First Naval Battle of the American Revolution - Machias, ME
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 44° 42.952 W 067° 27.570
19T E 622013 N 4952541
Quick Description: This large bronze plaque can be seen mounted on the face of a tall granite boulder on the front lawn of the Washington County Courthouse in the town of Machias.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 1/1/2016 1:55:42 PM
Waymark Code: WMQ728
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 2

Long Description:
About two miles offshore from Fort Machias/O'Brien, at Machiasport, near Round Island, is the site of what is locally claimed to be the First Naval Battle of the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Machias, fought between citizens of Machiasport and a British warship, the Margaretta. Unfortunately, the Battle of Machias was actually the second naval battle of the war, the first taking place on May 14, 1775 at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the Battle off Fairhaven, in which the Dartmouth whaling sloop Success captured a pair of vessels previousy captured by the British.

The Battle of Machias took place on June 11-12, 1775 with the British sloop tender Margaretta being captured by the townspeople at the cost of one man killed and six wounded, one of which later died of his wounds. Below is a recounting of the battle, taken from informational plaques at the Fort O'Brien Historic Site.

The fort is one of a very few in Maine which were active in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Captured and burned by the British in 1814, the fort was returned in 1818. Rebuilt in 1863, the fort was renamed Fort O'Brien.

In the two larger photos below one may see Round Island and the battle scene which is easily seen from the earthworks at the fort.

Text from the plaque:

THIS TABLET
COMMEMORATES THE
FIRST NAVAL BATTLE
OF THE
AMERICAN REVOLUTION


ON JUNE 12, 1775 A GALLANT
FORCE OF MACHIAS MEN LED
BY CAPT' JEREMIAH O'BRIEN
IN THE SLOOP UNITY PURSUED
AND CAPTURED THE BRITISH
SLOOP OF WAR "MARGARETTA"
IN MACHIAS BAY


TABLET ERECTED
BY THE HANNAH WESTON CHAPTER
DAUGHTERS OF
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
MACHIAS MAINE 1927

On June 12, 1775, about two miles off-shore near Round Island, the first naval battle of the American Revolution took place. This was the first instance of armed naval combat between Americans and a foreign power, and as such, the United States Navy considers Machias one of the "Birthplaces of the U.S. Navy."

Captain Ichabod Jones, a leading citizen of the town, had been allowed by British Admiral Graves to bring provisions from Boston in his vessel, the Unity, on condition that he return with lumber which was much needed by the British army for the construction of barracks. To ensure the arrangement being carried out, he was accompanied by a small tender, the Margaretta, commanded by Midshipman Moore.

The town, being in great need of provisions and under the guns of the tender, agreed to the terms, but Captain Jones refused to sell provisions to those who had voted against allowing him to carry off the lumber. Angered at his conduct, some of the leading patriots sent to the neighboring settlements for help, and after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Jones and Moore while attending church, attacked the tender. There was some shooting without injury on either side, and next morning the Margaretta made off.

What followed is thus described in a letter written two days later to the Massachusetts Congress by the Machias committee of correspondence:

About forty men, armed with guns, swords, axes, & pitch forks, went in Capt. Jones's sloop [Unity], under the command of Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien; about twenty, armed in the same manner & under the command of Capt. Benjamin Foster, went in a small schooner. During the Chase, our people built them breastworks of pine boards, and anything they could find in the Vessels, that would screen them from the enemy's fire. The Tender, upon the first appearance of our people, cut her boats from the stern, & made all the sail she could-but being a very dull sailer, they soon came up with her, and a most obstinate engagement ensued, both sides determined to conquer or die; but the tender was obliged to yield, her Captain was wounded in the breast with two balls, of which he died next morning; poor Avery was killed, and one of the marines, and five wounded. Only one of our men was killed and six wounded, one of which is since dead of his wounds.

Since 1775, the Unites States Navy has named five different ships the "Jeremiah O'Brien" in honor of the leader of this first naval victory.

Maine Department of Conservation Bureau of Parks and Lands
This display created with the aid of the Machiasport Historical Society

From informational plaques at the fort
Photo goes Here
Photo goes Here
Address and /or location:
85 Court Street Machias, ME USA 04654


Who put it there (Sponsor): The Daughters of the American Revolution - Hannah Weston Chapter

Date (Erected or Dediated): 1927

Visit Instructions:
1) A new photo taken by you. Make it a quality one. You do not have to be in it, nor your hand held.
2) Some new insight to the history, and/or your personal experience finding the site.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
MapQuest
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Maine Historical Markers
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
There are no logs for this waymark yet.