“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Machiasport in Washington County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)

Birthplace of the U.S. Navy

Birthplace of the U.S. Navy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, July 14, 2017
1. Birthplace of the U.S. Navy Marker
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
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the tender. There was some wounded 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 Vessells, 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 sailor, 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.

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American Patriots aboard the captured British sloop Unity attack and seize the HMS Margaretta near Round Island in Machias Bay. The artist left out the other Patriot vessel, the Falmouth Packet, under the command of Benjamin Foster, which was also involved.
Erected by Maine Department of Conservation Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Revolutionary. A significant historical date for this entry is June 12, 1775.
Location. 44° 41.383′ N, 67° 23.782′ W. Marker is near Machiasport, Maine, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Port Road, on the left when traveling south. Marker is at Machias State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Machiasport ME 04655, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Machias/O'Brien (here, next to this marker); World War I Memorial (approx. 3.4 miles away); First Naval Battle of the American Revolution (approx. 3.4 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Machias River (approx. 3.4 miles away); Libby Hall (approx. 3˝ miles away); First Permanent English Settlement in Machias Bay (approx. 3˝ miles away); Burnham Tavern (approx. 3˝ miles away).
Also see . . .  Battle of Machias (Wikipedia). (Submitted on February 1, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 1, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 256 times since then and 37 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on February 1, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 9, 2023