Posted by: Sand Squiggles -- Richard Modlin's Blog | June 27, 2014

Margaretta Day in Machias, Maine 2014

“Huzza! In the face of Great Britain’s retribution, the people of Machias have voted to maintain their Liberty Pole that stands to commemorate the Patriots of Concord and Lexington.” This impassioned decision made 239 years ago led to the first naval battle of the American Revolution. On June 11 & 12, 1775 the Patriots in the vicinity of Machias, Maine attacked and captured the Sloop of War, HMS Margaretta, which was ready to bombard the village because the residents refused to remove the pole as ordered by the crown.

Artistic Interruption of First Naval Battle of American Revolution -- HMS Margaretta portside, Transport Unity starboard.

Artistic Interpretation of First Naval Battle of American Revolution — HMS Margaretta portside, Transport Unity starboard.

Margaretta Day commemorates the battle that took place between the colonial Patriots in and around the village of Machias, a logging village at the falls near the mouth of the Machias River, and a group of British sailors and marines aboard the HMS Margaretta. This heavily armed shallow draft vessel, crewed by a well-trained, disciplined crew, escorted two commercial transports to Machias. When the captain of the man of war spotted the Liberty Pole, he ordered the town fathers to remove it. “Immediately!” If they didn’t, he proclaimed that he would bombard the village and lay it to waste. In a series of quickly called town meetings the majority of residents voiced their decision—the Liberty Pole would stay erect. Additional secret meetings of the Machias Committee on Safety (the town “rebels” or militia) planned to defend the village by capturing the captain and the other officers of the Margaretta. Their plan didn’t work and the officers escaped to their vessel. With anything that would serve as a weapon (muskets, pitchforks, axes, pikes, clubs, etc.) the militia, composed of rapidly recruited men and women from Machias and the surrounding communities, attacked the fleeing vessel from shore and small boats. Under the direction of Captain Jeremiah O’Brien, a major leader in the Committee on Safety, militiamen commandeered the two commercial vessels and pursued the Margaretta. Through a series of sailing mistakes, the British warship went aground in Machias Bay. A sea battle ensued, the captain of the Margaretta was killed, and the vessel and her crew were captured by the American Patriots.

Birchbark Canoe Maker's  Camp

Birchbark Canoe Maker’s Camp — Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

 

 

Fine Construction Detail of Birchbark Canoe

Fine Construction Detail of Birchbark Canoe — Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

The Birchbark Canoe

The Birchbark Canoe — Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blacksmiths Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

Blacksmiths
Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

 

 

Woodsman's camp Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

Woodsman’s camp
Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion with Jeremiah O'Brien  Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

Discussion with Jeremiah O’Brien
Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

The Margaretta Day Festival brings together many from the Machias River Valley:  historians, re-enactors, craftsmen, artisans, food vendors, promoters of children’s activities, and even the US Postal Service, which set up a booth to cancel letters and postcards with a commemorative stamp. A morning parade began the festival. Throughout the day, crafters displayed their skills, historians made presentations, and I, dressed in a period shirt and wearing a tricorne, signed copies of my novel Newfound Freedom. Everyone, except the group of soaked re-enactors, who tried to sleep through a torrential downpour the night before, seemed to have a very enjoyable time, selling their wears, eating deer stew, meat pies, and other period foods, and topping everything off with dessert pies made from blueberries, rhubarb, or strawberries. The event ended with the expected rainstorms failing to attend. After, Marian and I joined our friends Pierre and Pat for an outstanding dinner at the Riverside Inn in East Machias.

 

 

 

An account of this battle colored with the colonial and nautical adventures and life of this time is an integral part of my historically accurate, exciting novel Newfound Freedom. For information about the book, please click above on My Books.

Chris Sprague, the Jeremiah O'Brien reenactor and me -- Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

Chris Sprague, the Jeremiah O’Brien reenactor and me — Photo by Marian Moore Lewis

ʃ ʃ ʃ ʃ

© Copyright text by Richard Modlin 2014

© Copyright photography by Marian Moore Lewis 2014

 

 


Responses

  1. Richard, Heck man, didn’t know you were a pirate buddy. Passed through Huntsville on my way up to Sewanee last summer or maybe it was on the way back. Plus got my manuscript back for Kathy. She’s a good teacher as well as editor. Gerald

    • Good to hear from you Gerald. Aye, told you Kathy was good. How she didn’t red-line your manuscript too much. Have a great winter writing and revising. Hope to see your book out soon.

      • Correction, Gerald. The sentence in the middle of my reply should read, “Hope she didn’t red-line your manuscript too much.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: