War of 1812

William Burrows, Jr.

Enterprise & Boxer by Abel Bowen_1838
USS Enterprise and HMS Boxer by Abel Bowen, 1838

Lieutenant William Ward Burrows, Jr. (1785-1813) was born near Philadelphia, the son of the commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Burrows joined the Navy as mid-shipman in 1799, serving aboard the USS Portsmouth in France, then the USS Constitution, where he was made acting lieutenant during the war in Tripoli. His next post was the command of a small gun-boat on the Delaware River, enforcing the embargo law. After a year-long furlough to India and back, he was given command of the brig USS Enterprise. Sept. 1, 1813, the ship sailed from Portsmouth, N. H., up the Maine coast to patrol for British ships which had been actively harassing American vessels.

On Sept. 5th, not far from Portland, the Enterprise encountered the British brig HMS Boxer, commanded by Capt. Samuel Blyth. The ensuing canon-fire resounded in Portland whose citizens watched from shore. When the 45-minute battle was over, Capt. Blyth was dead; Capt. Burrows, also shot, lived just long enough to receive the enemy’s surrender, then succumbed to his wounds.

Both ships docked at Portland where the American and British wounded were treated. On Sept. 9th, the people of Portland buried both captains, side by side, in Evergreen Cemetery.

For more about the battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise go to Maine Military Museum.


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Kervin Waters

Kervin Waters tombstone from Findagrave.com, submitted by Maxine Kravitz.
Kervin Waters tombstone from Findagrave.com, submitted by Maxine Kravitz.

Kervin Waters (1795-1813) was a midshipman on the USS Enterprise during the Sept. 5, 1813, battle off the Portland coast between the Enterprise and the HMS Boxer that killed both ship captains.

The epitaph on his tombstone tells the rest of his story:

Beneath this marble
by the side of his gallant commander
rest the remains of
a native of Georgetown, District of
Columbia, who received a mortal
wound, Sept. 5, 1813
while a midshipman on board the
U. S. Brig Enterprise
in an action with his B(ritish) M(ajesty’s) Brig Boxer
which terminated in the capture
of the latter.
He languished in severe pain
which he endured with fortitude
until Sept. 25, 1813
when he died with christian
calmness and resignation.
Aged 18
The young men of Portland
erect this stone
as a testimony of their respect
for his valor and virtues.

To learn more about the battle and see the graves of Kervin Waters, William Burrows, Jr., and Samuel Blyth go to Eastern Cemetery.


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Seth Wilson

1822 Cumberland County deed from James Wilson and Abraham Toothaker to Seth Wilson, Yeoman of Harpswell.

Private Seth Wilson of Harpswell was charged with guarding the newly built fort at the mouth of the New Meadows River. His orders were to sink any vessels, British or otherwise, that refused to stop and report. When a local fisherman ignored the guard, Wilson fired into the fishing boat, sinking it. Thereafter all ships stopped to report.

For locations of three existing War of 1812 forts and batteries go to Road 1812.


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