< Back

Revolutionary War Site Machias Historic District

  • US Route 1 Machias, ME 04630

The first naval battle of the American Revolution was the Battle of Machias. It is often referred to as "The Lexington of the Seas". This battle, which occurred in June 1775 at Machiasport after townspeople refused to provide the British with lumber for barracks, led to the capture of the armed schooner HMS Margaretta by settlers under Captain Jeremiah O'Brien and Capt. Benjamin Foster. At the rear of a small white church (R) is the GRAVE OF COL. JOHN CRANE, the first white settler. He was a member of the Boston Tea Party, and during the Revolution commanded one of the bat- teries whose fire diverted the attention of the British from the Ameri-can forces in their capture of Dorchester Heights in March 1776. Maine for lumber to be used in building barracks for the increasing number of British soldiers. The armed schooner Margaretta was sent along as a convoy to enforce the order. Meanwhile, public opinion in Machias had been inflamed and Captain Moore of the Margaretta found a Liberty Pole in the little frontier coast town and citizens incensed at the idea of providing supplies for the armies to be used against them. Led by Benjamin Foster and the fiery Irishman, Jeremiah O'Brien, the local citizens commandeered two boats, one of which, however, be- came stranded; on June 12, 1775, they closed in on the Margaretta. In the fight that followed the British officer was mortally wounded and his boat captured. The following month the Machias men captured a British schooner from Nova Scotia. The British sent Sir George Collier with the Ranger and three other boats to punish the rebels; Collier routed the local force from the breastworks they had hastily thrown up along the river and burned several buildings before his fleet moved on. The capture of the Margaretta has been called the "first naval battle of the Revolution"; the battle itself was not important but it provided the Revolu- tionary leaders in Philadelphia with a talking point in urging the establishment of a navy.