Isacc Chauncey, National and Black Rock, CT Hometown Hero
VIDEO CALEB BREWSTER
Descendant of Mayflower passenger William Brewster, Caleb Brewster was born in 1747 at Setauket, New York, and had sailed on a whaler to Greenland and on a merchant ship to London before the Revolutionary War. Upon his return to America in 1776, he accepted a commission as an ensign in the 4th New York Regiment. He was appointed as a first lieutenant in the 2nd Continental Artillery in January 1777 and then to captain lieutenant from June 1780 to 1783. He fought in many raids, including the Battle of Setauket and helped capture Fort St. George at Mastic under Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge’s command.
Brewster is highly recognized for his brave and daring contributions to The Culper Spy Ring, which was essentially the beginning of the Secret Service we know today.
In 1778, Tallmadge was appointed head of the spy ring at the request of Washington who tasked him to establish a trustworthy espionage network against the British in New York City. Tallmadge chose close friends, such as Brewster and Abraham Woodhull, and neighbors from Setauket who proved to be so discreet that their identities were kept secret until the 20th century. Tallmadge began relying on a variety of individuals instead of a solo person, establishing a new model of espionage. Together, they were able to aid the war effort from 1779 to 1783 by supplying information on British activity.
After the war, Brewster married Anne Lewis, the daughter of the Fairfield, Conn., wharf owner where he ran most of his wartime operations. He worked as a farmer and blacksmith before serving as a captain to the government ship in charge of preventing smuggling. This ship, known as a revenue cutter, was part of the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard.
Brewster began serving as an officer in the Revenue Cutter Service in 1797, about the time the Quasi-War with France began. By 1801, he received his captain’s commission and began serving as skipper of cutter Active, out of New York. He remained in the service until a year after the end of the War of 1812.
All of cutter Active’s missions during the War of 1812 were carried out under his command. During the war, Active excelled at providing the best maritime intelligence to authorities in New York and to Commodore Stephen Decatur, whose warships were trapped by the Royal Navy up the Thames River.
Brewster remained with the service from 1793 to 1816, when he retired to his farm in Black Rock, Conn. He died there in 1827, widely known as an outstanding patriot and a hero.
Attack on Stonington Parade
British Raid on Essex Remembered
Battle Site Essex Mini-Documentary
Produced by Peter Walsh/Astor Place and Jerry Roberts
For the British Raid on Essex Bicentennial Committee
August 07, 1814 *Single greatest maritime loss War of 1812.
BALLAD BY TOM CALLINAN
BATTLE OF STONINGTON
Stonington Memorial for
Midshipmen Powers HMR Navy
Stonington Memorial for English Midshipman Powers Killed Offshore of Stonington 1814
Stonington, CT – Former U.S. Congressman and decorated veteran Rob Simmons held a memorial at the Stonington Cemetery Saturday for the English Navy member, Midshipman Thomas Barratt Powers, 18, who was killed in late July of 1814 by an American privateer. Powers was shot in the head despite his taking off his hat and laying it to his chest to show his surrender to the fifty men aimed and ready to fire on the enemy vessel he approached. This error led to his being allowed a full merit military honors soon afterward with Reverend Ira Hart, 30th regiment officiating.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Rob Simmons who served in Vietnam and is a member of the American Legion Post in Stonington was the Master of Ceremonies. He began the ceremony with asking all those who could stand to please stand for the posting of the colors. After the Color Guard, Simmons asked veteran Seaman First Class Perry to please lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and noted Perry had placed memorial wreaths and British flags on this grave for almost seventy years