Defense of the Cutter Eagle, 1814

1939 painting of the action by Aldis Browne, produced by the Works Progress Administration.

Location Long Island, New York
Year
1814
AD/BC
AD
History

On 9 October, 1814, the American packet Susan was captured by a British privateer near Long Island, New York. The US Revenue Cutter Eagle (six guns) was dispatched to locate and rescue Susan, but ran into the British brig HMS Dispatch (eighteen guns) the following morning. Dispatch launched boats in an attempt to board, while Eagle maneuvered to escape. Outgunned, she was beached on Long Island, and her crew began fighting from guns moved ashore, while the British fired from the sea. A stalemate went on for the next two days, when Dispatch moved off to find more ammo and reinforcements. While she was gone, Eagle's crew refloated and repaired their ship, but beached her again when the British returned. Dispatch had brought the 32-gun HMS Narcissus and the 5-gun Liverpool Packet, which had captured the Susan days before. The British finally secured tow cables on Eagle on the 13th, and made a "victory lap" past the American positions before departing. Each side suffered only one wounded, and the only fatality was a hapless cow grazing in a field that was struck by a stray 32-pounder cannon ball.