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Annapolis: U.S. Naval Academy (27 sculptures)
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Tripoli Monument at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland
by Giovanni C Micali

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0003000/03204_0010005999 (added ca. 2006)


TO THE MEMORY OF SOMERS, CALDWELL, DECATUR, WADSWORTH, DORSEY, ISRAEL

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0003000/03204_0010002819 (added ca. 2006)


TO THE MEMORY OF SOMERS, CALDWELL, DECATUR, WADSWORTH, DORSEY, ISRAEL

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0003000/03204_0010002829 (added ca. 2006)



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0003000/03204_0010002859 (added ca. 2006)



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0003000/03204_0010006009 (added ca. 2006)



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0003000/03204_0010006049 (added ca. 2006)



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0003000/03204_0010002849 (added ca. 2006)


THE TRIPOLI MONUMENT
The oldest military monument in the United States honors heroes of the War against the Barbary Coast Pirates, the new republic's first war. In 1804, President Jefferson ordered the nation's tiny naval force to the Mediterranean to protect the expanding trade of the new United States against the pirates, who demanded ransom for safe passage of merchant ships. "Millions for defense, but not on cent for tribute" became the rallying cry for this war. Jefferson's action established the doctrine of extension of power overseas and created a permanent United States Navy.

On "the shores of Tripoli," young Americans took brave actions against the pirates, including torching their own grounded vessel, the USS Philadelphia, to prevent her use by the pirates. Six men were killed before Tripoli's "pasha" relented. Congress cited them for their gallantry and Captain David Porter, one of the pirates' captives, instituted a campaign for a monument to honor his former shipmates, now heroes.

The monument was carved in 1806 in Italy, of Carrera marble, and brought to the United States as ballast on board the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). From the Washington Navy Yard it moved to the west terrace of the national Capitol. It has stood at the Naval Academy since 1860.

Renovation of the Monument was completed in June 2000 through the leadership of CAPT Warren B. Johnson '47, thanks to gifts from the VADM Eliot H Bryant & Miriam H Bryant Endowments and Friends of the Save the Tripoli Monument Committee.

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0003000/03204_0010002889 (added ca. 2006)


The love of Glory inspired them - Fame has crowned their deeds - History records the event - The children of Columbia admire - And commerce laments their fall

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0003000/03204_0010002899 (added ca. 2006)


Erected in the memory of Captain Richard Somers, Lieutenant James Caldwell, James Decatur, Henry Wadsworth, Joseph Israel and John Dorsey who fell in the different attacks that were made on the [city?] of Tripoli in the Year of our Lord 180? and in the 28[th] year of the independence of the United States

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0003000/03204_0010002909 (added ca. 2006)


As a small tribute of respect to their memory and of admiration of their valour so worthy of imitation their brother officers have erected this monument

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0003000/03204_0010002919 (added ca. 2006)


The monument is in front of the 'Officers & Faculty Club'

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0003000/03204_0010006059 (added ca. 2006)


This brochure was forwarded to dcMemorials.com by Mr. Jorge E. Rivera Toro

The Tripoli Monument
The oldest military statue in the United States
(Carved in 1806)
Located at the U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis Maryland

Physical Description of the Monument
The "TRIPOLI" or "Naval" Monument (as it was known initially) was carved in 17th century allegorical style. An art form not easily understood by contemporary Americans, the sculptor used human-like figures to depict the ideals of glory, fame, history & commerce. It was built to stand fifteen feet high, but was raised on a large block of stone when moved to the Capitol building. The Tripoli monument was carved of fifty-two blocks of Italian Carrera marble from the same quarry used by Michaelangelo.
The central 'rostral column' is patterned after the one used in Rome's Coliseum. It contains images of the prows of enemy ships that had been captured. Surmounting the column is an American eagle, rumored to have been patterned after a gold button from an American naval officer's uniform. The winged angel-like figure, flanking the column and somtimes mistaken for that of "Winged Victory" symbolizes "Fame." At one corner "History" is seen recording the deeds of the Tripolitan heroes for whom the monument is erected. "Commerce" is the figure who honors the Mediterranean Fleet's role in preserving U.S. trade near the Barbary Coast. An Italian interpretation of an American Indian symbolizes the young nation, expanding westward, with the child-like figures at her feet. This maden represents "Columbia," or what is now "America."
There is speculation among some conservators that the 4 figures are displaced from their original orientation. They surmise that the configuration was likely adjusted when the monument was moved to the west terrace of the Capitol Building from the Navy Yard in 1830. Tripoli is the oldest military monument in this country - and America's first monument to be accepted by the U.S. Congress.

Lithograph of the "Naval Monument" (later called the "Tripoli Monument") as it appeared when first erected at the Washington Navy Yard in 1808. Note alignment of figures shown here & compare with those of later photos.

The Tripoli Monument may be found to the east of the Officers' & Faculty Club, between Preble Hall (The Museum) & Leahy Hall, just inside the Maryland Ave Gate, United States Naval Academy.

Brochure prepared by CAPT Warren B. Johnson, USN (Retired) USNA Class of 1947, at no expense to the government. Printed with funds donated to the "Save the Tripoli Monument Committe" a prevate group under the auspices of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Assoc. Text edited & photo by Public Affairs Office, USNA. Front page photo by Conservation Solutions, Inc. Reproductions authorized, with credits.
www.tripolimonument.cjb.net


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0003000/03204_0010005619 (added ca. 2006)

More Info

Medium: Marble
Artist: Giovanni C Micali
Location: Decatur Rd between Maryland Ave & Parker Rd (Officer & Faculty Club) Washington, D.C. Suburbs Maryland, US Naval Academy

Nearest Metro:
New Carrollton (Orange) (click station name for all sculptures nearby)
Smithsonian American Art Museum's Art Inventories Catalog: Control number 75005835 (dcMem ID #3204 )

Links & other sources
The Monument Without a Public (The Case of the Tripoli Monument) by Janet A. Headley
American Heritage article including mention of the Tripoli Monument
Maryland Military Monuments Commission
Wikipedia article on the First Barbary War

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