USS Dale (DD-4)

USS Dale (DD-4)

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USS Dale (DD-4)

USS Dale (DD-4) was a Bainbridge class destroyer and was the second destroyer to be commissioned into the US Navy. She served in the Philippines for most of her career, then in the Mediterranean in 1917-1918.

The Dale was named after Richard Dale, a US naval officer during the War of Independence, the Quasi-War with France and the campaign against Tripoli in 1801.

The Dale was launched on 24 July 1900, commissioned into the reserve on 24 October 1902 and fully commissioned on 13 February 1903. She joined the 1st Torpedo Flotilla of the North Atlantic Fleet and took part in an exercise off Maine and a Presidential Review off Oyster Bay.

In December 1903 the Flotilla left the US heading for the Far East, where in March 1904 it joined the Asiatic Fleet. The Dale was based at Cavite from then until 1917. In normal years it spent the summer in Chinese waters, showing the flag and carrying out exercises, and the winter in Philippine waters.

The First Torpedo Flotilla, convoyed by Buffalo (AD), cleared Norfolk 12 December 1903 and sailed to the Asiatic Station by way of the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. Arriving at Cavite, Philippine Islands, 14 April 1904, Dale cruised in the islands and on the coast of China until placed out of commission in reserve at Cavite 5 December 1905.

On 5 December 1905 the Dale was placed into the reserve to under go repairs to her boilers. She was recommissioned on 10 July 1907, and remained in commission (along with the Chauncey) when the other three members of the class were decommissioned due to a shortage of personnel. During this period she was used to guard the target range at Cavite and as a mail transport, as well as taking part in the normal summer cruises.

After the US entry into the First World War the Dale was used to patrol the entrance to Manila Bay. On 1 August she and the rest of the Bainbridge class sailed for Gibraltar, where they arrived on 20 October. They were used to patrol the Mediterranean and escort merchant ships. Two of the class left for the United States after nine months, but Dale and Decatur remained in the Mediterranean until 9 December 1918.

The Dale returned to the United States on 12 January 1919 and was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 9 July. She was sold for scrap on 3 January 1920.

Displacement (standard)

420 tons

Displacement (loaded)

620 tons

Top Speed



4 Thornycroft boilers
2 Vertical Triple Engines


3000 miles at cruising speed




23ft 7in


Two 3in/25 guns
Five 6pdr guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



24 July 1900


24 October 1902

Ships in Class

Sold 1920

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War

USS Dale (DD-4) - History

USS Dale , a 420-ton Bainbridge class destroyer built at Richmond, Virginia, was commissioned into reserve in October 1902. Placed in full commission in February 1903, she operated along the U.S. Atlantic coast during most of the year and, in December, began a long voyage to the Far East by way of the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. Following arrival in April 1904, Dale served in Philippine and Chinese waters for the next thirteen years as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet.

Dale left the Philippines in August 1917, after U.S. entry into World War I made it essential that all available destroyers be used for anti-submarine service in the Atlantic. She patrolled out of Gibraltar from October 1917 until the end of the fighting made possible her departure in December 1918. Generally inactive after her return to the U.S. East Coast, USS Dale was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, in June 1919. She was sold for scrapping in early January 1920.

USS Dale was named in honor of Commodore Richard Dale (1756-1826), who served in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War and in the United States Navy in the late 1790s and early 1800s.

This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have related to USS Dale (Destroyer # 4).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken circa 1903-1916.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1972.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 78KB 740 x 475 pixels

Underway in Philippine waters, circa 1910-1913.

Collection of Phillip H. Wilson. Donated by Mrs. Pauline M. Wilson, 1979.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 73KB 740 x 460 pixels

Dust Storm off the African Coast

Photograph taken from the bridge of USS Decatur (Destroyer # 5) by Machinist's Mate May, during the First Torpedo Flotilla's transit of the Mediterranean Sea, en route to the Philippines by way of the Suez Canal, circa late 1903 or early 1904. The air was filled with red dust from the desert.
USS Dale (Destroyer # 4) is in the foreground, with USS Chauncey (Destroyer # 3) in the left distance.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 39KB 740 x 250 pixels

"First Torpedo Flotilla. During a Storm in the Mediterranean en-route to China February 23, 1904"

Painting by an unidentified artist, depicting the destroyers Bainbridge , Barry , Chauncey , Dale and Decatur in heavy seas.

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. Donation of Mrs. Anne Garagusi, 1981.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 92KB 740 x 530 pixels

Steaming in close formation off Chefoo, China, in 1905, while under the command of Lieutenant Dudley W. Knox. Ships present are (as numbered):
1. USS Decatur (Destroyer # 5)
2. USS Dale (Destroyer # 4)
3. USS Barry (Destroyer # 2)
4. USS Chauncey (Destroyer # 3) and
5. USS Bainbridge (Destroyer # 1).

Donation of Mrs. J.R. Kean, 1938. Courtesy of Captain Dudley W. Knox, USN (Retired).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 95KB 740 x 600 pixels

USS Dale (Destroyer # 4)
USS Chauncey (Destroyer # 3)

Underway in Philippine waters, en route to Cebu, circa 1914-1916.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 51KB 740 x 445 pixels

Asiatic Fleet Ships dressed with flags

In honor of George Washington's Birthday, 22 February 1915, probably in a Philippine Islands harbor.
The three ships in the distance are (from left to right):
USS Cincinnati (Cruiser # 7)
USS Piscataqua (1898-1931, later AT-49) and
USS Dale (Destroyer # 4).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 45KB 740 x 445 pixels

In drydock at Gibraltar, 1918.

Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1982.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 61KB 740 x 485 pixels

Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania

Destroyers awaiting decommissioning in the Navy Yard's Reserve Basin, during the Spring of 1919. Photographed by La Tour.
Ships present are identified in Photo # NH 43036 (complete caption).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 80KB 740 x 500 pixels

The following photographs show either USS Dale or her sister ship, USS Decatur (Destroyer # 5):

Destroyer leading Torpedo Boats during maneuvers, circa 1903

The destroyer is either Dale (Destroyer # 4) or Decatur (Destroyer # 5). The three torpedo boats in left center are of the Blakely class (Torpedo Boat #s 27 through 35).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 83KB 740 x 580 pixels

Destroyer manuevers with Torpedo Boats, circa 1903

The destroyer is either Dale (Destroyer # 4) or Decatur (Destroyer # 5).
The three torpedo boats in left center are of the Blakely class (Torpedo Boat #s 27 through 35). The two at right are of the Bagley class (Torpedo Boat #s 24 through 26).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 69KB 740 x 580 pixels

USS Dale (Destroyer # 4), or
USS Decatur (Destroyer # 5)

Crewmen pose informally on the forward gun platform, in the Philippines, circa 1912.

Collection of Phillip H. Wilson. Donated by Mrs. Pauline M. Wilson, 1979.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 90KB 560 x 765 pixels

Note: In addition to the views referenced above, Photo # NH 52103 was taken from USS Dale during operations with other destroyers off Chefoo, China, during the summer of 1905.


USS Dale received its name in honor of Captain Richard Dale, a famed Navy hero from the American Revolution. The Navy brought her into service upon her commission in June 1935. For part of 1936, she cruised from Norfolk into the Caribbean with a visit to Galveston. After this, she transferred to the Pacific fleet for various duties. She participated in training cruises and naval exercises in waters from Hawaii to Alaska. In October 1939, she moved her homeport from San Diego to Pearl Harbor. She was in harbor with the Japanese struck on December 7, 1941. However, she sustained no damage.

USS Dale took up immediate patrol and opened fire on enemy planes. She brought down at least one. For the next few months, she screened for aircraft carriers and provided escort for convoys. In June, she aided in back up of forces at the Battle of Midway. Prior to Guadalcanal, she provided escort between various islands. She covered the landings at Guadalcanal before returning to Pearl for escort duties later in the year. In 1943, she participated in the raids to regain Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians. She continued to provide screening for various invasions such as Makin, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, the Marshalls, Palau, Ulithi, Hollandia, Saipan, Guam, and the Philippines. The Navy decommissioned her in October 1945 and sold her for scrap in December of the next year.

USS Dale (CG 19)

USS DALE was the fourth ship in the LEAHY - class of "double-end" guided missile cruisers and the fifth ship in the Navy named for Commodore Richard Dale, who earned distinction as a naval leader during the American Revolution. On April 6, 2000, the DALE became the victim of a SINKEX of the Navy in the Atlantic. DALE was last homeported in Mayport, Fla., and has won the Atlantic Fleet Battle Efficiency E Award for 1977 and 1980.

General Characteristics: Awarded: November 7, 1958
Keel laid: September 6, 1960
Launched: July 28, 1962
Commissioned: November 23, 1963
Decommissioned: September 27, 1994
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.
Propulsion system: 4 - 1200 psi boilers 2 General Electric geared turbines
Propellers: two
Length: 535 feet (163 meters)
Beam: 53 feet (16.1 meters)
Draft: 26 feet (7.9 meters)
Displacement: approx. 7,800 tons
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: none
Armament: two Mk 141 Harpoon missile launchers, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, two Mk-10 missile launchers for Standard missiles (ER), Mk 46 torpedoes from two Mk-32 triple mounts, one Mk 16 ASROC missile launcher
Crew: 27 officers and 413 enlisted

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS DALE. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

Accidents aboard USS DALE:

April 1983Indian OceanUSS DALE collides with the Royal Navy frigate HMS AMBASCADE. The AMBASCADE is laid up in Bombay, India, during May while work on "new bow material" is carried out.

Built at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, DALE was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 23 November 1963.

Upon entering service she was assigned to the Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. As a unit of the Pacific Fleet, DALE made five deployments to the far-east for duty with the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

During these deployments, she operated in support of U.S. military operations in South Vietnam.

DALE was decommissioned on 10 November 1970 for modernization to increase flexibility in combat systems. A major portion of the modernization was the installation of the Naval Tactical Data Systems (NTDS) which provides real time communications and information displays to ship and force commanders. Upon recommissioning on 11 December 1971, DALE was assigned to Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and homeported in Newport, Rhode Island.

DALE began her first Mediterranean Deployment in June 1973, participated in the multinational exercise "Swift Move" in northern European waters, and helped augment the Sixth Fleet during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

In February 1974, DALE moved to her new homeport in Mayport, Florida. During 1974, DALE was selected as the operational platform for the newly deployed AN/SPS-49 two-dimensional air search radar, which took DALE to the Caribbean several times during 1974 and early 1975. In October 1975, DALE deployed again to the Mediterranean, participating successfully in several national and multinational exercises and earning praise from Commander, Sixth Fleet and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe on her departure for home.

Returning to Mayport in May 1976, DALE participated in the international Naval Review in New York Harbor celebrating the Nation's Bicentennial on July 4, 1976. Then DALE began a regular twelve-month overhaul at Charleston Naval Shipyard which upgraded DALE'S NTDS and Missile Fire Control Systems. Upon completion of the overhaul, DALE returned to Mayport and made preparations for another Mediterranean deployment in June 1978. DALE again had a very successful deployment and returned to Mayport in February 1979 with many commendations from both military and civilian authorities. In September 1979, DALE deployed to the North Atlantic for two months to serve as the flagship for the Commander Striking Force Atlantic Fleet for the NATO exercise "Ocean Safari." In January and February 1980 DALE participated in the Atlantic Fleet Readiness Exercise "READEX 1-80". DALE deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in March 1980 and, as a unit of the Sixth Fleet, served as flag ship for Commander-Destroyer Group Eight. A highlight of this deployment was a visit to the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania. DALE returned to Mayport in August 1980. The remainder of the year included two trips to the Caribbean for carrier support operations and participations in "COMPUTEX/ASWEX 1-81".

DALE entered Charleston Naval Shipyard in March 1981 to begin a Baseline Overhaul to update the ship's combat weapons systems and overhaul major engineering equipment. During the overhaul, which DALE completed a month early in February 1982, the 3"/50 caliber gun mounts were replaced with Harpoon missile systems, and the Phalanx Close-in Weapons Systems were added to the port and starboard sides.

DALE completed Refresher Training in June 1982, and since that time has been involved with her continual cycles of inspections, and underway exercise periods, proving her value as an active contributor to fleet readiness.

USS Dale (DD 353)

USS Dale saw action in the Pacific Ocean, right from December 7, 1941. She was involved in fleet activities, escorting ships like the Lexington and the Yorktown, as well as in escort duties.

In early 1943 she was engaged in a fierce cruiser-battle between the Japanese reinforcement-convoy and a US detachment around the Aleutians. She took part in most of the major landings and naval battles in the last years of the war, and was decommissioned on 16 October 1945, stricken 1 November 1945, sold for scrap on 20 December 1946.

USS Dale was awarded 12 Battle Stars for her services.

Commands listed for USS Dale (DD 353)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1Lt.Cdr. John Phillip Womble, Jr., USN21 Dec 193828 Feb 1941 ( 1 )
2Anthony Lawless Roschach, USN28 Feb 1941Jan 1942 ( 1 )
3Harold Earl Parker, USNJan 19428 Apr 1943 ( 1 )
4T/Cdr. Charles Warren Aldrich, USN8 Apr 19435 Sep 1944 ( 1 )
5T/Lt.Cdr. Stanley Michael Zimny, USN5 Sep 194416 Oct 1945

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Kobilica je položena 12. srpnja 1899. u brodogradilištu William R. Trigg u Richmondu. Porinut je 24. srpnja 1900. i u operativnu uporabi primljen je 2. listopada 1902.

Operativna uporaba Uredi

U sastavu Sjeverno Atlantske Flote, Dale je krstario s Prvom Torpednom Flotilom duž obalna [Atlantskog oceana. 12. prosinca 1903. iz Norfolka kreće prema Filipinima na koje stiže 14. travnja 1904. Tu je obilazio otoke i obalu do 5. prosinca 1905. kad je stavljen u rezervu. 10. srpnja 1907. ponovno je vraćen u aktivnu službu te nastavlja s krstarenjima do Japana i Kine, bojnim vježbama i transportu pošte i putnika. [1]

Nakon što su se Sjedinjene Države uključile u Prvi svjetski rat, Dale je od 30. lipnja do 1. kolovoza 1917. patrolirao ulazom u zaljev Manilu da bi nakon toga krenuo prema Gibraltaru gdje se pridružio drugim američkim ophodnim snagama. Kraj rata dočekao je u istočnom Mediteranu. [1]

Gibraltar napušta 8. prosinca 1918. i vraća se u Charleston u Južnoj Karolini. Iz službe je povučen 9. srpnja 1919. i prodan kao staro željezo 3. siječnja 1920. [1]

Survivors Who Escaped From Pearl Harbor

The USS West Virginia is set ablaze after being bombarded by Japanese aerial attacks.

Naval History and Heritage Command

Of the many accounts to emerge from the infamous date of December 7, 1941, the story of the first ship to escape Pearl Harbor during the attack is relatively unknown. This is surprising given the fact that it represents one of the few success stories from an otherwise disastrous day for the U.S. Navy. USS Dale, the little destroyer that could, managed to dodge torpedoes, bombs, and machine gun fire to escape the Japanese onslaught nearly unscathed and without a single casualty. Here, in the words of Dale’s crew, is a blow-by-blow narrative of action aboard the destroyer on that fateful day:

Cliff Huntley: USS Dale was only about six years old when we first arrived at Pearl Harbor. At that time Dale and our sister Farragut-class destroyers were the cutting edge of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Our job was to get in front of the nation’s trouble, and we tin can sailors were mighty proud of that fact. Those of us who had been on Dale for a while walked with a swagger the new guys just couldn’t step into right away.

Alvis Harris: Along about mid-November, we got orders to go out west of Pearl a couple of hundred miles with our sister tin can, Aylwin, to pick up the SS Komikura Maru with Japanese Ambassador [Kichisaburo] Nomura aboard, who was on his way to Washington, D.C., for peace talks. We escorted the ambassador into Pearl, where he disembarked from Maru and embarked on a Matson liner for the States and his meeting in Washington.

Herman Gaddis: While the Japanese ambassador was boarding the Matson liner, we took up an antisubmarine patrol off Diamond Head. Our orders were to pick up the Matson liner when she left Pearl and escort her to the States. We were all looking forward to liberty in San Diego. But almost immediately we picked up a submarine on sonar that we could not identify and nobody in the fleet would claim. While we were engaged with that sub the Matson liner left Honolulu with another ship as its escort. We missed our trip back to the States, which made us all very unhappy.

We sat on top of that submarine for about three days, waiting for something to happen. The sub would move here and there a little bit, but mostly it just sat on the bottom just off Diamond Head and did nothing. We didn’t know who that sub belonged to, and as we were not at war or anything, there really was nothing we could do. So finally we just backed off and let it go.

When war with Japan became inevitable, the American government sent warnings to all of its military commands and political posts in the Pacific, including those of the Army and Navy in Hawaii. The Americans knew the Japanese were preparing to attack, but had convinced themselves the attack would take place in the Philippines.

Most certainly it would not come at Pearl Harbor. This wishful thinking provided the perfect cover for Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo’s carrier strike force, which arrived at a point 200 miles north of Pearl Harbor early on the morning of December 7.

At 6 a.m. Nagumo’s six carriers began launching the first wave of airplanes. Months of training were about to culminate in an operation that would commit Japan to a war with the industrial might of the United States.

Harold Reichert: Some mornings, the waters of Pearl Harbor would be so still the seaplane pilots could not see where to land, and so we’d have to send out the motor whaleboat to stir up the water a bit. On mornings like that, you could always pick up the smells of fuel oil mixed with tropical flowers, and after a week or two at sea those smells were mighty inviting. My Sunday morning ritual at Pearl was to sit out on the fantail with a cup of coffee and a newspaper and enjoy the early sun and those tropical airs.

There were ninety-six ships in Pearl Harbor that morning and no reason to expect any trouble. After all, the Honolulu Advertiser I was reading told how Japanese Ambassador Nomura was going to meet with Secretary Cordell Hull in Washington that very morning to talk about peace.

Dellman Smith: I was sitting on a forward torpedo tube with a cup of coffee, talking with Humphrey. We saw a big bunch of airplanes coming in over the mountains and got to wondering which carrier they belonged to.

They could not be coming from Saratoga, because she was in dry dock in Bremerton, nor Enterprise, because she was participating in an exercise way down south somewhere. And Lexington had just gone to sea Saturday, so it was doubtful her planes were flying back already. It just didn’t make any sense. So we watched as they flew in from the mountains. Then, when they got to about a hundred yards away, Humphrey jumped up and said: “Goddamn! They’re Japanese!”

Don Schneider: I had messenger duty that night, which meant I didn’t get to sleep until 4 in the morning. I was working as a mess cook, so my bunk space was down in the mess hall, where there were always a lot of guys coming and going. Mess cooks were at the bottom of the ship’s totem pole, and sleeping mess cooks were fair game for whoever happened to come through. When someone came by yelling that the Japs were attacking, I yelled back, “Go to hell!” and rolled over for more sleep.

Warren Deppe: We were eating breakfast down in the mess hall. At the time, we had aboard this chief torpedoman we called “Sailor Boy White,” who was the ship’s practical joker. One of his favorite gags in those days, when everyone’s nerves were on edge, was to sneak into a compartment when nobody was looking and yell: “The Japs are coming! The Japs are coming!” And so when Sailor Boy White came running into the galley with a terribly frightened look on his face that morning, nobody paid him any attention, even when he started pleading that he was telling the truth. Then we heard the explosions.

Reichert: Just then a plane flew by at about thirty feet. I could see the pilot plain as day. He wore a leather helmet with straps under his chin and a pair of goggles. I could see the whites of his eyes, and he was totally fixed on the old Utah, which was an old battlewagon the Navy had stripped down and converted to a target ship. She had a big wooden deck on her, so dive-bombers could practice bombing her with sandbags. She looked a lot like an aircraft carrier and was even anchored in the same berth Lexington had vacated the previous day!

I did not realize what the plane was until I finally got focused on the big red rising sun painted on the fuselage. And then I saw the torpedo drop and watched as it ran up on the old Utah. The explosion sent a huge fountain of water shooting way up high into the air. I remember dropping my newspaper and yelling, “We’re being attacked!”

Johnny Miller: I had the radio duty and was sitting at my desk reading the Sunday morning funny papers when I heard some unexplained explosions. Just then one of the fellows came by the radio room yelling, “The Japs are attacking!” I ran outside just as a torpedo plane came across our bow and let go his torpedo at the battleship Utah. I even noticed the smile on the pilot’s face, he was so close. Heck, I could have hit him with a rock!

J.E. McIntyre: I had just finished breakfast when the GQ [General Quarters] alarm went off. To get to my station in number one fire room, I had to go topside. When I did, a Japanese torpedo bomber flew by so close I could have hit it with a potato—if I had had one. I then went below to the fire room and didn’t come up again until the next day.

Jim Sturgill: I was sleeping in when the General Quarters alarm clanged away and sailors began throwing gas masks, helmets, and elbows everywhere. I jumped out of bed, got dressed, and ran topside. When I stuck my head out the hatch, I saw explosions throughout the harbor and burning ships. My stomach fell, and I knew in that instant that we were at war.

Harris: I was down below, brushing my teeth and getting ready to visit a neighbor from back home who was stationed aboard the battleship West Virginia. There was a huge commotion, so I ran outside to see what was going on. The first thing I saw was a Japanese bomber dropping its torpedo, which then ran right up into the old Utah and exploded.

Mike Callahan: I was to have the duty at 12 noon and so went to early Mass. While the service was going on, we heard a tremendous amount of gunfire, and I wondered why they were having exercises like that so early on a Sunday morning. Then someone burst into the church and yelled, “We’re being attacked!” I ran outside and knew in a second it was true.

Ernest “Dutch” Smith: I ran up to the OOD [officer on the deck], who was a young ensign, and said, “Sir, the Goddamn Japs are attacking!” He said, “Ah, you’re full of baloney!” Then I said, “Well, go back and take a look at Utah, if you don’t believe me.” He went back and looked at Utah, which had just been hit with a torpedo.

Reichert: My General Quarters station was at gun two, which was up forward. So when that torpedo hit the old Utah, I took off as fast as I could. As I was moving along the length of the ship, I passed the wardroom, where a frightened-looking ensign was standing in the hatchway. “We’re being attacked, Sir,” I said without slowing down.

Within the first two minutes of the attack, all of the battleships along Battleship Row had taken hits from dive bombers. The torpedo attacks took longer, as many pilots made two or three runs before actually launching their torpedoes. The anchored Pacific Fleet was at a low state of readiness, and few of the ships’ machine guns were manned. Nevada, for example, had machine guns manned in her fighting tops, and consequently suffered only one torpedo hit, as compared to the six that hit West Virginia, four on Oklahoma, two on California, and one on Arizona.

As the attacking planes sent torpedo after torpedo slamming into the battleships, Oklahoma rolled over onto its side and sank into the bay. West Virginia also took on a severe list, but counterflooding by daring seaman prevented the ship from rolling over and allowed it to settle onto the bottom on an even keel. California, Maryland, and Tennessee also suffered varying degrees of damage in the first half hour of the raid.

At about 8:10, Arizona was hit by an armor-piercing round dropped by a level bomber. The round penetrated the battleship’s deck near turret two and ignited the forward ammunition magazine. The resulting explosion and fire killed 1,177 crewmen. Those serving on ships near the exploding Arizona that day would say, “It rained sailors!”

Reichert: I got to my General Quarters station at gun two before anyone else and even before the GQ klaxon sounded. By then, there were explosions everywhere, and I looked around for what to do next.

Each of our five-inch guns needed a powderman, shellman, pointer, gun captain, and phone talker. Trouble was, most of our crew was ashore, including the older married guys, who were the ones who knew how to do everything. And that was not the least of it either, because we were tied up at Berth X-14 with three other cans. The order was Aylwin, Farragut, Dale, and Monaghan, which meant we were sandwiched tight between two other cans and none of our forward guns could bear without shooting up our sister ships.

Miller: I dashed down to the radio shack and started the ball rolling. We came up on every important frequency I could think of. The harbor frequency was the one on which all the important messages were coming over. The first message I copied was: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is no drill!” Next was a message for all ships to get underway. Then the frequency became almost useless due to the Japs causing interference and sending out messages for all to cease fire.

John Cruce: We had no gunnery officer, no firing pins, no powder, no first-class petty officer to install the firing pins—if we could ever find them—and no orders to fire!

Gaddis: The officer of the deck up on the bridge, Ensign Radell, hadn’t been in the Navy more than a year and was shaking like a leaf because he was now the acting captain of a U.S. Navy ship at war. But we also had a thirty-year chief petty officer up there, and he said: “Relax, son. We’ll make it out of here just fine!” So they worked things out together and soon put out orders to set material condition “Affirm” and light off all the boilers.

McIntyre: When I got to my GQ station in number one fireroom, the only person there was Lead Fireman Schnabel. I asked, “What are we supposed to do now?” “Get the hell out of here as fast as possible!” Schnabel answered.

“Get out of this fireroom, or get out of Pearl Harbor?” I responded. “Let’s light her off, and get her out of Pearl Harbor!” he said. Luckily, we had the ready duty Saturday, and our boilers were still warm. Otherwise, we were cold iron.

But then I said, “We can’t fire the boilers because they’re full of water!” He told me, “You take care of the fire, and I’ll take care of the water.” And with that he opened the drain valves and started to drain the warm water straight into the bilges. Usually we lowered the water levels gradually by pumping the water overboard, but that morning time didn’t allow for that.

Reichert: I looked up and saw a guy climbing way up to the top of the stacks. I watched him for a moment and realized he was trying to cut loose the stack covers. Whenever the burners weren’t lit, the stacks would be covered to keep the rain out. But when the stacks were covered, there was no way to light off the burners because they couldn’t get enough air. The bosun mates that had covered the stacks were all ashore when the Japanese attacked. So someone had to climb up there and cut the stack covers free, and all he had was a small pocket knife!

Gaddis: Up on the bridge, things became pretty intense when we found ourselves looking straight down the muzzle of one of Farragut’s five-inch guns. Now the Farragut was tied up directly to our port side, and they were shooting wildly at anything that moved. Ensign Radell ran out on the flying bridge yelling, “Point that damn thing the other way!”

“Dutch” Smith: I was the pointer on the forward five-inch gun. But there was no place to point because Farragut was tied up to port, Monaghan was tied up to starboard and the Japanese torpedo bombers were flying real low.

Gaddis: We had this black mess attendant aboard named Dixon who was very popular with the crew. He came running up to the bridge and said, “Our five-inch guns can’t fire because they don’t have firing pins!” We then realized that all the firing pins were in the gunners mate’s locker, and the gunners mate was ashore somewhere. While the rest of us froze with the impossibility of the situation, Dixon ran down to the locker, broke in, grabbed up all the firing pins, and handed them out to the gun crews.

Cruce: I asked for permission from the bridge to open fire, but no one answered. Since there was nobody up there to say “No,” we went right ahead and blasted away at the next Jap plane to fly by. Our ammo was really bad, and our shots kept going off way behind the targets. I kept yelling down to the fuse cutter: “Cut the fuses! Cut the fuses!”

A.L. Rorschach, Captain’s Log: The presence of ships on either side of Dale prevented the use of all forward guns. The forward twenty-four inch searchlight made it impossible to bring the [gun] director to bear in the direction of the level bombing attacks on the battleships. The five-inch guns operated in local control with very poor results, the shots bursting well behind and short of the targets, a squadron of level bombers flying at about 10,000 feet above the battleships on alternately northerly and southerly courses. 08:15 an enemy dive-bomber attacking USS Raleigh from westward came under severe machine gun fire from all the ships in the nest, nosed down and crashed into the harbor.

Sturgill: Back aft on gun five, we had enough clearance from the other ships in the nest to aim and shoot, but our ammunition was locked up tight, and no one could find a key. So I took a hammer and broke open the locker. The gun captain said, “You’re going to be court-martialed for this!” I just shrugged him off and started shooting just as a big torpedo bomber came lumbering by. We blasted him, and he went down in flames.

Harris: In the radio shack we were up on the air raid, harbor, and channel frequencies. Orders and information came in fast and furious like, “All ships get underway immediately” and “DesDiv Two, establish offshore patrol. Enemy submarines sighted inside and outside Pearl Harbor!” I was running messages back and forth to the bridge and got to see a lot of the action. I saw Utah, Raleigh, and Detroit being bombed, torpedoed, and machine-gunned. I saw Raleigh settle down on the bottom and Utah turn upside down. The sky was a mass of exploding AA, with Japanese bombers flying in and out of them.

Miller: The next time I dashed up to the bridge I saw a horrible sight. USS Utah had turned over and was lying with only her bottom showing. I could see the big bomber hangar over on Ford Island alive with flames. USS Arizona was afire and sinking fast. West Virginia was hit with six or seven torpedoes and was afire. USS Nevada was hit by a torpedo and was heading for the beach so she wouldn’t get sunk.

McIntyre: While tied up in the nest with the other tin cans, we got all of our steam and power from Monaghan’s boilers. So when she cast off, we were cold iron. Under normal conditions, it took us about a hundred and fifty minutes to fire up our boilers. But there was nothing normal about that Sunday morning! After Schnabel flushed the water, I lit off all four boilers and began pumping the crude oil. Since our boilers were still warm, we were able to get up enough steam to get underway in nineteen minutes.

Schneider: When I got up to gun one, things were moving real fast. Someone handed me a fire ax and told me to chop the line to Monaghan, which was tied up to starboard. When I finished chopping, they sent me to the ammunition handling room. Someone was down below in the magazine and they were sending up powder and five-inch rounds as fast as they could. Trouble was, we weren’t shooting at anything yet, so the ammunition was piling up and crowding us out of the handling room, and whoever was down there wouldn’t stop. I started stacking some of the rounds out on the deck, but someone running by bumped into my stack and sent a couple of the five-inch rounds rolling across the deck and over the side.

Reichert: Monaghan had the ready duty that Sunday morning and so was ready to go first. I was happy to help throw off her lines, because it meant that gun two would finally have a clear field of fire to the east.

Miller: Monaghan backed away from the nest and headed for the channel entrance. A Jap submarine periscope was sticking up out of the water, and USS Curtis was firing into the water with her guns, trying her best to sink the sub. Monaghan let out a blast on her horn to signal she was making a depth-charge attack. She had to have a lot of speed on to clear the area of the explosion or be damaged from her own depth charges, and this caused her to run aground.

“Dutch” Smith: Immediately after Monaghan cast off, it made a high-speed run on a midget Japanese submarine it had spotted and dropped two six-hundred pound depth charges. The explosions lifted the rear end of Monaghan clean out of the water. If I close my eyes, I can still see her screws spinning wildly in the air.

A few moments later we cast off, and as we were backing out I happened to look up through the open turret of the gun and saw two white torpedo streaks coming straight at us just under the surface of the water. Luckily for us, Dale was due to tie up at the tender on Monday, so we were low on everything and only drawing about nine feet of water. Those torpedoes streaked right underneath us and blew up on Ford Island.

Schneider: We figured out later how the miniature Jap submarines managed to sneak past the submarine nets into Pearl Harbor. That Saturday we escorted Lexington out to sea, picked up the old Utah and then followed her back into the harbor. There was quite a bit of room between Utah and Dale going in. Those little subs must have just jumped in line between the two of us and followed the sound of the Utah’s screws as she worked her way up into the harbor.

Miller: One torpedo came whizzing by our bow, but missed us by a few feet. Another came from the stern and went under us, hit the beach, exploded and tore the beach up for yards around.

By 8:30, the first wave of attacking Japanese airplanes had spent themselves and were winging their way north to the carriers. A lull settled in over Pearl Harbor as sailors and soldiers prepared for further attacks.

During this lull in the action, Nevada, the one battleship capable of getting up steam, got underway and began moving slowly down the channel toward the harbor entrance and the open sea. The sight of this towering battleship moving along amid the flames and smoke brought hope to those trapped in the flaming hell of Pearl Harbor. But before Nevada could move very far, it was jumped by the second wave of Japanese attackers. Pilots of this wave saw Nevada as a target of opportunity that, if sunk in the channel, could bottle up Pearl Harbor for weeks. In a few frenzied moments, the Japanese pilots dropped five armor-piercing bombs onto the lumbering giant. Nevada then received orders from the harbor control tower to stay clear of the channel, leaving only one possible course of action, to beach the battleship and thereby prevent it from sinking.

Harris: When we got underway, the first ship we passed was Monaghan, which was stuck in the mud after making a high-speed depth-charge run on a Japanese submarine. Eight Jap planes were attacking her, and she was shooting back at them like mad. We could see her screws backing furiously trying to get her off that mud.

Miller: As we passed Monaghan, guys on both ships waved a friendly goodbye.

Harris: Then we passed by the old Utah, which was rolling over and going under. All this time I was just a standing there in the hatchway of the radio shack, a-gawkin’ at all this like some old country boy.

Ernest Schnabel: As we left our berth and got underway, the deck force was still engaged in getting ready for combat. One young bosun named Fuller had the job of clearing the deck of all the wooden objects that collected in port. And there was a lot of it, because in port we had all these awnings rigged to keep the tropical sun off the decks. You also had to get rid of all the wooden swabs, buckets, and boxes because if a machine gun bullet from a Japanese plane were to strike any of it, slivers would fly all over the place just like shrapnel.

So Fuller was making his way aft, just tossing stuff like a madman when he came to the wooden ice cream gedunk. He grabbed it and was just starting to push it over the side when one of the guys said, “Hey, wait a minute!”

Back in 1941, ice cream was a mighty precious commodity in the destroyer Navy. Today you can find ice cream and sugar candy on almost any street corner. But back then, we tin can sailors had to get our ice cream off the bigger ships that had the equipment to make it. They almost always figured out ways to make us pay for it, too! So that young bosun struck a nerve when he made moves to toss all the ship’s ice cream over the side.

In a matter of seconds, the lock was broken and the ice cream distributed among the crew. Then Fuller kicked the empty wooden gedunk over the side. So what you saw was USS Dale steaming hell bent out into the channel, while the guys back aft were standing by their guns eating ice cream and watching World War II break out all around them.

Reichert: Then we passed by Nevada, which was backing down the other channel. Her crew was pumping water over the side like crazy with portable pumps rigged-up with handy-billys. You could tell she was going to try and beach herself on the mud to keep the channel clear.

“Dutch” Smith: The minute we got around Nevada, all hell broke loose. Before that, we were like spectators at someone else’s fight. The Japs didn’t pay us much attention, attacking the bigger ships instead. But when we rounded Nevada they came after us with just about everything they had. We were the first ship to head out of Pearl Harbor, and they wanted to sink us in the channel and bottle up the fleet.

Miller: We were in a select position to be the first ship in the channel, and the high-level bombers were waiting for us. If they could sink us they would block up the channel and then have a field day with all the ships trapped in the harbor. The bombs they were using were sixteen-inch armor-piercing battleship rounds with fins welded to them. Being only thirty-four feet wide, the bombs straddled us and sank deep into the mud before they exploded and showered us with mud and rocks.

“Dutch” Smith: There were bombs falling all around. And they were armor-piercing bombs, which buried themselves deep in the mud on the bottom of the channel before blowing up. The explosions sent huge fountains of water and stinking mud up higher than Dale’s radio mast. That’s when we really opened up with every gun we had.

Eugene Brewer: On the way out, I was stationed aft at the manual steering hatch cover in case we lost steering on the bridge. An enemy plane dropped two bombs at us. One hit to the starboard, and the other fell into the water right next to the boat davit where I was standing. The explosion sent up a huge fountain of stinking mud that fell all over us. But nobody panicked. It was like being in a movie where everyone was calm even though all hell is breaking loose.

Deppe: Our depth charges and torpedoes were locked up in the magazines down below, and our job was to get them all up on deck and ready to use. We had to lift them up to the deck with chainfalls and then get their exploder mechanisms together. The exploders were little tubes about two inches long that contained fulminate of mercury, which was very explosive and could easily blow up in your hands. You had to load that tube of mercury into the torpedoes and depth charges while Dale was steaming full speed up the channel and the Jap planes were dropping bombs on us.

Reichert: We saw a plane flying low and slow out in the sugar cane fields and started blasting away at it. Thinking back, I also remember seeing a few civilian cars on the road that were most likely out for a Sunday morning drive. Our ammo and our aim were so erratic, I’ll bet we scared the hell out of those drivers! Probably the safest place to be that morning was in that Jap plane!

McIntyre: We usually steamed out of Pearl Harbor at a very careful five knots. But on December 7 we steamed out at twenty-five knots!

Cruce: The big question on the way out was the sub net. Was it open or closed? The net was a barricade stretched across the harbor entrance to prevent submarines from sneaking into the harbor. It had a little tender that stretched it back and forth. If the net was closed, we were in big trouble because we’d be penned in and a perfect sitting duck for the Jap planes trying so hard to sink us. So everyone aboard was hoping to see it open. And it was!

Miller: When we passed the submarine nets we were making thirty knots. Shrapnel was falling like rain around us as a result of all the anti-aircraft fire. As we passed the first entrance buoy to the channel we sighted a formation of silver bombers flying high in the clouds. Next a bomb struck close to the starboard side and blew mud and salt water all over the ship. Another skipper bomb landed close to the port side, barely missing us. Another passed our stern and still another crossed our bow. They were trying their best to sink us and block the channel. Dale must have been wearing her good luck charm, for nary a thing touched us.

Rorschach, Captain’s Log: At 09:07, cleared the entrance buoys and by stopping the port engine and coming hard left rudder, caused a flight of three enemy dive-bombers to overshoot their mark. As they went by on the starboard side close to the water, machine gun fire from Dale struck the leading plane causing it to burst into flame and crash into the water on the outer starboard side of the restricted area. The remaining two planes made a half-hearted attempt to attack again but were driven off by machine gun fire.

Cruce: We darned near took a bomb running out of the channel. We made a hard turn to port, and the bomb landed exactly where we would have been. The explosion threw mud clean up over the bridge and the entire ship. Though it missed us, the concussion did knock out a circuit breaker on our port lube pump. And nobody noticed it was out. This would cause us big trouble a little later.

Schneider: When we got out of the harbor we got orders over the radio to look for the Jap fleet, as nobody knew where it was. We were all afraid the Jap battleships would steam in from over the horizon and finish off what the airplanes had missed. It would have been pretty easy for them to do, as Pearl Harbor was a complete shambles and unable to protect itself. They could have steamed back and forth ten miles offshore and just wiped us clean out with their big guns.

Rorschach, Captain’s Log: 09:11, Dale established offshore patrol in sector one. Due to repeated airplane attacks the ship was forced to make frequent changes of course and to run at high speed, thereby rendering the sound gear inoperative. It may be of interest to note that a great number of the bursts on the water were of the nature of exploding five-inch shells rather than bombs. It is believed that either the fuses were not cut on many of our five-inch projectiles, or that they were not operative.

Sturgill: Outside, we passed some Japanese sampans running for Honolulu. They were flying white flags from their masts. And they were white flags, not rags or pieces of clothing! Without thinking, I grabbed a rifle and took aim. But before I could shoot, someone grabbed the rifle away.

Rorschach, Captain’s Log: 11:14, USS Worden (Commander Destroyer Squadron One) sortied. Dale formed on Worden as the third ship in column. After investigating the falsely reported presence of the three enemy transports off Barbers Point, formed inner anti-submarine screen on the USS Detroit, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Astoria. Dale was assigned station nine. The Task Force speed was twenty-five knots. At 14:10, the L.P. pinion bearings on the reduction gear of the port engine wiped. An attempt was made to stay with the assigned Task Force, but as the maximum speed attainable with one engine was twenty-two knots, Dale fell steadily behind. The starboard engine began heating excessively, forcing a further reduction of speed to ten knots. Retired to the southward at 16:54. Stopped at 19:30 and lay to attempting repairs.

Reichert: When we lay to, things got real quiet, real fast. There were no other ships. We did not know where the Japs were. We did not know where our task force was. There was just us, stopped dead in the night under complete radio silence.

Sturgill: There were two crews aboard Dale that night. One crew was made up of all of us trying to fix the burned-out pinion bearing. The other crew was made up of those waiting for the bearing to get fixed. I’m glad I was one of the fixers, because the waiters really had it tough that night!

Harris: We were under radio silence all night long, but that didn’t keep us from monitoring the traffic. And there was a lot of it to monitor. All night long, we got plain language broadcasts out of Pearl. Some broadcasts said Pearl was being attacked again. Others said the Jap fleet was steaming in for another attack. It was all panic gossip, but since we were under orders not to use our radio, we just had to sit there and listen all night.

Brewer: We were the perfect target for the Japanese subs that seemed to be just about everywhere that day. Why heck, we had been dropping depth charges on them all day long, and now it was night, and we were dead in the water! But maybe even worse than the Japanese subs were our own ships, which were shooting first and asking questions later. Someone got the bright idea to drape our largest American flag over the torpedo tubes so our own forces wouldn’t shoot us up. But that sure didn’t solve our submarine problem!

Cruce: Dale’s decks were crowded with crew that night, because nobody wanted to be caught down below if we were going to be torpedoed. The only sailors down below were those trying to fix the bearing. Everyone else stayed topside and watched for submarines.

“Dutch” Smith: I had been without sleep for thirty hours and was still too afraid to go below. Sometime, way deep in the early hours, I finally just curled up on the deck and fell asleep.

Reichert: It hit me hard that night we were laying to outside Pearl Harbor. We were at war! And I just knew it was going to be a long, long war. Where would it take me? Would I survive? Would I ever get to see home again? And I knew the war was going to be just like that day, December 7, had been. We simply would never know what was going to happen to us next.

Sturgill: We pulled the pinion bearing out, saw that it was scoured pretty badly and took it up to the machine shop. We had a lot of help up there. Too much help! Nobody liked being dead in the water with all those enemy subs out there, so everyone wanted to help fix the bearing.

Gaddis: We caught sight of the task force returning in the pre-dawn light and were very frightened. We had no radar and were under orders to maintain radio silence, so we had no way to signal our position to task force. The chief quartermaster “suggested strongly” to Ensign Radell that we break radio silence and call out our position before the task force blasted us out of the water. Much to the relief of everyone on the bridge, Radell picked up the mike and called us in. We soon formed up on the task force. Boy, was that ever a good feeling after a night of being dead in the water!

Rorschach, Captain’s Log: Rendezvoused with Task Force at dawn but as full repairs to the engine were impossible without the assistance of the tender, Dale could not maintain her assigned screening station. Under orders of Commander Destroyers, Battle Force, Dale established offshore patrol in sector one until the entrance of Task Group 8.4.

Reichert: When we went into Pearl that night with the task force it was very dark. We could barely make out the fires still smoldering on Ford Island, but couldn’t see much more. We’d move up the channel thirty yards, drop anchor, get our bearings, wait our turn and then move up another thirty yards.

Huntley: The harbor was a mess. The battleship Nevada was partially sunk and grounded, nearly blocking the harbor entrance. As a result, the ships in the task force entering the harbor had to anchor in the neck and wait for orders to proceed. Everyone aboard and ashore was very nervous. Any sudden movement or flashes of light justified a few exploratory rounds of fire from the jittery guards posted all around the harbor.

My job that night was to let the bridge know when the anchor was free of the bottom. The job quickly became a nightmare, because every time I turned on my flashlight to check on the anchor, some nervous guard on the beach would send a few rounds of .50-caliber tracer bullets over our head.

Gaddis: Ensign Radell had been in continual command of Dale from the first moments of the attack, and was plenty glad to see Captain Rorschach come aboard outside of Pearl that Monday afternoon. In appreciation, Captain Rorschach allowed Radell to keep the conn on the way back into Pearl that night with the task force.

I was standing watch up on the flying bridge when Captain Rorschach lit up a cigarette to calm his nerves. There was a lot of incredible maneuvering we had to do in the dark that night, so there was a lot for him to be nervous about. But when his match flared, we took a couple of rounds from one of the guards posted along the harbor. I quickly walked to the other side of the bridge, but the captain followed. He took a deep drag, his cigarette flared, and we took another few rounds. I walked to the other side of the bridge, the captain again followed, and several more rounds again smacked into steel behind us. “What the hell are those guys shooting at?” he exclaimed.

“I think they’re shooting at your cigarette, Sir!” I answered. He then flipped the cigarette over the side, which drew a few more rounds, and that was the end of Captain Rorschach’s cigarettes for the night.

Schnabel: Dawn brought a scene of unimaginable disaster. Fires smoldered and smoke rose everywhere you looked in the harbor. We tied up to the tender, which went right to work repairing our burned-out bearing. The crew was still very much on edge, and we went to General Quarters many times throughout the day.

Reichert: Looking up Battleship Row that morning, I couldn’t see a single mast standing tall and straight. All of them were cocked sideways, which meant our battleships were either sunk or sinking.

“Dutch” Smith: You know, if the big battleships like Nevada had their watertight integrity together, they would have been darn hard to sink. But it was Sunday morning, and all the hatchways were wide open. They just caught us with our pants down. There’s one thing the Japanese didn’t count on, though. By taking out all the old battleships, they increased the speed of the fleet from twenty-one knots to thirty knots!

Michael Olson interviewed 44 crewmen of USS Dale before writing Autobiography of a Tin Can (Zenith, 2007), from which this article is adapted. He writes for newspapers and magazines from Santa Cruz, California.

This article was written by Michael Olson and originally published in the Summer 2007 issue of MHQ Magazine. For more great articles, subscribe to MHQ magazine today!

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First Barbary War

When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated in March of 1801, he inherited troubled relations with the Barbary states — the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, along with independent Morocco. The United States had treaties with all four, but tension was high and rising.

American representatives in the region wanted an American naval presence. They regularly, if less eloquently, echoed the 1793 view of their colleague in Lisbon: "When we can appear in the Ports of the various Powers, or on the Coast, of Barbary, with Ships of such force as to convince those nations that We are able to protect our trade, and to compel them if necessary to keep faith with Us, then, and not before, we may probably secure a large share of the Meditn: trade, which would largely and speedily compensate the U.S. for the Cost of a maritime force amply sufficient to keep all those Pirates in Awe, and also make it their interest to keep faith."1 The new president was fully aware of the situation. In 1790, as secretary of state, he had reported to Congress on the subject in some detail, and he had been directly involved in the region even earlier.2

In 1784 Congress had appointed Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin as peace commissioners to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with the principal states of Europe and the Mediterranean — including the Barbary states. Already in Europe, the commissioners quickly learned that the Europeans made peace with the Barbary powers through treaties that involved annual payments of tribute — sometimes euphemistically called annuities. The merchant vessels of any country without such a treaty were at the mercy of the state-sponsored maritime marauders known as corsairs, sometimes mislabeled pirates.3 The commissioners reported this practice to Congress and sought guidance.4

The Barbary challenge to American merchant shipping sparked a great deal of debate over how to cope with corsair aggression, actual or threatened. Jefferson's early view guided him in future years. In November 1784, he doubted the American people would be willing to pay annual tribute. "Would it not be better to offer them an equal treaty. If they refuse, why not go to war with them?"5 A month later, having learned that a small American brig had been seized by a Moroccan corsair in the Atlantic, he emphasized the hard line: "Our trade to Portugal, Spain, and the Mediterranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive. Tribute or war is the usual alternative of these pirates. If we yeild the former, it will require sums which our people will feel. Why not begin a navy then and decide on war? We cannot begin in a better cause nor against a weaker foe."6 Jefferson was convinced this solution would be more honorable, more effective, and less expensive than paying tribute.7

In addition, he believed that America wanted to be a trading nation, and "to carry as much as possible" in our own vessels. "But," he wrote James Monroe, "this will require a protecting force on the sea. Otherwise the smallest powers in Europe, every one which possesses a single ship of the line may dictate to us, and enforce their demands by captures on our commerce. Some naval force then is necessary if we mean to be commercial." However, for the task then before him, he added, "if it be decided that their peace shall be bought it shall engage my most earnest endeavours."8 And that would be the approach John Adams favored. He believed that paying tribute would be more economical and easier than convincing the people of the United States to fund the building of a navy.9

Congress did decide that peace was to be bought. They authorized $80,000 for negotiations. The Commissioners sent American consul Thomas Barclay to Morocco and Connecticut sea captain John Lamb to Algiers. In Morocco the draft treaty Barclay carried with him was accepted with only minor changes. Jefferson, Adams, and Congress were very satisfied. The Morocco treaty made American vessels safe from Moroccan corsairs and there was no call for future tribute.10

The offer of an equal treaty did not work elsewhere in Barbary. Algiers was much more dependent than Morocco on the fruits of corsairing — captured goods, slaves, the ransoms they brought, and tribute — and was less amenable to a peace treaty with the United States. While planning the Barbary missions the American Commissioners had learned that two American ships — the Maria and the Dauphin — had been captured by Algerine corsairs. As a result, Lamb was instructed to negotiate ransom for the captives in Algiers as well as a peace treaty to prevent further attacks on American vessels. This plan proved impossible with the limited budget Congress had approved.11

After the failure of the Lamb mission in 1786 Jefferson made further futile attempts to launch negotiations with the dey of Algiers, both from Paris and later as secretary of state under President Washington. During these years American vessels in the Mediterranean sailed in convoy with European ships, often with Portuguese naval protection, flew European flags illegally, or ventured out at considerable risk from Barbary corsairs. In the Atlantic, the Morocco treaty provided protection from Moroccan corsairs and the Portuguese navy kept corsairs from Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli in the Mediterranean. That method was changed by an Algiers-Portugal treaty in 1793. In a very few months Algerine corsairs seized eleven American merchant vessels — at least ten of them in the Atlantic — with over 100 crewmen and passengers.12

Jefferson was no longer secretary of state in 1795 when America finally did make peace with Algiers, agreeing to pay annual tribute. The following year, once the U.S. met its initial treaty commitments, the Americans held in Algiers were freed, including the few survivors from the Maria and the Dauphin. Treaties were also concluded with Tripoli, in 1796, and Tunis, in 1797. Soon after, American consuls were appointed in each Barbary state.13

The news from these consuls that awaited the new administration in 1801 was distressing. Tension was particularly great with Tripoli. Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli, feeling slighted by the Americans, was threatening war. He was convinced the Americans treated him less well than they did the other Barbary rulers. He was right, but Tunis and Algiers had negotiated better treaties. In October 1800, five months before Jefferson took office, the American consul in Tripoli, James Cathcart, summarized the long, rambling messages he had been sending the secretary of state and others for a year or more. In short, he said, the pasha's message is "if you don't give me a present I will forge a pretext to capture your defenseless merchantmen he likewise says that he expects an answer as soon as possible, and that any delay on our side will only serve to injure our own interests."14

A week after Cathcart's letter was written in October 1800, a Tripolitan corsair took a captive American brig, the Catharine, into Tripoli. The pasha immediately ordered the Catharine and her crew released and dismissed the corsair captain. His explanation: he had told the president that "before he would take any measures whatsoever against the United States" he would wait for the president's answer to his letter of five months earlier (May 25, 1800).15 Later, however, in a meeting with Cathcart, Captain Carpenter of the Catharine, and local officials, the pasha declared that he wanted money from America, that he would wait six more months for an acceptable reply to his letter to the president, and that he would declare war on the United States if the answer did not arrive in that time or was unsatisfactory. Reporting on that public ultimatum, Cathcart explained to the secretary of state why America owed nothing to the pasha and how the pasha was regularly at war with some country or other from which he would demand beneficial negotiations. (The pasha was then at war with Sweden, which would soon agree to pay annual tribute and ransom for 131 captives. Fourteen Swedish merchantmen had been seized by Tripolitan corsairs since the angered pasha had broken an existing treaty and declared war a few months earlier.)16

The demanding, threatening language Cathcart reported to the secretary of state was more explicit than the pasha's unanswered letter to President Adams of May 25 but no more so than the exchanges Cathcart had related then and previously.17 The consul had followed his report with a circular letter in November to American consuls and agents in the Mediterranean. He advised them to warn American ships of the possibility of hostile action by Tripolitan corsairs from the month of March, or possibly sooner, a warning he repeated in January after Tripoli made peace with Sweden.18 In February, efforts by the dey of Algiers and Cathcart to ease tensions with the pasha were fruitless, producing only more confirmation of the likelihood of war as the corsair fleet began fitting out.19 On February 21, 1801, in a new circular letter, Cathcart told the consuls and agents, "to detain all Merchant Vessels Navegating under the Flag of the U. States, in Port, and by no means to permit any of them to Sail unless they are under Convoy, as I am convinced that the Bashaw of Tripoli will commence Hostilitys against the U. States of America in less than Sixty Days."20

With the Quasi-War with France ended by the Convention of 1800, the incoming Jefferson administration turned its attention to the looming trouble in Barbary. The new president very quickly made his decisions. He would arrange the payments long overdue to the rulers in Algiers and Tunis and following his convictions of earlier years he would send the navy to deal with the maritime forces of Barbary, of whose strength he himself prepared an estimate from documents sent him by the navy department.21 The American navy had just been reduced to modest size, but its first ships had been commissioned in response to the Algerine seizures of American merchantmen in 1793 and it was time to show the navy in Barbary waters.

Early in June, barely three months after the inauguration, a small squadron — three frigates and a schooner — sailed for the Mediterranean under Commodore Richard Dale. If they found on arrival that war had been declared, the squadron was to protect American shipping from the corsairs and to "chastise their insolence — by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them." The squadron was also to blockade the harbor of any of the regencies that had declared war on America and, to the extent possible, was to convoy merchantmen when asked. In addition, Commodore Dale was to take to Algiers and Tunis letters, gifts for the rulers, tribute payments in the case of Algiers, and assurances to both rulers that overdue tribute was soon to be forthcoming on other vessels. And, Dale was to go to Tripoli. There he would deliver the president's letter to the pasha and, if still at peace, could give Cathcart money for a gift to the pasha.22

Jefferson's letter to Pasha Qaramanli emphasized "our sincere desire to cultivate peace & commerce with your subjects." Also mentioned was our dispatch to the Mediterranean of "a squadron of observation" whose "appearance [we hope] will give umbrage to no power." The squadron's purpose, the letter explained, was to exercise our seamen and to "superintend the safety of our commerce … [which] we mean to rest … on the resources of our own strength & bravery in every sea."23 Meanwhile, Secretary of State James Madison wrote American consuls in the Mediterranean that the president, convinced "of the hostile purposes of the Bashaw of Tripoli" was sending a naval squadron to protect our commerce in the Mediterranean and to respond appropriately to any powers who declared war on the United States.24

The pasha, unfortunately, had not waited to hear from the new president. Yusuf Qaramanli declared war on the United States on May 14, 1801, by chopping down the flagpole at the American consulate in Tripoli.25

On arrival at Gibraltar on July 1, Commodore Dale learned we were at war with Tripoli. During the next few months, squadron vessels blocked two Tripolitan corsairs in Gibraltar, delivered goods and messages in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, escorted American merchant ships, and briefly blockaded Tripoli harbor. In the only real action that year, the schooner Enterprize engaged and soundly defeated the Tripolitan ship Tripoli off the coast of Malta on August 1.26

In his annual address to Congress at the end of the year, Jefferson reported on the demands of the pasha, concluded that "the style of the demand admitted but one answer," and described the action taken to date. That action had been taken without any consultation with Congress, but the president now asked for formal and expanded power to deal with Barbary.27 Two months later Congress passed an act authorizing him to instruct naval commanders to seize Tripolitan goods and vessels, and to commission privateers to aid in the effort.28

During the following three years the pasha maintained his demands and the United States, rotating ships and crews, maintained its naval presence in the Mediterranean as well as diplomatic efforts to make peace. In 1802, Jefferson was reportedly of the view "that the time is come when negotiations may advantageously take place."29 He was to be disappointed.Tripolitan corsairs evaded the blockade and American merchantmen were captured. Most escaped their captors only one was carried into port, the Franklin, in 1802, and the five Americans on it were quickly ransomed. In Algiers, U.S. Consul General Richard O'Brien sarcastically remarked without comment: "It is asserted that there are at sea, at present, six sail of Tripoline corsairs & it is asserted that the frigates of the United States & those of Sweden are blockading Tripoli."30 Nor did the blockade stop Tripoli's trade with other Barbary powers. It did, however, interfere with it, and the other rulers sided with the pasha. The possibility of Tunis and/or Morocco entering the war became a serious concern off and on throughout 1802.

By then Jefferson was reconsidering his position. He had inherited a national debt that he was determined to eliminate, but the challenge posed by Tripoli could not be ignored. The old question was still debated: which would be less costly, tribute or war? The president had argued in favor of the latter but, as 1802 advanced, war was proving to be more difficult and more costly than anticipated — it would be even more so if other Barbary powers became involved. "[T]hey know they cannot meet us with force any more than they could France, Spain or England," he wrote from Monticello at the end of March. "[T]heir system is a war of little expence to them which must put the great nations to a greater expence than the presents which would buy it off."31 He was still as much against buying peace and paying tribute as he had been since first dealing with Barbary in 1784 it was a matter of principle. But one had to be practical as well as principled.32

Back in Washington ten days later, Jefferson asked his cabinet whether we should purchase peace with Tripoli. All agreed that buying peace should be an option. The next day, Secretary Madison wrote Cathcart: "… it is thought best that you should not be tied down to a refusal of presents whether to be included in the peace, or to be made from time to time during its continuance, especially as in the latter case the title to the presents will be a motive to its continuance." He was given explicit dollar limits and reminded that any engagements should be kept smaller if possible.33

A complete change in negotiators had also occurred. Cathcart was no longer welcome in Tripoli, Tunis, or Algiers Consul William Eaton had left Tunis on orders from the bey and returned to America and Tobias Lear had arrived as Consul General in Algiers in November 1803 to replace Richard O'Brien, who had long sought to leave the post. Lear was also to take over negotiations with the pasha in Tripoli with instructions based on Cathcart's revised guidance, allowing presents on treaty signature, periodic tribute, and ransom for captives if necessary.34

A new commodore for the Mediterranean squadron was also named in 1803, Captain Edward Preble. He had barely arrived when he was told that Morocco was at war with America and Moroccan corsairs were looking for American merchantmen. Commodore Preble spent his first month in the region dealing with Morocco. Early in October, with four American navy warships in Tangier harbor the troublesome issues were resolved peaceably by Commodore Preble and Consul James Simpson.35

The most important naval action in 1803 involved the frigate Philadelphia, which ran aground near Tripoli in October. The pasha imprisoned the 307-man crew and refloated and repaired the stricken vessel. Before they could make any use of her, though, on February 16, 1804, a U.S. navy team under Lt. Stephen Decatur slipped into Tripoli harbor after dark and set fires on board that totally destroyed the Philadelphia. The loss of the frigate weakened the American squadron, while captives from the Philadelphia gave the pasha new leverage and prospects of substantial ransom.36

When news of the Philadelphia's loss reached America, Jefferson and his colleagues began looking for a way to send at least two more frigates to the Mediterranean. Congress rallied behind the president and the navy, approving a new tax and new expenditures for the war.37 After initial political and public criticism of the president due to the devastating loss, widespread public support was stimulated by Stephen Decatur's successful stealth mission under Tripoli's guns.38

Jefferson's thinking about how to deal with the Barbary challenge had evolved with experience. Already in 1803, planning to add smaller vessels to the squadron and just before approving presents for peace and annual tribute, he had written his Secretary of the Navy, "I have never believed in any effect from a shew of force to those powers … but [if one works within their system of presents and tribute] the warring on them at times will keep the demand of presents within bounds. the important thing for us now is to dispatch our small vessels."39 A year later, in 1804, he decided the current squadron was not big enough to do the job. Newly-appointed Commodore Samuel Barron would command eleven vessels, "a force which would be able beyond the possibility of a doubt, to coerce the Enemy to a peace upon Terms compatible with our Honor and our Interest."40 The expanded squadron would be more than twice the size of the original one three years earlier and its mix of frigates, brigs, and smaller vessels would be better suited to its mission.

With his expanded fleet, Commodore Barron was to maintain "an effectual Blockade of Tripoli" and was instructed "by all other means in your power annoy the Enemy so as to force him to a peace honorable to the United States." Negotiations to that end were left in the hands of Tobias Lear, Consul General in Algiers, with whom Barron would "cordially co-operate . in all such measures as may be deemed the best calculated to effectuate a termination of The war with Tripoli and to ensure a continuance of the friendship and respect of the other Barbary Powers."41

After arriving on the scene, if Barron judged it expedient he was authorized to support an overland attack on Tripoli by forces supporting the restoration to power of Hamet Qaramanli, an older brother ousted in a 1796 coup by Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli.42 That idea had been proposed in 1801 by James Cathcart and also by William Eaton who knew the exiled Hamet in Tunis when he was American consul there. The proposal had received qualified approval from Secretary of State Madison in 1802.43

Commodore Barron arrived in the Mediterranean in the fall of 1804 with Eaton, now American Naval Agent for Barbary and anxious to implement his scheme to lead ex-pasha Hamet overland to attack Tripoli.44 With or without a change of pasha, however, peace was Jefferson's objective. A few days after Secretary Madison had given hesitant support to Eaton's plan back in 1802, Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith wrote Commodore Richard Morris, who was then commanding the squadron in the Mediterranean: "In adjusting the terms of Peace with the Dey of Tripoli, whatever regard may be had to the situation of his Brother, it is not to be considered by you of sufficient magnitude to prevent or even to retard a final settlement with the Dey. Mr. Eton in this affair cannot be considered an authorized agent of the Government."45

Barron had doubts about involving Hamet, but Eaton and Captain Preble persuaded him. On November 16, Eaton sailed on the brig Argus to find Hamet in Egypt. Barron may have expected Eaton to bring Hamet to Syracuse for a consultation —that is unclear.46 But, having eventually located him, Eaton helped the ex-pasha put together a collection of a few hundred armed Arabs and Greeks, mostly mercenaries under a handful of disparate leaders. Eaton, Hamet, and several marines marched their "army" nearly 500 miles through the desert along the southern shore of the Mediterranean and, on April 27, 1805, they captured the town of Derne, some miles east of Benghazi. The Argus and two sister ships supplied them with provisions along their march and actively supported them in the taking of Derne (where Hamet had been governor three years before under his brother Yusuf). In the meantime, the American blockade of Tripoli had been maintained through the winter and spring.

Commodore Barron was seriously ill in Syracuse on the island of Sicily, whence he continued to oversee fleet affairs. Concerned that Eaton may be over-committing himself, Barron had written in March to point out that the United States was working with Hamet only to achieve its own ends and was in no way committed to putting him back in power.47 Then, on May 18, he wrote Tobias Lear that, from what he had learned of Hamet Qaramanli, he could no longer support the plan involving the ex-pasha. He noted that the condition of some of his vessels and periods of enlistment of his personnel precluded another winter of blockade, was concerned about the fate of the American prisoners held by the pasha, and thought it time to respond to encouraging hints from Tripoli favoring negotiation. Not mentioned, but no doubt also on his mind, his health would not permit him to lead an attack on Tripoli that summer.48 Indeed, he handed command of the squadron to Captain John Rodgers less than a week later.

Lear sailed from Syracuse for Tripoli on May 24. Negotiations began shortly after his arrival, preliminary articles were agreed June 3, and the American captives from the Philadelphia were embarked on U.S. vessels June 4. The final document was signed on the tenth. It involved neither payment for peace nor annual tribute. Based on the difference between the numbers of captives held on the two sides, ransom of $60,000 was agreed, well below the limit given Lear. Far to the east, the Americans, Hamet, and his close associates left Derne on board American naval vessels June 12. The Senate ratified the treaty April 12, 1806.49

The conclusion of the war in 1805 set off a wave of national pride among Americans, inspiring artwork and patriotic songs. But the circumstances under which peace was achieved gave President Jefferson's political opponents ammunition to criticize his decisions. The Federalists championed the cause of William Eaton, who complained that the American navy had abandoned Hamet Qaramanli and Eaton's plan to reinstall him as pasha. Eaton felt that if his plan had been carried through, the United States would have won a more glorious victory.50

Inhabitants [ edit | edit source ]

Through its history, Impiltur had largely been a human nation, but was home to a great many dwarves and halflings. Ζ] The human populace was largely comprised of those of the Chondathan or Damaran ethnicity. Ώ] Δ] While the Impilturan were more accustomed to seeing other races by the late 14 th century, elves and half-elves were still rare, drawing eyes wherever they went. Ώ] Β] Halflings that did not acclimate to city life tended to live in tiny villages such as Klandle, Mistrenpost, and Ondle's Spur. ⎣]

Impiltur has often been a refuge for those who sought asylum from war and conflict in nearby lands. During the mid-14 th century the Tuigan Horde displaced a great many people who fled to Impiltur as refugees, which led to mass food shortages, increased poverty and even regional starvation for a brief time. Ώ] Those who fled the neighboring realm of Narfell resettled in Impiltur and found new lives as farmers and miners. Δ]

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