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First Name: Ezra

Last Name: Lee

Birthplace: Old Lyme, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Date of Birth: 1749

Date of Death: 29 October 1821

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
Ezra Lee

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Ezra Lee
Captain, Continental Army

Ezra Lee was born in 1749 in Old Lyme, CT.

In August of 1776 Lee, then a Sergeant, volunteered to man the "Marine Turtle" the one-man submarine invented and built by David Bushnell and his brother, Ezra. In an underwater attempt that lasted more than two hours, Lee tried to drill into the hull and fasten a bomb on the 64-gun HMS Eagle, flagship of Vice Admiral Richard "Black Dick" Howe, anchored with the British squadron in New York Harbor off Staten Island. However, because of the thickness of the ship's copper sheathing, the mission failed.

Nevertheless, General George Washington later congratulated Lee for his courage and employed him on secret service. In 1777 Lee used the "Turtle" again in an attempt to destroy the British frigate HMS Cerberus, but was discovered and forced to retreat. Lee later participated in the Battles of Trenton, Brandywine and Monmouth.

His obituary in the "Commercial Advisor" (November 1821) stated: "Died, at Lyme, on the 29th ult. Captain Ezra Lee, aged 72, a revolutionary officer.-It is not a little remarkable, that this officer is the only man, of which it can be said, that he fought the enemy upon land-upon water-and under the water..."

Death and Burial

Captain Ezra Lee died on 29 October 1821 in Old Lyme, CT. He is buried at Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme.

Honoree ID: 2748   Created by: MHOH




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