• President James Madison Appointee Charged to Attack British Ships -- Protects Portland

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    President James Madison officially charged Captain Ephraim Sturdivant during the War of 1812 to use the Schooner Reaper to attack British shipping. Sturdivant, born on Feb. 14, 1782, in North Yarmouth, MA (now the state of Maine), spent much of his life at sea, trading in the West Indies and Europe. The operation of American privateers proved more harmful to British forces than the U.S. Navy. The privateers operated throughout the Atlantic and continued until the close of the war, most notably from such ports as Baltimore. American privateers reported captured 1,300 British merchant vessels, compared to 254 taken by the U.S. Navy. Maine suffered more from the effects of the War of 1812 than most other sections of New England. Canadian privateering action and Royal Navy harassment along the coast impaired commerce.


    In September 1813, combat off Pemaquid gained international attention. In 1814, the area was invaded and the U.S. Army and Navy could do little to defend Maine. Large militia mobilizations formed near the end of the war deterred the British. Although the War of 1812 ended in January of 1815, Maine's vulnerability to foreign invasion continued and was an important factor in post-war momentum for statehood. Captain Ephraim Sturdivant commanded the Reaper, which was owned by Isaac Sturdivant, Solomon L. Blanchard and Greeley Sturdivant of North Yarmouth. Just months after the war ended, the Reaper was used to transport military stores from Boston to Portland.


    One page, 5" x 9", Dec. 15th, 1815, partly-printed Bill of Lading accepting two containers of military stores for transporting from Boston (MA) Harbor to Portland aboard the Reaper. Verso contains data about the receipt of the cargo. In part, "Received, Portland 19th Dec., 1814, of Capt. Isaac Sturdivant Schooner Reaper, the...mentioned...military stores, the property of the United States..."


    Folds. Uneven margins. Some bleed through.


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