Privateer brig General Armstrong


On September 26, 1814, a British squadron attacked the privateer brig General Armstrong of New York in the neutral port of Fayal in the Azores. Commanded by Norwich-born Captain Samuel Chester Reid, the Americans mounted a stubborn defense, as seen in this hand-colored lithograph published about 1830 by Nathaniel Currier. The attack actually took place at night, and Reid and his crew inflicted extensive casualties on their attackers before scuttling the Armstrong and escaping ashore. Reid’s other patriotic contribution was a plan to redesign the American flag—with 13 stripes, and a star to represent each current state—that was adopted in the Flag Act of 1818. (© Mystic Seaport Collection, Mystic, CT, #L1959.1164)