Battle Of Machias

The Battle of Machias was the first naval engagement of the American Revolutionary War.

It took place on June 11–12, 1775, in and around the port of Machias in what is now eastern Maine. Two merchant ships arrived in Machias on June 2, accompanied by the British armed sloop Margaretta. James Moore, the commander of the Margaretta, took offense at a Liberty Pole that had been erected in the town, and demanded that it be taken down. Instead, the town decided to capture Moore and his ship. He was able to escape out of the harbor, but the townspeople seized one of the merchant ships, armed it, and sailed out to meet him. In a short confrontation, they captured his vessel and crew, fatally wounding him in the process.

The people of Machias went on to capture additional British ships, and fought off the landing of a large force intended to take control of the town. Privateers and others operating out of Machias continued be a thorn in the British Navy's side throughout the war.

On June 2, 1775, Jones' ships arrived in the port at Machias, while the Margaretta was delayed retrieving the guns from the Halifax wreck. Jones met resistance from the community by refusing to sell his pork and flour unless he was allowed to also load lumber for Boston. Since this could be seen as assisting the enemy, the town, after first meeting on June 6 to discuss the matter, elected by vote to permit the trade, and the Unity was docked at the wharf to begin unloading.

When the Margaretta arrived in Machias, Midshipman Moore was displeased when he saw the Liberty Pole, and ordered its immediate removal, threatening to fire on the town if his order was not obeyed. This angered the people of Machias, who refused to dismantle the pole. Benjamin Foster conspired with militia from neighboring towns to capture Moore and his ship. Their plan to seize Moore at church on June 11 failed when he noticed the group of men approaching the church. Moore and his second-in-command escaped the church and managed to get back to their ship. Jones, who fled with them, ran into the woods, from which he eventually emerged two days later.