On the night of February 16, 1803, the Intrepid came alongside the Philadelphia. As enemy guards, suddenly suspicious, raised the alarm, Decatur yelled “Board!” while leaping over the side. His men rushed the ship and overwhelmed the guards with their sabers and tomahawks. Combustibles were placed at key spots around the ship and ignited at Decatur’s command. The fire spread rapidly and uncontrollably.
Over two centuries ago, the United States was dragged into the affairs of the Islamic world by an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim pirates, the terrorists of the era. These pirates preyed on unsuspecting trade ships. The hulking merchant vessels of the period were no match for the Muslim pirate ships, which were built for speed and lightning strikes. It was simply a fact of life that— over the centuries—took its toll on countless merchant ships and their crews.
Thomas Jefferson and the war on terror. Very interesting, read more here.