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Action at Machias





Action at Machias
(First Battle of Machias, Battle of the Margaretta, ‘Lexington of the Sea’)

11-12 June 1775



1. Background


Machias


The town of Machias, in the District of Maine, was founded about the year 1763. It was settled as a lumbering center, located at the place where the falls of the West Machias River provided a power source for sawmills. There was a hinterland, extending back into the sparsely settled country perhaps twenty miles, with a primitive network of roads, tracks and trials.1


This area was essentially isolated in terms of overland connections, but there were frequent arrivals and departures of various vessels, to distribute supplies and load lumber. Among the settlers were the family of Morris O’Brien, who had six grown sons. The O’Briens founded a saw mill and engaged in the lumber business. Another early settler was Stephen Jones, who managed a store owned by Ichabod Jones, a merchant residing in Boston. The Joneses brought in supplies and took out lumber.


In 1769 a militia company was formed, and in 1770 the Colony of Massachusetts granted a township to the settlers. In 1771 a minister, the Reverend James Lyons, was hired. A church was erected in 1774.2 Business prospered, and by May of 1775 there were about one hundred houses3 and nearly a thousand people in and around Machias.4


Machias was not immune to the passions of the period, but generally seems to have supported the activist viewpoint. There seems to have been a local branch of the loose organization known as the “Sons of Liberty.” Other townsfolk seemed to have adopted an attitude of accommodation among these being Ichabod Jones.


On 25 May 1775 the inhabitants of Machias petitioned the Massachusetts Provincial Congress concerning the state of their town. It is worth quoting part of the petition:


“We dare not say we are the foremost in supporting the glorious cause of American liberty; but this we can truly affirm, that we have done our utmost to encourage and strengthen the hand of all the advocates for America with whom we have been connected; that we have not even purchased any goods of those persons whom we suspected to be inimical to our Country, except when constrained, by necessity; and that none on the Continent can more cheerfully risk all that is dear to them on earth, when called, in support of those precious privileges which God and our venerable ancestors, as a most invaluable legacy, have handed down to us. We must now inform your Honours, that the inhabitants of this place exceed one hundred families, some of which are very numerous, and that Divine Providence has cut off all our usual resources. A very severe drought last fall prevented our laying in sufficient stores; and had no vessels visited us in the winter, we must have suffered. Nor have we this spring been able to procure provisions sufficient for carrying on our business; our labourers are dismissed, some of our mills stand still, almost all vessels have forsaken us, our lumber lies by us in heaps, and, to complete our misfortunes, all our ports are to be shut up on the first of July next. We must add, we have no country behind us to lean upon, nor can we make an escape by flight; the wilderness is impervious, and vessels we have none. To you, therefore, honoured gentlemen, we humbly apply for relief; you are our last, our only resource; and permit us to say again, you are our guardians, and we rejoice and glory in being subject. Pardon our importunity. We cannot take a denial, for, under God, you are all our dependence; and if you neglect us, we are ruined. Save, dear Sirs, one of your most flourishing settlements from famine and all its horrours. We ask not for charity; we ask for a supply to be put into the hands of Messrs. Smith and Stillman, or any other person or persons your wisdom may point out, who shall obligate themselves to pay the whole amount in lumber, the only staple of our country.”5


In other words Machias fully supported the Massachusetts and American movements against the British, but desperately needed relief from the hard times it had fallen on. The date of this appeal clearly suggests that Machias was well aware of the opening of hostilities.


Contemporary chart by J. F. W. Des Barres of the area of Machias Bay.

 

Ichabod Jones


Ichabod Jones was a merchant, trader, and interested party to the prosperity of Machias. He was part owner of a saw mill there and a sometime resident of the place. He also was a resident of Boston. Jones’s vessels brought supplies to Machias and exported cargoes of lumber. Ichabod was not a Loyalist but he was put in some peculiar circumstances by the imposition of the Boston Port Bill.


In April 1774 Ichabod came to Machias with his wife and daughter. Because of the impending troubles with the Boston Port Bill he remained there until the spring of 1775. Jones had two vessels in the port, the Unity, commanded by himself, and the Polly, commanded by Nathaniel Horton. About May 1775 Jones’s vessels departed Machias with cargoes of lumber, bound for Salem. Jones had ordered Horton to go to Cape Ann or Salem to sell the lumber. If there was no market there he was to proceed to Connecticut. When he arrived at Salem Horton found the country unsettled because of the outbreak of fighting. The inhabitants of Boston were reported to be in distress. Horton’s family was in Boston and he proceeded there despite his orders. At Boston Horton also found Jones, who had gone there for much the same reasons as Horton.6


Jones wanted to remove his household goods from Boston, as well as the goods and families to two relatives. Yet it was impossible to get permission to leave Boston without approaching the British Army and the British Navy.


Jones had no doubt sold his lumber by now, in Boston, to the British. This tended to establish his bona fides when he approached General Gage with a plan: Jones proposed to Gage that, if Gage would allow him to export provisions to Machias, Jones would obtain a cargo of lumber and return to Boston with it. Jones had his two sloops, the 90-ton Polly (Nathaniel Horton) and the 80-ton Unity, which he commanded himself.7 It seems that Jones contemplated taking three other smaller craft with him. If Jones was in Boston in early May these developments would have been done very quickly. Gage seemed to think the plan was possible and sent Jones to see Admiral Graves.


Gage sent Jones to Vice Admiral Samuel Graves, whose permission was necessary before any vessels could sail from Boston. Graves seemed to be in favor of the attempt. He issued Jones a certificate stating that anyone bringing in provisions, lumber, fuel, wheat, oats, or other grains, hay and straw, would not be molested, and would be allowed to depart with their vessel.8 It is likely that Jones had already loaded his household furniture and more supplies and provisions that the British knew about. [29, 30]


Nervous about the impending operation, Jones sought out the Selectmen of Boston. From them he obtained a certificate desiring the inhabitants of Machias to permit Jones to return to Boston, and bring away some of the distressed citizens of that place.9


It is possible that, in presenting his plans to Graves, Jones overstated his danger. It is also possible that Graves may have had a faint suspicion that, once Jones was clear of Boston, he might well forget to return there.10 To protect Jones, and to enforce his return, Graves sent along an escort, HM Armed Schooner Tender Margueritta (Midshipman James Moore).11


Margueritta


Margueritta was a 50-ton schooner,12 hired for use in patrolling Boston Harbor, and armed13 with twelve swivel guns14 from the Preston as a tender on 30 March 1775.15 Preston furnished twenty men as her crew. Margueritta had no carriage guns.16  Margueritta had sailed from Boston to the Piscataqua River  with orders for Captain Andrew Barkley of HM Frigate Scarborough on 30 March,17 and returned on 7 April.18 Following this trip, Margueritta made brief visits to Salem and Marblehead, and then assisted in patrolling Boston Harbor.19


This small hired schooner was chosen to escort Jones and his convoy to Machias. On 26 May 1775 Admiral Graves issued his orders to her commander, Midshipman James Moore. Graves noted the importance of obtaining supplies of fuel, timber and provisions for the town, fleet and army. He informed Moore that the “Inhabitants of the Eastern parts of this Province have threatened to intercept and destroy the Vessels of Mr. Ichabod Jones . . .” Moore was to, therefore, escort the “five” vessels of Jones, and any others, to Machias. He was to remain there while they were lading, and escort them back to Boston. He was to use his “utmost Endeavours to take or destroy all armed vessels that are acting illegally or that are annoying any of his Majesty’s loyal or peaceable subjects.”20


A secondary mission was assigned to Moore. Graves had been informed that the guns of HM Schooner Halifax, wrecked near Machias earlier in the year, had been salvaged by someone in Machias. Moore was to obtain the guns, promising to pay the salvers the salvage value at either Boston or Halifax. Jones would assist in recovering the guns.21


2. At Machias, 2-11 June 1775


Older topographic map showing the Machias River from Machias to Round Island.

 

On 2 June 1775 the convoy arrived at Machias and anchored near the town. The next day Jones went ashore and began explaining his mission to his friends, neighbors and customers. He produced a paper which the townspeople were required to sign before any dispensing of supplies could take place. It required the signers to “indulge Capt Jones in carrying Lumber to Boston, & to protect him and his property, at all events . . .”22 Jones found few, if any, willing to sign this paper, and it soon “expired.”


A view of “Mechios” in 1777 by J. F. W. Des Barres. Aquatint published in London. It almost certainly would have looked the same in 1775.

 

Jones’s next step was to request a town meeting. The townsfolk “generally assembled” at the appointed place on 6 June. Although the citizens were “averse to the measures proposed . . . [but] considering themselves nearly as prisoners of war in the hands of the common enemy, (which is our only plea for suffering Captain Jones to carry any lumber to Boston since your Honours conceived it improper,) passed a vote that Captain Jones might proceed in his business as usual without molestation; that they would purchase the provision he brought into the place, and pay him according to contract.”23


While the meeting was in progress, Jones, observing the reaction to his proposal, had gone to the Margueritta and persuaded Moore to move up nearer the town. Moore anchored her within gunshot of the town, and put springs on her cables. This action was not known to the people at the meeting until it was over,24 when they saw the schooner in it’s new, and more threatening location.


While Jones was more or less persuading the townspeople to allow his trading, Moore had succeeded in locating the guns of the Halifax. He recovered four of them, which were loaded into the Margueritta.


A view of “Mechios” near the mills. Aquatint by J. F. W. Des Barres, London, 1777.

 

The town had now promised to allow the trading to take place, and to protect Jones. Jones immediately brought his two sloops to the wharves and began dispensing provisions and loading lumber. In the process, he made a most unfortunate mistake. Although he had certainly anticipated great difficulties in carrying out his mission, he was, it seems, irritated at the strength of the opposition in the town. Jones “distributed his provisions among those only who voted in favour of his carrying lumber to Boston.” This act of pique “gave such offence to the aggrieved party, that they determined to take Captain Jones, if possible, and put a final stop to his supplying the King’ s Troops with any thing.”25


Messengers were dispatched to the neighboring settlements of Mispecka and Pleasant River for reinforcements. The men from these places, and the men from Machias, collected in the woods near Machias. A plan was formulated to capture the two Joneses, Ichabod and Stephen, while they were at worship in the church on Sunday morning.26 If the officers of the Margueritta were present they would also be captured.


3. Action of 11 June 1775


Sunday morning, June 11, 1775. Margueritta was anchored in the Machias River, about a quarter of a mile below the falls. Ichabod Jones’s two sloops were anchored in the river, one at the falls, above the Margueritta, the other in the river a half mile below the Margueritta. Midshipman Moore and Margueritta’s other officer,27 one Stillingfleet,28 were ashore, attending church services in the local meeting house. But all was not quiet in the town.29 The church windows were open. Through the windows Moore heard a bustle: he looked out the window and saw about thirty armed men coming toward the meeting house, attended by many more who were not armed. Moore and his officer jumped out the window30 and fled down to the landing. A boat arrived from the schooner and they got in her, followed closely by numerous pursuers.31 Stephen Jones was seized at the church, but Ichabod Jones fled into the woods.32


Moore hoisted the schooner’s flag, got his crew to quarters, and sent a message ashore. He had  “express orders to protect Captain Jones; that he was determined to do his duty, whilst he had life, and that if the people presumed to stop Captain Jones’ s vessels, he would burn the Town.”33 Although Moore might have been determined enough, the swivels on the Margueritta were not powerful enough to batter down the town. It was a bluff.


Missing Moore by a whisker, the Americans sent a party to the sloop at the falls. She was secured and plundered,34 and her sails and rigging removed.35 The Americans then assembled on the shore, about one hundred all together.36 They moved to a piece of marshy ground37 within hailing distance of the Margueritta and demanded that Moore strike his flag to the “Sons of Liberty.”38 Moore called out to ask what they wanted and was told they wanted Ichabod Jones, who was thought to be aboard the Margueritta.39 Moore then stated that he “would defend the Vessel as long as he lived and would fire on the Town and beat it down unless they desisted and delivered up Jones’s Vessel . . .”40 Firing broke out on both sides and “was smart for about a Quarter of an Hour when Capt Moore cut his Cables and fell down the River . . .”41


Meanwhile, about 1800, a second party of men went down the river in three boats to Jones’s second sloop, anchored about four miles below the town, and secured her. She was brought up the river about a mile42 and anchored in the stream, near a wharf.43 Up the river, Moore decided to put a little distance between the schooner and the shore. Between 200044 and 2030,45 in the dusk of the day, he quietly46 weighed anchor and dropped down the river toward the second sloop.47


Seeing the Margueritta moving, the Americans on the second sloop cast off and drove her ashore. Margaretta came down to the sloop and anchored within fifteen yards of her.48 Moore intended, evidently, to recapture the sloop. About one hundred49 of the armed Americans  went down the river in boats and canoes and lined the shore opposite to the Margueritta.50 The Americans again hailed from the shore, demanding Margueritta strike to the “Sons of Liberty,”51 and threatening Moore with death if he resisted. When Moore answered he told the mob he was “not ready yet.”52 According to Lyons’s later report, the Americans demanded Moore surrender to “America” and “received for answer, ‘Fire, and be damn’ d.’”53 The assembled men fired a volley of musketry out of the dark. Margueritta replied with swivel guns and musketry, and the fight was on.54


For an hour and a half,55 and perhaps an hour more,56 the two sides blazed away at each other. Moore then decided it was time to vacate and cut the schooner’s cables. She dropped down the river about a half mile and anchored near a sloop with a cargo of lumber and boards,57 commanded by one Samuel Tobey58 (or Toby).59 The sloop was hauled alongside the Margueritta,60 the two were lashed together,61 and the crew set to work building a barricade fore and aft to keep off the musketry.62


While this was going on the Americans took up some boats and canoes and set out to board the Margaretta. The British sailors fired swivels and small arms and beat off the probing boats, forcing the crews ashore. Dawn revealed four boats full of holes abandoned on the flats in the river. One British sailor was wounded during this fight.63


4. The Action of 12 June 1775


The skipper of the sloop with boards, Tobey, was “well acquainted” with the river. In the morning he was pressed into service as a pilot,64 along with another man from his sloop.65 Margueritta “made all the sail they could to get off, as the wind and tide favoured . . .”66 As the British sailed down the Machias, they were fired at from time to time from the shore. The wind became a “smart Breeze.” In changing sail Margueritta’s booms and gaff carried away. Moore saw a sloop at anchor about three miles away. Margueritta’s boat was dispatched to her and she was brought alongside the schooner.67 The sloop was commanded by one Rathbone, and was bound from Horton, Nova Scotia.68 Her boom and gaff were removed and installed in the schooner.69 Moore also took almost all her provisions and removed one Robert Avery of Norwich, Connecticut from the sloop.70


Unity in chase of the Margueritta. From Sherman, Life of Jeremiah O’Brien.

 

Meanwhile, the Americans ashore had decided to pursue the Margueritta. Lyons said that “about forty men, armed with guns, swords, axes, & pick forks, went in Captain Jones’s sloop, under the command of Captain Jeremiah O’ Brien, and about twenty, armed in the same manner, and under the command of Captain Benjamin Foster, went in a small schooner.71 Although which sloop of Jones’s was used in this phase of the action is not certainly known, by long tradition it was thought to be the Unity.


 

Interesting modern drawing of the preparations for action aboard the Unity. From here.

 

 

The small schooner was the Falmouth Packet (Thomas Flinn). Flinn related that, at 0600 on 12 June, “about Twenty arm’d men Inhabitants of Machias Among whom were Mr Benjn Forster John Scott John/[Long] and Ephraim Chase came on board the Schooner Falmouth Packet and Demanded the Vessel of this Deponent which was Refused, when they declared it was in vain to Refuse as they would take her by Force, and Insisted on this Deponent and his People Proceeding with them, but on his Peremptorily refusing to go or suffer his People they put both himself and his people on shore . . .”72

As the Unity got under way in the morning, the Americans aboard prepared for action. “During the chase, our people built themselves breast-works of pine boards, and any thing they could find in the vessels that would screen them from the enemy’s fire.”73 They had aboard some muskets and at least one wall piece, the equivalent of a swivel gun.


Detail from an old topographic map. The battle was fought between Round Island down to Avery Rock. The rock was formerly known as Channel Rock.

Detail of Des Barres chart showing the area of the fight.

 

Just as the British repair operation was being completed a sloop and a schooner appeared, coming down the river. Margueritta made sail and stood out for the open sea,74 cutting loose her boats at the stern. But the Margueritta was a “dull sailer,”75 and the pursuing vessels continued and closed the distance very quickly.76


Near the small island called Round Island the pursuers caught up with Moore. The  Margueritta fired her stern swivels, and, as the sloop and schooner came within range, her small arms. Despite the firing the sloop and schooner came on. Within hailing distance the Americans again demanded Moore strike to the “Sons of Liberty,” promising good treatment. If resistance was made they promised to “put us to Death.”77


 

Unity about to impact the Margueritta. The sizes of the two vessels were backward from the painting, Unity being the larger. Margueritta is shown with carriage guns, but she had none. Painted by Robert Goodier. From Machias History.org.

 

 

Moore saw escape was impossible. He seems to have, at least momentarily, turned to desperate measures. Moore turned to Tobey and put “a Pistol at his Breast that he would send a Brace of Balls through him unless he would swear to take up his Gun in Defence of the Vessel; but he nobly refused. Poor Avery threatened in the like Manner was intimidated into a Compliance.”78

Moore luffed up, presenting his broadside, and fired all the swivels and small arms available at the Americans. A few hand grenades followed. The Americans immediately closed, laying the Margueritta on board: the sloop on the starboard quarter, the schooner on the port bow. A hail of musketry descended on the British: Moore was hit in the chest and in the belly. The other officer was slightly wounded in his side, one Marine was killed, two Marines and two sailors were wounded.79 Marqueritta’s helmsman was hit and she broached, allowing the Unity to ram the schooner and board her.80 Avery was killed at the first volley,81 by a shot in the head.82


This part of the action was related by Joseph Wheaton: “A man named McNeal took our wall piece, the only one we had, while resting it on the bitts of the windlass to take aim, received a swivel ball in his forehead and fell A man named Knight took up the wall piece as it fell from the hand of McNeal, and fired it, and wounded the man at the helm of the Margaretta, at which time she broached to, while our gallant little helmsman still was steering our sloop for the broadside of the schooner, and at which moment our men made a fair fire of musketry on the Margaretta, and as we made the second fire our bowsprit took the shrouds of the schooner running through her mainsail when Captain Moore put a hand grenade among us.”83


Another modern version of the fight. Again, Margueritta was smaller than the Unity. She was also towing no boats. The boat on the davits at the rear of the Unity is an anachronism. The scene appears to show Moore being shot. From the State of Maine.

 

The Americans now swarmed aboard the schooner, but the loss of Moore decided the battle: “the Men ran into the Hold & Cabbin . . .,”84 and the Margueritta was quickly seized.85 The fight had lasted just over an hour.86


Margueritta was carried up to Machias “in great triumph,” with American colors flying over the British ensign. Moore was not dead. He was carried into his cabin. He was asked why he did not strike and told his questioners “he preferred Death before yielding to such a sett of Villains.” Moore was soon to have his preference.87


For its size this was a very bloody fight. As is the case with most actions the casualty list is variously reported. Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey, in his deposition filed at Boston when he finally returned there, stated that the British had one killed, and six wounded, including the mortally wounded Moore. Godfrey leaves out Robert Avery.88 In Lyons’s report he lists two killed, including Avery, and five wounded, including Moore, who died on 13 June.89 Cobb, who left Machias later, indicates three were killed on the Margueritta, which includes Moore.90 Flinn, who departed from Machias later still, says that two were killed (including Avery) and six wounded (including Moore) and that three of the wounded had died before he left.91 If we adjust the last figure we have five killed or mortally wounded aboard the Margueritta, and three wounded who survived. This coincides with the figures in Thaxter’s letter to John Adams, of five British dead (including Avery).92


Unity capturing the Margueritta. Detail of an early modern watercolor in the Bailey Collection of the Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia. The painting has the usual problem of depicting the Unity as the smaller vessel.

 

The American losses have similar variations. Godfrey reported two Americans killed and four wounded, one mortally.93 Lyons noted one killed and six wounded, one mortally.94 A report in the New England Chronicle says two Americans were killed and five wounded.95 Thaxter says the Americans lost two or three killed.96 Flinn reported one killed and four wounded.97 Adjusting as before it would seem the Machias men lost two killed or mortally wounded and five wounded who survived.


Taken aboard the Margueritta were four 3-pounders, forty to fifty muskets, cutlasses, pistols, and some gunpowder.98


Moore was carried to Stephen Jones’s house, where he died on Monday. The prisoners were kept in Machias until 18 June, when the unwounded were marched down to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Nathaniel Godfrey, the pilot aboard the Margaretta, was released as a pressed man, and returned to Halifax.99


The news of this incident spread out with the sailing of the shipping in the Machias River at the time. It arrived at Liverpool, Nova Scotia on 22 June, with Jabez Cobb’s brigantine.100 The reports reached Watertown and the Massachusetts Provincial Congress on 24 and 25 June. A letter from the “Committee of Machias” was read and committed to the same committee that was considering a letter from George Stellman to Colonel Otis, on the same subject, received a day earlier.101


In the report to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Reverend Lyons, now chairman of the Committee of Safety at Machias, made a further appeal for provisions, to which he added a call for ammunition.102


5. Aftermath


Following the fight and the bringing of the three prizes to Machias, it was quickly realized that the British would eventually react to this challenge. A Committee of Safety was created to manage affairs in the town. In going through the papers found on the sloops the Machias Committee quickly discovered that Ichabod Jones had not come just to trade, but was an actual contractor to the British forces in Boston. This news was hastily dispatched to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress from Machias on 17 June.103


The Machias Committee now took a significant step. It was decided to arm one of Jones’s sloops, both reported by the committee as 70 tons, and to use it only “on the defensive.” The Machias Committee reported this to Watertown and again asked for aid,104 and inquired if a commission was not necessary for this vessel.105 The sloop selected was the one of 90 tons, which was the Polly. She was armed with four or six 4-pounders, and fourteen swivels, and furnished with a crew of forty men, commanded by Jeremiah O’Brien. She sailed from Machias 1 July 1775. Her purpose was to proceed to Philadelphia for supplies, or to cruise to intercept the cattle vessels sailing from Windsor, Nova Scotia to Boston.106


The Machias Committee sent it’s report to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress off by express, probably in a small craft under one Smith. About 25 June Smith returned to Machias, bringing in a small supply of provisions and ammunition, furnished by the Massachusetts authorities.107 It was not enough and a further appeal to the Provincial Congress was made by John O’Brien on 28 June. O’Brien suggested that, if aid were not forthcoming, the citizens of Machias would have to abandon the place.108


Meanwhile, on 28 June, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress heard the committee report on the action at Machias. The Congress resolved “That the thanks of this Congress be, and are hereby given to Captain Jeremiah Obrian and Captain Benjamin Foster, and the other brave men under their command, for their courage and good conduct in taking one of the Tenders belonging to our enemies, and two Sloops belonging to Ichabod Jones, and for preventing the Ministerial Troops being supplied with Lumber; and that the said Tender, Sloops, their appurtenances and cargoes, remain in the hands of the said Captains Obrian and Foster and the men under their command, for them to use and improve as they shall think most for their and the publick’s advantage . . .” As for the prisoners they were to be conveyed from place to place until they arrived in Watertown.109


6. British Reaction


The Falmouth Packet was returned to Flinn on 13 June and he proceeded to load his cargo of boards. Flinn sailed on 22 June and had proceeded to the mouth of the river, where he was stopped by an armed boat containing eight men. These again seized the Falmouth Packet and carried her back up the river to Machias. Flinn was detained there until 5 July 1775, when he received a permit to sail from the Machias Committee of Safety. He sailed the next day.110


The same day that Flinn finally sailed from Machias he fell in with HM Schooner Diligent (Lieutenant Knight) off the Wolves by Grand Manan Island. Diligent stopped the Falmouth Packet as well as a sloop (Williams) from Machias. No doubt Flinn fully informed Knight of the proceedings at Machias. Flinn also reported that when he left Machias there were two brigs and a schooner loading there.111


On 1 July 1775 Admiral Graves received the news of the Margueritta’s loss at Boston.112 Graves’s reaction was to suspend the movement of supply ships, without convoy, from the Bay of Fundy. On 18 July he ordered HM Schooner St. Lawrence (Lieutenant John Graves) and HM Schooner Hope (Lieutenant George Dawson) to the Bay of Fundy, both to escort Boston-bound shipping and to seek out and destroy any armed vessels from Machias.113


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

[Unity]

70

40

2

5%

3

7%

5

12%

Falmouth Packet

20

0

0%

0

0%

0

0%

Margueritta

50

[25]

5

20%

3

12%

8

32%

Time: 1 hour



1 Sherman, Andrew M., Life of Captain Jeremiah O’Brien Machias, Maine: Commander of the First American Flying Squadron of the War of the Revolution, Morristown, New Jersey: Andrew M. Sherman, 1902, 5-11, and 27. Online.

2 Drisco, George W., Narrative of the Town of Machias: The Old and the New, the Early and the Late, Machias Maine: Press of the Republican, 1904, 21, 24, 28. Hereafter Drisco, Narrative. Online.

3 Force, Series 4, 2:708-709, petition of the inhabitants of Machias to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, dated 25 May 1775.

4 Force, Series 4, 2:1128, petition of John O’Brien to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, dated 28 June 1775.

5 Force, Series 4, 2:708-709

6 Drisco, Narrative, 28, 29

7 The tonnages are from the libels, filed 29 August 1776. The Polly was the larger sloop it will be noted. The New-England Chronicle [Boston], August 29, 1776. It is possible that the Unity was commanded by Job Harris. See Drisco, Narrative, 71-73, which reprints a letter from Joseph Wheaton to Gideon O’Brien, dated 23 April 1818.

8 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to General Thomas Gage,” I, 538

9 Drisco, Narrative, 30

10 It was later stated that he expressed some “unease” over the escort. Drisco, Narrative, 30.

11 In all his correspondence, Admiral Graves refers to her as the Margueritta. Numerous storytellers have warped this into the Margaretta

12 The New-England Chronicle [Boston], August 29, 1776

13 NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” I, 163

14 NDAR, “John Thaxter to John Adams,” I, 767-768

15 NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” I, 163

16 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens,” I, 895-897

17 NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” I, 163

18 NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” I, 170

19 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens, Secretary of the British Admiralty,” I, 176-179 and 179 note

20 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Midshipman James Moore, Commanding His Majesty’s Armed Schooner Margaretta,” I, 537-538

21 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Midshipman James Moore, Commanding His Majesty’s Armed Schooner Margaretta,” I, 537-538

22 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

23 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

24 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

25 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes. In NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Committee of Correspondence at Plymouth to the Committee of this Town [Providence], dated the 22d Instant [June, 1775],” I, 740, Jones was said to have distributed his goods with “great Partiality in Regard to the Persons with whom they contracted , which at once created such Uneasiness as to determine the People to seize the two Vessels, and fire the Cutter . . . ”.

26 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

27 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656. Godfrey obtained his release after the action because he was impressed. By way of Halifax, he had returned to Boston by 24 July 1775, where he gave his deposition. See NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens,” I, 961-962.

28 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758. Cobb was master of a brigantine laying in the Machias River. He swore his deposition at Liverpool, Nova Scotia on 26 June.

29 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

30 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

31 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

32 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758; NDAR, “New England Chronicle, Saturday, June 24, 1775,” I, 745

33 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

34 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

35 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

36 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

37 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

38 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656; “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

39 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

40 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

41 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

42 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

43 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

44 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

45 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

46 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

47 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

48 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

49 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

50 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

51 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656; “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

52 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

53 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

54 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

55 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

56 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

57 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

58 NDAR, “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

59 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

60 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

61 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

62 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

63 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

64 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656; “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

65 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

66 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

67 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656; “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

68 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

69 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656; “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

70 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes; NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

71 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes. The deposition of Jabez Cobb confirms that two vessels were used in the chase. NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758.

72 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

73 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

74 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

75 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

76 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

77 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

78 NDAR, “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

79 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

80 Drisco, Narrative, 46

81 NDAR, “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

82 NDAR, “Diary of Simeon Perkins of Liverpool, Nova Scotia,” I, 738 and note

83 Drisco, Narrative, 71-73, letter, Joseph Wheaton to Gideon O’Brien, 23 April 1818

84 NDAR, “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

85 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

86 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

87 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

88 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

89 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

90 NDAR, “Deposition of Jabez Cobb Regarding the Loss of the Schooner Margaretta,” I, 757-758

91 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

92 NDAR, “John Thaxter to John Adams,” I, 767-768

93 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

94 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

95 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Committee of Correspondence at Plymouth to the Committee of this Town [Providence], dated the 22d Instant [June, 1775],” I, 740

96 NDAR, “John Thaxter to John Adams,” I, 767-768

97 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

98 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Committee of Correspondence at Plymouth to the Committee of this Town [Providence], dated the 22d Instant [June, 1775],” I, 740; “Nicholas Cooke, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, to Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut,” I, 747 and notes

99 NDAR, “Pilot Nathaniel Godfrey’s Report of Action between the Schooner Margueritta and the Rebels at Machias,” I, 655-656

100 NDAR, “Diary of Simeon Perkins of Liverpool, Nova Scotia,” I, 738 and note

101 NDAR, “Journal of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 750

102 NDAR, “James Lyons, Chairman of the Machias Committee, to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 676-677 and 677 notes

103 NDAR, “Machias Committee to the Massachusetts General Congress,” I, 697

104 NDAR, “Machias Committee to the Massachusetts General Congress,” I, 697. In Force, Series 4, 2:1017-1018 is another transcription of this letter, which lists the two sloops as eighty tons each.

105 Force, Series 4, 2:1017-1018. The last line of this letter is missing from the NDAR transcription: “Will not a commission be necessary for those who take the lead in this affair?”

106 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

107 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

108 Force, Series 4, 2:1128

109 NDAR, “Journal of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress,” I, 758-759 and note

110 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

111 NDAR, “Deposition of Thomas Flinn, Master of the Falmouth Packet,” I, 848-849

112 NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” I, 796

113 NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Lieutenant John Graves, His majesty’s Schooner St. Lawrence,” I, 913-914


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