The Battle of Derna


The Battle of Derna, Libya, April 27, 1805

Two hundred eleven years ago, United States Marines fought and defeated Islamic terrorists – historically known as the Barbary Pirates- at (Derne) Derna, Libya. It was the first time that an American flag had flown over an old-world fortress. A decisive victory for the Marines, and for Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States.

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in th e air, on land and sea. First to fight for right and freedom, And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title Of United States Marine.” The Marine’s Hymn

The Muslims had captured sailors from the USS Philadelphia and were holding them at Derna.  President Jefferson sent the USS Nautilus, USS Argus and USS Hornet to the Tripoli shore and commenced firing on the city.


According to,

Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon led the Marines’ first battle on foreign soil. He and his Marines relentlessly marched across 600 miles of the Libyan Desert to storm the fortified Tripolitan city of Derna and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia.

The victory helped Prince Hamet Bey reclaim his rightful throne as ruler of Tripoli. In gratitude, Bey presented his Mameluke sword to Lt O’Bannon. This famous sword became part of the officer uniform in 1825 and remains the oldest ceremonial weapon in use by United States armed forces today.

Lt O’Bannon and his men took possession of one of the enemy’s batteries, planted the United States flag upon its ramparts and turned the guns upon the enemy. After two hours of hand-to-hand fighting, the stronghold was occupied.”


The Battle of Derna


Today, Derna is the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia, the group of jihadists who reportedly killed four Americans at Benghazi on September 11,  2012.

In 1805, our path was clear. In 2016 it is not. In 1805, The President of the United States knew exactly that the enemy was Islamic terrorists whose violent escapades placed every American sailor at risk of death or capture. In 2016, we are in danger of being destroyed by the same ruthlessness that existed in 1805.