Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Ebenezer Elmer 1804 Autograph Letter With Barbary Wars Content. Two pages, 8.25" x 10", Washington City, March 19, 1804, to an unnamed recipient. An exciting letter filled with news of the capture of the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia off the shores of Tripoli during the Barbary Wars. Ebenezer Elmer (1752-1843), at the time a Congressman from New Jersey, writes "The news of the Capture of the Frigate Philad.a has occasioned some agitation; & if true, of which there can be little doubt, will produce considerable embarrassment. More efficient & energetic measures must be pursued in the war with Tripoli, & on the Barbary coast." On October 31, 1803 the frigate Philadelphia ran aground on an uncharted reef just off the coast of Tripoli harbor and her officers and crew made slaves by the Pasha. Ebenezer Elmer may have been pleased to know that scarcely a month before his letter was written a clandestine mission was undertaken by the U.S. Navy in which a volunteer party of officers and men boarded the Philadelphia and burned her where she lay. British admiral Horatio Nelson referred to the act as "the most bold and daring act of the age". The letter is remarkably bright and legible, with the usual fold creases, and some light toning, else fine. From the collection of Henry E. Luhrs.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    27th Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 798

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold on Oct 27, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 12 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search