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    [Second Barbary War]. Log Book of the USS Spark. Approximately 150 bound pages, 14.75" x 9.5", various locations in port and at sea, December 14, 1814 through September 15, 1815. This fascinating manuscript records the daily activities of the United States Brig Spark, a 12-gun vessel that was involved in the Second Barbary War fought between the United States and the Ottoman Empire's Barbary states of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algeria. Commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Gamble (1783-1818), the Spark was part of an American squadron under the command of Stephen Decatur (1779-1820). From December 14, 1815 to May 20, 1815, the log documents the vessel's preparation for its departure from New York City to the Mediterranean Sea to engage the Barbary States in battle. Besides the daily record of the weather, the log recounts the various activities necessary to prepare the ship, such as procuring men, supplies, food, water, and armaments and ammunition.

    On May 3, 1815, the log records that the crew "devote part of every day to exercise of great guns, etc." By May 19, the Spark was ready to sail in company with the squadron, consisting of the Guerriere, Constellation, Macedonia, Epervier, Ontario, Firefly, Flambeau, Torch, and Spitfire. Two days later, Gamble writes that the vessel "got under way in company with the Squadron, and stood out to Sea." From this point on, each page of the log offers a daily account of activities. While the Spark is at sea, all of the sections of the log book, in addition to notes on the weather and activities, are filled in, including the hour of the day, the vessel's speed, the depth of the water, the course of the ship, and the direction of the wind.

    As the Spark made its way from the United States to the Mediterranean, the crew was on the constant lookout for Algerian ships. As the log recorded on June 10, 1815, "every thing in complete order to meet the Algerians, which we are in daily expectation of." The next day, a "strange sail" was spotted and the Spark gave chase and boarded a Portuguese vessel, receiving information that "15 days ago, she sailed from Lisbon in company with an Algerian Frigate who had previously made several captures, American & Dutch."

    A week later, on June 17, 1815, the Spark was involved in its first battle. The squadron spotted a strange sail flying English colors, but when the Constellation showed American colors, the other ship began to flee, convincing the Americans that the vessel was Algerian. The log provides a detailed account of what happened next:

    "The Squadron under all Sail and gaining on her fast, the Guerriere & Constellation the nearest-at 2 P.M. the Constellation fires a gun to bring the chase to, but was not complied with-at 5 minutes past 2 the Guerriere fired her Bow Guns, and one minute after brought our Long Gun to bear on her when she returned a Broad Side, hauls down English Colours and hoists Algerian-the Guerriere 10 minute past 2 within musket shot & brought her first division of guns to bear on the Enemy, from which & the musket a constant fire was kept up-continued firing our two Long guns-all the Squadron, Macedonia excepted (who was in chase to Leeward) herd [sic] a few distant shot at hand-25 minutes past 2 the Guerriere shot ahead, and dropped on the Enemy's Lee Bow and gave a general Broad Side, the Enemy's Colours came down, but she continued firing, and in a few minutes again showed colours, and at ½ past 2 her colours came down the second time, her firing now became slow and very irregular, and at 35 minutes past 2 she ceased to make resistance, when I run under her Lee & demand if he has struck, he answers in the affirmative. The Commodore sent his Boat and took possession of her, she proved to be the Algerian Frigate Hermeda of 44 guns and 425 men commanded by Hermeda who was killed, and upwards of 100 of the crew killed and wounded, & the vessel in Spar, Sail, & Rigging a complete wreck."

    Two days later, on June 19, the squadron was again in combat with the Spark in the middle of the action, which was recorded in the log on the next day, June 20, 1815: "at 5 P.M. made out the chase a Brig with Algerian Colours, she bore away and made all Sail, all the Squadron Macedonia & Flambeau excepted in chase. The Epervier and Spark ahead-at 6 the chase hauled up and run in between some small islands-the Epervier & Spark the only vessels followed her through the narrow passages...at ¼ before 7 received order from the Commodore to stand in and take her-at ¼ past 7 anchored within musket shot-the Spark abreast, Epervier on the Quarter, Torch & Spitfire a little outside of us, and at 20 minutes past 7 commenced the action. Our Long Guns spoke for themselves, every shot I believe struck the Brig's Hull-at 27 minutes past 7 the Enemy's Colours were either struck or shot away, and was not hoisted again-soon after she ceased firing, but observing her Boat leaving the Vessel crowded with men we continued our fire at them until 20 minutes past 9, when finding that she did not intend making further resistance, ceased our fire-sent Boats and took possession. She proved to be the Algerian Brig of War Yousuf-of 23 Long Nines, commanded by Hassan Greekly with a complement of 150 men-we suppose from the number killed on taking possession that her loss must have been between twenty & thirty, and a number wounded amongst the latter the Captain badly."

    Lieutenant Gamble must have mistaken the name of the captured ship, as its name was Estedio. Nevertheless, the American Squadron's victories brought about a quick peace. On July 1, 1815, the log of the Spark describes a turn of events that surprised the crew: "at ½ past 2 P.M. made a strange Sail to be an Algerian Corvet standing down before the wind, and directly for the Squadron-at 4 P.M. beat to Quarter, saw all clear for action and manned all the Sweeps...at ½ past 4 the Commodore hoists our Colours, & the White Flag at the Fore, which we were not a little surprised at, as the stranger was evidently an Enemy Vessel of War, & at that moment within Gun Shot of the Guerriere-at 5 P.M. the Commodore communicated by telegraph the unexpected news of peace."

    This log book ends on September 15, 1815. The Spark sailed for home on October 6, 1815 as part of a squadron commanded by Commodore William Bainbridge, and landed in Newport, Rhode Island in November 15. The vessel was later recommissioned in July 1816 and was active until she was decommissioned in 1825. She was later sold in New York in 1826.

    The Second Barbary War was the second conflict between the United States and Barbary States, caused by the attacks on U.S. ships by Barbary pirates if they did not pay tribute to the regencies of Tripoli, Tunic, and Algeria.

    Lieutenant Thomas Gamble was born in New Jersey and served in the War of 1812. After his participation in the Second Barbary War, Gamble continued his navy career, commanding the USS Erie of the Mediterranean Squadron. During this later command, he became ill and died in a naval hospital in Italy in 1818 at the age of 34.

    Condition:
    Though bound, the log is lacking boards; the sewn binding is very loose and the first and last sheet are completely disbound. First page has paper loss at both bottom corners, and chipping along the margins. Last page has tears and chipping at margins. Toning throughout, though markedly darker at beginning and end. A few interior pages have small tears at margins, but the majority are intact and near fine.


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