N.C. highway Historical Marker To Commemorate Vessel Mercury

Event to be held Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at the Ocracoke Ferry Landing

HATTERAS, NC July 8, 2013 – The security of New Bern and Ocracoke during the War of 1812 was maintained and protected by the U.S. Revenue Cutter Mercury in a daring maneuver 200 years ago. A North Carolina Highway Historical Marker will be dedicated to commemorate the July 12, 1813, escape of the vessel from pursing British barges on Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at the Ocracoke ferry landing followed by an exhibit opening on the War of 1812 the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

A model of the USRS Cutter Mercury at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

A model of the USRS Cutter Mercury at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum


Adm. George Cockburn landed with 15 barges and 1,000 men at Ocracoke and Portsmouth that day to execute a surprise attack and invade North Carolina’s interior. Only the Mercury and two smaller boats were docked at Ocracoke at the time. Of the three, only the Mercury attempted to escape, carrying all the custom house papers and funds with them. Several British barges gave chase, but failed to overtake the Mercury, which “very narrowly escaped.” The state’s defense was prepared and an invasion of the interior was averted.


The Mercury patrolled the waterways around Ocracoke for the rest of the war, capturing one, possibly two, British vessels. The U.S. Revenue Service, a forerunner to the U.S. Coast Guard, after the war commenced repair of war-damaged seaside infrastructure with its cutters and worked to prevent smuggling of foreign goods through  the state’s ports.


For information on the event call (252) 928-7375. For information on the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program call (919) 807-7290. The Highway Marker Program and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum are within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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