What does the war of 1812 have to do with the coast of Maine? Great question. Perhaps you don’t know about the famous battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise that took place just off of Monhegan Island.

The HMS Boxer was captained by Samuel Blythe, a commander in the Royal Navy. The U.S.S. Enterprise was captained by William Burrows. Both men had not yet turned 30. They were sailing along the coast of Maine one day in September 1813 when they saw each other and prepared to attack.

According to accounts from Maine historians and wikipedia, the two ships approaching each other had an audience not only from Monhegan but from the mainland all along the Midcoast. Keep in mind these ships were powered by the wind only. It took them six hours to get close enough to launch their attack but once they engaged in battle it was over in 30 minutes. The Boxer was defeated and what was left of the ship was towed to Portland. In a noble and compassionate act the captain of the Enterprise refused to accept the sword belonging to Blythe and ordered it sent to his family. He then died as well. The captains were buried with full honors side by side in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery.

For several days, the mainlanders gathered along the shoreline collecting debris from the Boxer. The Friendship Museum houses one of these artifacts. They have had on display a blanket from the HMS Boxer as indicated by the label it carries. The battle was considered to be a great naval victory and is not only part of US history but Maine history as well.


 

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