Ezra Lee: Difference between revisions

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==Aftermath==
 
==Aftermath==
Lee landed safely after remaining several hours in the water, and received the congratulations of Washington, who afterwards employed him on [[secret service]]. Lee made a similar attempt a short time afterward with Bushnell's machine in an attempt to destroy a British frigate that lay opposite Bloomingdale, New York, but was discovered and compelled to abandon the enterprise, he subsequently participated in the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, and Monmouth. He had his sword handle shot off and received many bullet holes in his coat at Brandywine.
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Lee landed safely after remaining several hours in the water, and received the congratulations of Washington, who afterwards employed him on [[secret service]]. Lee made a similar attempt a short time afterward with Bushnell's machine in an attempt to destroy a British frigate that lay opposite Bloomingdale, New York, but was discovered and compelled to abandon the enterprise. Sgt. Lee subsequently participated in the battles of Trenton, Monmouth, and Brandywine; having his sword handle shot off, and his coat holed by several bullets at the latter.
   
 
Lee, a descendent of the [[Thomas Lee]] family of Lyme (modern day [[Niantic (East Lyme)|Niantic]]), called on [[Benjamin Franklin]] who came up with the idea of using [[bioluminescent]] [[Foxfire (bioluminescence)|foxfire]] to provide illumination for the compass and depth meter.
 
Lee, a descendent of the [[Thomas Lee]] family of Lyme (modern day [[Niantic (East Lyme)|Niantic]]), called on [[Benjamin Franklin]] who came up with the idea of using [[bioluminescent]] [[Foxfire (bioluminescence)|foxfire]] to provide illumination for the compass and depth meter.
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The submarine was sunk by the British as it sat on its tender vessel, in [[Fort Lee, New Jersey]]. Years later in a letter to [[Thomas Jefferson]], Bushnell reported he had salvaged the ''Turtle'' but later destroyed it.
 
The submarine was sunk by the British as it sat on its tender vessel, in [[Fort Lee, New Jersey]]. Years later in a letter to [[Thomas Jefferson]], Bushnell reported he had salvaged the ''Turtle'' but later destroyed it.
   
After these events, Lee was congratulated by Washington and General [[Israel Putnam]] and moved into the secret service/special forces. Lee's tombstone is the only one that mentions "in service to Gen.George Washington" of all those who fought in the American Revolution.
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After these events, Lee was congratulated by General's Washington and [[Israel Putnam]], and transferred into the secret service/special forces. Of all the men who served in the American Revolution, Lee's tombstone is the only one that mentions "in service to Gen. George Washington."
   
 
Lee is buried in the [[Duck River Cemetery]] in modern day [[Old Lyme]], Connecticut.
 
Lee is buried in the [[Duck River Cemetery]] in modern day [[Old Lyme]], Connecticut.

Revision as of 05:06, 4 September 2009

Ezra Lee (August1749-October 29, 1821) was an American Colonial soldier, best known for commanding the Turtle submarine.

Lee was born in Lyme, Connecticut. In August 1776 he was selected by brother-in-law Brig. General Samuel Holden Parsons, also of Lyme, with the approval of General George Washington, to command the early submarine Turtle and use to damage the British Admiral Howe's flagship HMS Eagle, then lying in New York harbor. The submarine, then called an infernal machine, was the invention of David Bushnell of Saybrook, Connecticut.

Governors Island attack

On the night of September 6, 1776, in support of the upcoming Battle of Kip's Bay, Turtle, under the guidance of army volunteer Sergeant Lee, attacked HMS Eagle, which was moored off what is today called Governors Island, due south of Manhattan. A common misconception was that Lee failed because he could not manage to bore through the copper-sheeted hull. In practice, it has been shown that the thin copper would not have presented any problem to the drill.

A more likely scenario[who?] is Lee's unfamiliarity with the vessel made him unable to keep the Turtle stable enough to work the drill against the Eagle’s Hull. When he attempted another spot in the hull, he was unable to stay beneath the ship, and eventually abandoned the attempt. Governors Island is off the southern vertex of Manhattan, This is the place where the Hudson River and the East River merge. The currents at this point would be strong and complex. The Turtle would only be able to attack ship moored here during the short period of time when the incoming tide balanced the river currents. It is possible that during the attack the tide turned and Lee was unable to compensate. He released the keg of gunpowder when some British in row boats tried to pursue him. The British suspecting some trick gave up the pursuit.

Aftermath

Lee landed safely after remaining several hours in the water, and received the congratulations of Washington, who afterwards employed him on secret service. Lee made a similar attempt a short time afterward with Bushnell's machine in an attempt to destroy a British frigate that lay opposite Bloomingdale, New York, but was discovered and compelled to abandon the enterprise. Sgt. Lee subsequently participated in the battles of Trenton, Monmouth, and Brandywine; having his sword handle shot off, and his coat holed by several bullets at the latter.

Lee, a descendent of the Thomas Lee family of Lyme (modern day Niantic), called on Benjamin Franklin who came up with the idea of using bioluminescent foxfire to provide illumination for the compass and depth meter.

In 1777 Lee used the Turtle again in an attempt to destroy the British frigate HMS Cerberus, anchored in Niantic Bay. The explosion was said to have killed several sailors but did not do much major damage to the ship.

The submarine was sunk by the British as it sat on its tender vessel, in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Years later in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, Bushnell reported he had salvaged the Turtle but later destroyed it.

After these events, Lee was congratulated by General's Washington and Israel Putnam, and transferred into the secret service/special forces. Of all the men who served in the American Revolution, Lee's tombstone is the only one that mentions "in service to Gen. George Washington."

Lee is buried in the Duck River Cemetery in modern day Old Lyme, Connecticut.

References

  • Appletons Encyclopedia & A Lyme Miscellany- Willauer & Wesleyan University Press 1976