Letter from William Bainbridge to Edward Preble, 18 February 1804
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Placed in command of the USS Philadelphia, Captain William Bainbridge was sent to enforce a blockade of Tripoli but, on 21 October 1803, mistakenly ran the ship aground on an uncharted reef. The frigate was captured by the Pasha of Tripoli, and Bainbridge and his crewmen were imprisoned for nineteen months. They were released from prison on 3 June 1805 after four separate bombardments from Commodore Edward Preble's squadron. Two days before Bainbridge wrote this letter, the USS Philadelphia was destroyed in a night raid by the the USS Intrepid to prevent the captured frigate from falling into enemy hands.