BOSTON — The U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle arrived in the port of Boston to participate in the War of 1812 Bicentennial commemorations Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Eagle has been used as a training ship for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., since 1946. It is one of only two active commissioned sailing ships in the U.S. military; proudly serving the U.S. Coast Guard just as the USS Constitution proudly serves the U.S. Navy. The Eagle was originally christened as the Horst Wessel, a training ship for the German Navy prior to World War II. The vessel was transferred to the United States as part of war reparations in 1945 and commissioned to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
The Eagle’s namesake fought in an infamous battle against the British during the War 1812 off Long Island. In 1814, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Eagle embarked on a mission that definitively marked her place in U.S. history. The Revenue Cutter Eagle crew and thirty volunteers left their homeport to rescue the crew of the merchant ship Suzan, which had been captured by the HMS Narcissus and the Cruizer-class brig-sloop Dispatch. During this rescue attempt, the Revenue Cutter Eagle found itself dangerously close to the British brig Dispatch. The Eagle retreated to shallow waters on the Long Island coast in an attempt to evade capture by the Dispatch, but the Dispatch deployed several barges to give chase. With few options left to avoid capture, the captain of the Revenue Cutter Eagle, Captain Frederick Lee, intentionally beached the cutter. Locals assisted the crew in carrying two 4-pounders and two 2-pounders up to a bluff to prepare for the defense of the cutter. The Revenue Cutter Eagle’s crew successfully defended the ship against musket and cannon fire throughout the day and through the night.
The Eagle will be open for public tours Saturday from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Charlestown Navy Yard – Pier 1, on Sunday, July 1st, Monday July 2nd and Tuesday, July 3rd from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.