Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LEE, Ezra, soldier, born in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1749; died there, 29 October, 18:31. In August, 1776. he was selected by General Samuel H. Parsons, with the approval of Washington, for the hazardous enterprise of affixing to the British ship Eagle, then lying in New York harbor, an infernal machine called the "Marine Turtle," the invention of David Bushnell (q. v.). The attempt was only partially successful, owing to the thickness of the ship's copper sheathing, but Lee landed safely after remaining several hours in the water, and received the congratulations of Washington, who afterward employed him on secret service. Lee made a similar attempt a short time afterward with Bushnell's machine and endeavored to destroy a British frigate that lay opposite Bloomingdale, New York, but was discovered and compelled to abandon the enterprise, he subsequently participated in the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, and Monmouth.
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