Bring Henry Wadsworth Home From Libya

Battle of Tripoli, July 25, 1804

Everyone knows about the headline news that’s been coming out of Libya for the last several months. But there’s another story of great importance to us at MHS, descendents of the Wadsworth-Longfellow families, and Maine in general–the ongoing effort to repatriate the remains of Henry Wadsworth from the North African country. Recently, those efforts have been gaining momentum.

What’s the back story? Wadsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s uncle and namesake, was killed along with 12 fellow sailors when the USS Intrepid, the ship on which they were serving, exploded in Tripoli in 1804 during the First Barbary War. The bodies of those men have remained in unmarked graves, and legislation moving through the U.S. Congress seeks to bring them home.

MHS Director Richard D’Abate recently told the Portland Press Herald that there are many unknowns in the effort to repatriate Wadsworth’s remains, including whether the remains can be accurately identified and permission can be gained to bury them in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery.

“If Henry Wadsworth could be identified and brought back to Portland, that would be a fine thing,” D’Abate said. To learn more, read the June 19 article in the Press Herald.

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