USA Patriotism! ... "Showcasing Pride of America"
American Themed Polo Shirts, T-shirts, Jackets, and More!Free Gifts from The Bradford Exchange OnlineAmerican Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. BancroftWaking Dreams by David G. Bancroft

Help The Independence Fund's effort to provide special hi-tech wheel chairs for wounded warriors who are missing both arms and legs or paralyzed ... It is strongly supported by Bill O'Reilly.

USO

Operation Homefront

National Veterans Museum
Home | America's Birth | Articles | Charities | Graphics | Great Patriots | Heroes | Honor Halls
Music | Photos | Poems | Quotes | Reference | Speeches | Stars for Troops | Stories | Students
Videos | About | Contact | Submit | Donate | Banners | Partners | Press | CureNow
USA Patriotism! RSS Feed ... Where links and information on new content is added daily. RSS | New Content
Add This ... Bookmark and Share
Join / Like the USA Patriotism! Facebook page
Join USA Patriotism! at Google+
USA Patriotism! On Twitter
USA Patriotism! YouTube Channel
USA Store! ... over 1,000 American / Patriotic themed gift products at USA Patriotism!

President Donald Trump Collectible Gifts

Patriotic Article
American History

AIT Web Hosting and Domains ... Veteran Supported"Mere Chance" by David G. Bancroft

War of 1812 - Master Lee and Fight For Revenue Cutter Eagle
by William H. Thiesen, Atlantic Area Historian, USCG
January 30, 2017

A variety of American flag kits for every taste and every budget ... featuring top-quality flags, beautiful poles and durable hardware. Some of the outdoor flag sets come gift-boxed for giving to a family members and friends ... for new home, birthdays, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Veteran's Day and more!

Tough Tex American Flags

USA, military, and other patriotic themed pullover and button down Polo shirts

Checks with USA, military, and other patriotic designs

Telescoping flagpole with free American Flag

USA Flag Blanket

Collectibles, apparel, and other gifts ... for Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and veterans!

USA Flag and other American Theme Caps and Hats

Ambassador Desk Flag Set

United We Soar Eagle Collection
United We Soar Eagle

Calendars showcasing pride of America!

American Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. Bancroft

"Mere Chance" by David G. Bancroft

Cemetery Woods by David G. Bancroft

A rare miniature portrait of Captain Frederick Lee painted by Revolutionary War hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. This is the only contemporary illustration of a cutter captain known to exist. Image courtesy of Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford, ConnDuring the War of 1812, the Treasury Department required revenue cutters, such as the Connecticut-based Eagle, to enforce tariffs and trade laws, and protect American maritime commerce. Connecticut native Frederick Lee (left), one of the most noted revenue cutter captains at the time, commanded Eagle out of her homeport of New Haven.

Born in 1766, Lee was too young to see action in the Revolution. Instead, he became a shipmaster and received a cutter master’s commission in 1809, at the ripe age of 43.

Built in New Haven in 1809, the topsail schooner-rigged Eagle was the third revenue cutter to bear that name. She had dimensions of 60 feet in length on deck and 18 feet wide, with small arms of muskets, pistols and cutlasses, and ordnance of four 4-pound and two 2-pound cannon. During the War of 1812, her primary mission was to apprehend British merchant ships as well as American merchantmen carrying illegal British cargoes. In August 1812, Lee’s Eagle seized the brig Harriot of Bristol, England, and a brig from Liverpool, both bound for New York, and sent them into New London for adjudication. In October 1813, Eagle also apprehended American brigs Patriot, Harriet and Ann McLane and sent them into New Haven for carrying illegal British cargoes.

A profile view of the War of 1812 Revenue Cutter Eagle, showing hull lines and sail rig. Coast Guard Collection. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)
A profile view of the War of 1812 Revenue Cutter Eagle, showing hull lines and sail rig. Coast Guard Collection. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

With U.S. Navy warships cruising far off shore and Navy gunboats often moored in port cities, the speedy revenue cutters became effective maritime intelligence gathering tools. They monitored enemy naval movements, identified British privateers, and provided the latest news regarding Navy vessel movements. Master Lee’s cutter gathered and shared this information with customs collectors, local officials, and military leaders. For example, on Tuesday, July 14, 1812, Eagle sighted a British squadron of four large warships patrolling off Montauk Point, Long Island, and transmitted their location by letter to the Navy agent at New York City. On July 24, Lee also notified the New York Navy agent that famed frigate USS Constitution had narrowly escaped a British squadron of nine warships after a four-day chase.

During the war, cutters also enforced over half-a-dozen trade restrictions passed by Congress. Revenue cutter officers and crew were well versed in these numerous laws, for American merchants and ship captains would often challenge in court any seizures, forfeitures or detentions of U.S. ships they believed to be illegal or wrongful. These restrictions included the Non-Intercourse Act, which was in force throughout the war. In October 1813, Eagle apprehended the fast-sailing Boston to New York packet for “Breach of the Sabbath.” Federal authorities indicted, incarcerated, and fined the crew and passengers according to the law.

Eagle also escorted convoys of American merchantmen, a revenue cutter tradition established during the Quasi War with France in the late 1790s. Between 1813 and 1814, Eagle regularly served as escort for convoys of merchantmen between Connecticut and New York that ranged in size from three vessels to as many as 20. On June 17, 1814, a New York newspaper noted, “Yesterday at 4 P.M. Passed the New-Haven Revenue Cutter Eagle, Lee, from New York, with 20 sail of coasters under convoy, standing into New-Haven.”

Eagle’s ability to protect American commerce was put to the test in October 1814. On Monday, October 10, news arrived from Long Island Sound that a privateer had captured an American merchantman. Despite the threat of Royal Navy vessels patrolling the Sound, Lee showed no hesitation in pursuing the enemy. He assembled local militia to join his cutter and sailed into the night to re-capture the American vessel and take the British privateer. At daybreak, Lee found his cutter dangerously close to the 18-gun brig HMS Dispatch and an armed tender; and he narrowly escaped capture from deployed armed barges by running Eagle onto the northern shore of Long Island. The cutter’s crew stripped the cutter of her sails and dragged her cannon up the bluffs to duel with the British warships and armed barges.

Painting of Cutter Eagle on patrol in Long Island Sound during War of 1812 by marine artist Patrick O’Brien. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)
Painting of Cutter Eagle on patrol in Long Island Sound during War of 1812 by marine artist Patrick O’Brien. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

With only six cannon, and 50 men armed with muskets, Lee managed to fend off the two ships and their barges for another day. Of the battle, a contemporary newspaper account stated that:

Having expended all the wadding of the four pounders on the hill, during the warmest of the firing, several of the crew volunteered and went on board the cutter to obtain more. At this moment the masts were shot away, when the brave volunteers erected a flag upon her stern; this was soon shot away, but was immediately replaced by a heroic tar, amidst the cheers of his undaunted comrades, which was returned by a whole broadside from the enemy.

In all, the British shot away Eagle’s flag three times, but volunteers from Lee’s crew replaced it each time. After they had exhausted their cannon shot, Eagle’s gun crews tore up the cutter’s logbook to use as wadding and fired back enemy small shot that lodged in the hill.

By Wednesday, October 12, the Royal Navy warships departed to locate reinforcements while Lee patched up and refloated the damaged Eagle. Early the next day, at low tide, the British gun brig and her tender returned bringing with them the 32-gun frigate HMS Narcissus. Lee’s men ran the damaged cutter into shallow water again. Later that morning, the Royal Navy ships launched a boarding force of seven armed barges with covering fire from the three warships. Lee’s men kept up a brisk musket fire against the barges and, according to Lee, “Our guns were loaded nearly to the muzzle with grape and canister, and the fire reserved until they were within a handsome distance, and then discharged.”

Painted by Aldis Browne, this mural image in the Henriques Room of the Coast Guard Academy’s Chase Hall depicts the heroic battle for Cutter Eagle by Capt. Frederick Lee, his crew and militia forces during The War of 1812. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)
Painted by Aldis Browne, this mural image in the Henriques Room of the Coast Guard Academy’s Chase Hall depicts the heroic battle for Cutter Eagle by Capt. Frederick Lee, his crew and militia forces during The War of 1812. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

The Americans fended off the British with withering cannon and musketry fire for nearly an hour. After that, the incoming tide re-floated Eagle and an enemy barge secured a line to the cutter. At around noon October 13, the British finally towed Eagle away from shore and the range of Lee’s cannon and riflemen. Lee’s men survived to fight another day prompting him to write, “The officers and crew, together with the volunteers, on board the cutter, have done their duty as became American sailors.”

During the War of 1812, five cutters were lost, including one whose magazine exploded, another lost in a hurricane, and three captured by the enemy. Eagle was the last cutter lost in the war. In November 1814, a month after the Royal Navy flotilla captured her, a Boston newspaper reported, “American revenue cutter, the Eagle, prize to H.M.B. Dispatch, sailed under convoy of the Narcissus.” Two more revenue cutters named “Eagle” later served out of New Haven, one built in 1816 and another constructed in 1824. Frederick Lee would remain a cutter master until 1829. He was a member of the long blue line and served honorably for 20 years before retiring from the Service at the age of 63.

By William H. Thiesen, Atlantic Area Historian, USCG
Provided through Coast Guard
Copyright 2017

Comment on this article

USA Store! ... over 1,000 American / Patriotic themed gift products at USA Patriotism!Americana Apparel ... all types of USA themed shirts, other clothing, and more!American Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. Bancroft

Charities supported by USA Patriotism! with links to them on all its pages.
USO American Legion  Operation Homefront   Fallen Heroes Fund Wounded Warrior Project National Veterans Museum
Silver Star Families Gary Sinise Foundation Journey Home Project Honor and Remember NMFA Independence Fund

Bookmark and Share
Join / Like the USA Patriotism! Facebook pageJoin USA Patriotism! at Google+USA Patriotism! On TwitterUSA Patriotism! YouTube ChannelUSA Patriotism! On Tumblr
Home | America's Birth | ArticlesCharities | Graphics | Great Patriots | Heroes | Honor Halls | Music | Photos
Poems | Quotes | Reference | Speeches | Stars For Troops | Stories | Student Patriots | Videos
New Content | About |
Contact | Banners | CureNow | Partners | Press | Privacy


Search USA Patriotism!

 

Copyright 2002 - 2017 USA Patriotism!