Letter recalling capture of Margaretta, Washington, D.C., 1818


Joseph Wheaton of Machias, serving as a government official in Washington, D.C., in 1818, wrote to Gideon O'Brien and recounted his memory of the capture by Machias residents of the British schooner Margaretta in 1775.

The incident is often called the first Naval battle of the Revolution. O'Brien was one of the brothers of the commander of the expedition, Jeremiah O'Brien. Wheaton notes, "with respect to the affair of taking the Margarette Schooner so far as my recollection serves was thus..."

The colonists banded together aboard the Unity, commandeered a local sloop and went in chase of the Margaretta, exchanging fire and finally capturing her. The captain was killed.

The ship was taking lumber to Boston.


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