Captain William Burrows, U.S.S. Enterprise and Captain Samuel Blyth, H.M.V. Boxer
Both died Sept. 5, 1813
Greetings from Portland. Sweater weather is here. Every day this month I’m telling a story that bridges the gap between this world, and the next. I’m resurrecting the memory of Portlanders who’ve crossed over to the other side by posting one video each day, relating the tale of one, interesting “permanent Portlander.”
The American ship Enterprise and British ship Boxer fought a battle off Pemaquid Point during the War of 1812. The fight lasted less than an hour but both captains were killed. Neither one was yet 30 years old.
The victorious Enterprise towed the Boxer to Portland and both men were laid side by side, with great reverence, in the Eastern Cemetery. Two years later, American Lt. Kervin Waters, 18, who’d been suffering from lingering wounds, was buried by his captain’s side.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was just a child when the battle took place, spoke of it in his poem “My Lost Youth.” He wrote, “I remember the sea-fight far away, How it thundered o’er the tide! And the dead captains, as they lay In their graves, o’erlooking the tranquil bay Where they in battle died. And the sound of that mournful song Goes through me with a thrill: A boy’s will is the wind’s will, And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”
Today’s story is brought to you with the help of Spirits Alive — the volunteer group that looks after the Eastern Cemetery and leads guided tours.
Disclaimer: I’m not a historian. I owe everything I know to the dedicated research of those who have come before me. These character sketches are assembled from multiple (often antique) sources and sprinkled with my own conjecture. I’m happy to be set straight or to learn more.