. At the cistern, they find two dead Arabs.

Apr. 10

Army marches 10 miles and camps in a beautiful valley. The detachment that had gone after horse thieves returns but without the horses. Half rations rice and water. Courier returns with news that has spotted American ship. Hamet suspects he is just being used as leverage to secure peace with Yusuf, which Eaton denies. Arabs stop marching again because they want to get intelligence that there is in fact a ship at Bomba waiting for them. Eaton gets word that his Greek canoneers contemplating mutiny to get the rations. Eaton tells O’Bannon to execute anyone who tries to mutiny. Hamet falls sick that night.

Apr. 11

Amry only covers five miles. Hamet is still sick. There’s no water. Commerce between Arab women and Christians, exchange buttons to dates.

British and Russians agree to alliance against France.

Apr. 12

Army covers 25 miles. Hamet better is better but there is still no water or wood for fire. Supplies run out.

Apr. 13

Army covers 7.5 miles. Hamet orders a camel killed and used as food.

Apr. 14

Army marches 15 miles and camps where there is water and feed for the horses.

Apr. 15

Army scatters to scavenge for roots or anything to eat. They dig up wild fennel and sorrel. At 4 pm they reach Bomba but discover no ship in the bay. Arabs consider Eaton an imposter and make plans to march back to Egypt the next morning. Eaton nervous that they will mutiny first.

Apr. 16

As camp breaking, ship is sighted. Camp moves 5-6 miles for water.

Apr. 17

Hornet arrives with provisions and dispatches to Eaton from Barron, who distances himself from Eaton’s convention with Hamet and says America is not necessarily bound to put Hamet back on the throne.

Nautilis sails for Bomba with field pieces for Eaton.

Apr. 18 – 22

Army reprovisions, rests, and marches to cisterns.

Apr. 23

Rain, cold. Army marches over mountainous land.

Apr. 24

Army marches 15 miles over mountainous terrain populated with red cedars. They camp in a valley through which a rivulet flows. Information arrives that the governor of Derna has fortified city and is ready to defend. But Hassan’s army has not arrived yet.

Apr. 25

Order to march refused by Arabs. Eaton promises them $2000 and they agree to march.

Apr. 25

Eaton’s troops re-supplied in Bomba. The army camps on the outskirts of Derna on bluffs overlooking the city.

Apr. 27

Eaton attacks. Christian contingent led by O’Bannon attacks from the front, while three American warships pound the city and Hamet’s Arabs sweep around the flank. Though ships subdue harbor fort, Hamet is delayed and O’Bannon’s men are pinned down. Eaton leads reinforcements. In desperation, he leads a charge though his men are outnumbered 10 to 1. Eaton is wounded in the assault but his troops break through the barricades. As they storm the city, Hamet’s troops attack from behind. At 2:45 pm O’Bannon leads Marines and mercenaries against the main fortress. 4 pm, U.S. flag raised. Governor Mustafa flees to mosque then to neutral sheikh named Mansur and takes refuge in his harem.

Apr. 28

First elements of Pasha Yusuf’s troops led by Hassan Aga arrive and camp outside of city. Eaton begins fortification of city. Hull sends sailors ashore to help. Fort built on heights to south of Derna – ‘Fort Eaton’ (later called the American Fort). Harbor fort is repaired, guns turned to face city, new breastworks erected.

During occupation Eaton is called Eaton Pasha by the townspeople, who prostrate themselves, kiss his boots. Eaton sets prices for vegetables, melons, and meat since farmers had raised prices since there were so many foreigners. Eaton tries to adjudicate grievances.

May 1

Eaton sends his dispatches to Barron on the Hornet.

May 4

Barron and Lear get word of Eaton’s victory.

May 8

Hassan moves to heights Eaton had occupied before attack on Derna. Eaton had expected the troops to leave.

May 12

Eaton and 50 Christians advance on harem to extricate Mustafa. Are stopped by Hamet who tells him that the entire town will turn against him if he breaches Arab custom.

May 13

Hassan’s troops make probing attack and are repelled.

May 14

Hassan gathers 1,200 troops and attacks again. Hamet is overrun and Hassan’s troops break into town. But his attack is repelled, with help of broadsides from the town’s fort and last minute charge by Marines.

May 15

Eaton sends urgent dispatch to Barron asking for reinforcements and urging that Tripoli be attacked.

Barron relinquishes command because of his ill health. He hands over command to Rodgers.

May 16

Two sheikhs desert Hassan with information of enemy’s forces: 945 cavalry, 2100 foot soldiers. Plot to poison Eaton is uncovered. Hassan has promised a reward of $6,000 for anyone who kills Eaton, and twice that if he is captured alive.

Eaton’s battle reports arrive in Malta.

May 18

Barron decides time is best to contact pasha and orders Lear to get ready to leave for Tripoli. Rodgers is eager to attack Yusuf instead.

May 19

Eaton hears rumors that Lear and Yusuf are in peace negotiations. Eaton begins long dispatch to Barron complaining and trying to rally support to his and Hamet’s cause.

May 20

Sirocco ravages forces for three days. Extreme heat. Hassan plans attack but withdraws at last minute because his troops fear the ships’ broadsides.

May 21

Word reaches Yusuf that Derna has fallen.

May 23 (or 24?)

Lear sets off from Malta on USS Essex to head for Tripoli to begin negotiations.

May 26 (or 25?)

President, Constellation, and Essex appear off Tripoli with white flag to parlay. Pasha has (false) reports that US has large fleet off Egypt and is planning to attack all towns along coast from there to Tripoli. He is very agitated.

Spanish consul De Souza boards Constitution at 2p to begin negotiations as pasha’s emissary. Storm blows ships 70 miles off.

May 28

O’Bannon leads small contingent in counterattack against raid but foray against enemy outpost does little.

U.S. ships make their way back to Tripoli and meet with Vixen carrying dispatches. One is from Tunis that bey who wanted to mediate peace. His proposal is rejected.

May 29

Lear sends ultimatum to Yusuf through De Souza, who comes on board: “If his Ex. the Bashaw of Tripoli will send within two days of this time, on board the U.S. Squadron now lying off Tripoli, all the Americans now in his power, I engage on behalf of the U.S. to give him $60,000 and cause to be delivered to him all the subjects of Tripoli now in the possession of the U.S. and to make a treaty beneficial to both nations.”

May 30

De Souza sends note urging Lear to come ashore but he refuses until treaty is agreed. Lear gives pasha 24 more hours to comply with ultimatum, after which he will lower white flag for good.

May 31

Danish consul, Nissen, replaces De Souza as emissary.

June 1

Hornet appears in Derna with supplies (just for Christian contingent) and $2,000. Barron also sends letter saying they are treating for peace, and that there will be no more supplies.

June 2

Nissen boards Constitution to negotiate. Lear shows his outline of a treaty. Nissen takes it to pasha and returns in the afternoon (4p) saying pasha agreed to all points except he wants all American forces out of Derna and his brother must leave the pasha’s dominions. Lear agrees but insists on Hamet’s family being restored to him. Nissen takes that amendment to the pasha. Treaty in substance is very similar to previous treaties.

June 3

Nissen comes on board with signed agreement from pasha on preliminary articles and provision that pasha wants time to return Hamet’s family. Lear agrees and goes ashore to finalize points on treaty. Met by thousands on shore cheering the treaty, including the US officers from Phil.

June 4

American flag raised over the U.S. consulate in Tripoli. Lear signs treaty with Pasha. $60,000 for Philadelphia crew and no more payments. Lear gets 21 gun salute from fort. Lear has audience with pasha. In report to Madison: “We spoke but little on the subject of the Treaty &c He observed that he had given stronger evidences of his confidence in us than he had ever before given to any nation. he had delivered our people before he had received his own, and as to the money he was to receive, it was merely nominal-the sum was nothing; but – it was impossible to deliver our people without something-The other Articles of the Treaty I might form as I pleased; being convinced I should not insert anything which was not just. I returned his compliments, and assured him he would find our Nation as just, as he had found them brave and persevering.”

Hull announces he has orders to pull out with Eaton’s men. Eaton pleads and Hull, ashamed of the order, agrees to send Eaton’s appeal not to abandon the cause and wait for an answer.

June 5

Lear approves and signs secret clause in treaty that pasha need not return Hamet’s family for four years.

Two more desert from Hassan. They report Hassan’s forces are down to 200 reliable men and 3-400 others.

June 6

Lear writes Eaton notifying him of the peace treaty, which is sent via Constellation.

June 9

Haji Ismail, sheikh in Hassan’s group, deserts with funds and flees to Egypt.

June 10

Treaty of Tripoli formally signed, copies in English and Arabic. Lear is invited to see signing and is seated at the same seat as pasha. Seals of pasha and members of divan affix seals to the treaty. Lear stipulates that the payment is for release of hostages not for peace, an important point for Lear and Jefferson.

June 11

Hassan makes a final all-out assault with his remaining troops. He brings troops along inland to avoid American ships. Hamet’s scouting cavalry engages them. Hamet and his men hold the line, charge and counter-charge for four hours. Hassan’s troops retreat, broken. Hamet gives chase, corners them and they dismount and scale cliff to escape. Fifty of Hamet’s men killed or wounded, including four of his principal officers. Christian troops have 14 casualties. An informal treaty ends hostilities with Hassan.

Eaton learns of the treaty (“sell-out”) when Constellation , under Captain Campbell, appears in the harbor after storm with letter from Lear informing him of the treaty and telling him to withdraw his forces.

June 12

Eaton breaks news to O’Bannon (outraged) and Hamet (crushed). Hamet warns Eaton that if word gets out of the treaty, their allies are likely to turn on them. Eaton pretends to prepare for new attack, but then moves all Christians and Hamet (with select group of Arabs, his entourage) to the Constellation under cover of night.

June 13

Eaton stands on deck of Constellation as it sails away. He witnesses the mass of people on shore, attacking tents in frustration. All important opponents to Hamet have throats cut/strangled. Men brought back to Syracuse, where force disperses.

June 19

Ransom paid for Phil men.

June 21

L leaves Tripoli on board Constitution with Dr. Ridgely in charge.

July 4

Lears celebrate Independence Day on Constitution in Syracuse.


Eaton stops in Tunis on way home, where bey had been blustering

Aug. 2

Tunis consul George Davis comes on board Constitution after it as well as Constellation, Essex, Congress, Vixen and John Adams. L sends letter to bey in conciliatory terms. Bey responds favorably and invites L to come ashore and negotiate treaty.

Aug. 9

Eaton writes long appeal to Sec. of Navy Smith while on board ship heading back to U.S. documenting what he sees as Lear’s betrayal.

Aug. 15

Negotiations with bey of Tunis go slowly. Rodgers sends terms for peace in blunt terms. Bey acquiesces.

Aug. 28

L complains to Rodgers about Eaton in Tunis: “I find his arrival here has created much speculation, and no little suspicion on the part of some of the natives respectg. the object of his visit as it relates to our affairs; and I should not be surprised if it should not cause a hesitation in doing all that might otherwise be done.”

Aug. 12

Lewis and Clark shipment arrives to President Jefferson.

Sept. 15

Lears vacation in Catania for 5 days.


Dey Mustapha of Algiers is assassinated (stabbed) by janissaries and replaced by Achmet Bashaw.

Oct. 21

British under Nelson defeat French at Battle of Trafalgar.

Oct. 22

Dr. James Dodge, acting consul in Tunis, dies. Commodore Dent names Marine Lieutenant George Coxe as replacement until relieved.


Eaton arrives in US and is greeted as a hero.


Lears are back in Algiers


E returns to Brimfield, MA.

December 2

Napoleon defeats allies at Battle of Austerlitz.


Jan. 4

Lear leaves Algiers aboard Constitution to go to Tunis to meet returning ambassador to US and finalize Coxe in his position.

Jan. 13

TJ submits treaty to congress with series of cover letters

Feb. 25

MA. legislature grants Eaton 10,000 acres of land.

Feb. 27

Bey of Tunis sends letter to TJ praising L’s reasonableness and tact.

Mar. 8

L leaves Tunis after negotiations on confirming Coxe as ambassador, and overseeing arrival of goods from US.

Mar. 24

Constitution departs Algiers after dropping off L.

Oct. 14

Napoleon victorious at Battles of Jena and Auerstadt.


May 7

New consul to Tripoli, George Davis, arrives in Tripoli.

May 10

Davis has audience with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sidi Dghies, where learns of secret clause in treaty.

June 22

HBM Leopard challenges frigate Chesapeake, captained by Commodore James Barron. Fires on Chesapeake when latter refuses to allow British to search her. 3 are killed, 18 wounded including Barron. Results in US recalling ships from Med to protect US seaboard.

Late October

Hamet’s family restored to him in Sicily.

Sept. 7

British capture Danish fleet in Copenhagen.

Nov. 11

TJ submits to Congress information on secret treaty and explanation: “How it has happened that the declaration of June 5, has never before come to our knowledge, cannot with certainty be said; but whether there has been a miscarriage of it, or a failure of the ordinary attention and correctness of that officer in making his communications, I have thought it due to the Senate, as well as to myself, to explain to them the circumstances which have withheld from their knowledge, as they did from my own, a modification, which, had it been placed in the public treaty, would have been relieved from the objections which candor and good faith cannot but feel in its present form.

As the restoration of the family has probably been effected, a just regard to the character of the United States will require that I make to the Bashaw a candid statement of facts; and that the sacrifices of his right to the peace and friendship of the two Countries, by yielding finally to the demand of Mr. Davis, be met by proper acknowledgments and reparation on our part.”

Dec. 22

TJ crafts and congress passes Embargo Act in response to British aggression in Chesapeake Affair. Creates difficulties in communications and arrival of goods/tribute to Barbary regents.


Aug. 1 – 8

Wellington lands British troops in Mondego Bay to begin Peninsular campaign against Napoleon


March 1

TJ repeals Embargo Act

March 4

Janissaries overthrow Ali in Algiers and replace him with Haj Ali.

March 5

Madison becomes president.


Harvard kicks out Lincoln Lear

Oct. 19

Treaty of Vienna. Austria gives up lands in Bavaria, Russia, and Duchy of Warsaw to Napoleon.

Dec. 5

Napoleon divorces Josephine.


Feb. 4

Dey of Algiers murders David Coen Bacri, head of house of Bacri where Lear secured most of his loans.

Eaton dies.

Sept. 5

Annuity vessel for Algiers due


June 18

U.S. declares war on Britain. War of 1812 begins, known also as “Mr. Madison’s War”

June 24

Napoleon invades Russia

July 15

Lincoln Lear arrives in Algiers

July 17

War brig Alleghany arrives in Algiers with annuity stores for Algiers

July 20

Lear reports on articles for delivery in Alleghany.

July 22

British crush French forces at Battle of Salamanca.

July 23

Dey orders Lear to leave Algiers but pay 21,000 sequins (27,000 Spanish dollars) before being allowed to. Also takes Lear’s copy of the treaty.

July 25

Lears leave Algiers

July 28

Alleghany arrives in Gibraltar

Aug. 8

British seize Alleghany when word of declaration of war arrives – War of 1812. Lears held but not treated as prisoners.

Aug. 13

Wellington enters Madrid.

Sept. 14

Napoleon enters Moscow.

Oct. 19

French begin withdrawal from Moscow and Russia.

Dec. 1

Lear gets permission from British and family departs for Cadiz, Spain.

Dec. 5

Napoleon abandons Grande Armee and flees to France.


Feb. 29

Lears leave Cadiz for the US

Mar. 16

With Napoleon’s troops falling back in disarray from Russia, Prussia enters the war against France.

April 9

Lears arrive in New York.

April 19

Lears leave New York for Washington, D.C.

April 29

Lears arrive in D.C.

June 21

Wellington wins decisive victory at Battle of Vitoria, which also rallied Russian-Prussian forces, which had suffered a few recent setbacks at Lützen and Bautzen.

Sept. 6

Brig Enterprise sails into Portland, Maine, where Lear was visiting, trailing the HBM Boxer after defeating it in naval engagement.

Oct. 7

Wellington invades France from the south.

Dec. 22

Fire in Portsmouth burns down much of the city.


March 31

British, Prussian, and Russian troops enter Paris.

April 6

Napoleon abdicates.

May 4

Napoleon lands on Elba.

June 27

Lear commissioned to negotiate exchange of prisoners in Plattsburgh, NY

July 15 – 17

Lear meets with British negotiators in Champlain, which had changed hands several times during the war. Speedy exchange since most prisoners had already been exchanged. Lear returns to Washington.

Aug. 24-25

British attack Washington, D.C., burn down White House, Capitol, Treasury, War Office and take apart office of paper, National Intelligencer. Lears evacuate house, which is largely undamaged. L evacuates War Department taking as many official records with him as he can.

Dec. 24

Treaty of Ghent. U.S. and British agree to status quo before war.


Jan. 5

Battle of New Orleans.

Mar. 3

Congresses authorizes force against Algiers.

May 20

Commodore Stephen Decatur departs U.S. with squadron headed for North Africa.

July 3

New treaty with Algiers. Commodore Stephen Decatur destroys Algierian navy and pounds city before suing for peace. He and consul William Shaler negotiate treaty that ends biennial presents, no further tribute and full shipping rights. Dey repudiates treaty shortly after Decatur leaves.


Oct. 11

Lear commits suicide.


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