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Hampton, Va, Threatened

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

After Lord Dunmore, with his troops and navy, had been for several weeks seizing the persons and property of his Majesty’s peaceable subjects in Virginia, on Wednesday night last (25th) a party from an armed tender landed near Hampton, and took away a valuable negro man slave and a sail from the owner; next morning there appeared off the mouth of Hampton river a large armed schooner, a sloop, and three tenders, with soldiers on board, and a message was received at Hampton from Captain Squires, on board the schooner, that he would that day land and burn the town; on which a company of regulars and a company of minute men, who had been placed there in consequence of former threats denounced against that place, made the best disposition to prevent their landing, aided by a body of militia who were suddenly called together on the occasion. The enemy accordingly attempted to land, but were retarded by some boats sunk across the channel for that purpose; upon this they fired several small cannon at the provincials, without any effect, who, in return, discharged their small arms so effectually, as to make the enemy move off, with the loss of several men, as it is believed; but they had, in the mean time, burnt down a house belonging to a Mr. Cooper, on that river.

On intelligence of this reaching Williamsburg, about nine at night, a company of riflemen were despatched to the aid of Hampton, and the colonel of the second regiment sent to take the command of the whole; who with the company, arrived about eight o’clock next morning. The enemy had, in the night, cut through the sunken boats and made a passage for their vessels, which were drawn up close to the town, and began to fire upon it soon after the arrival of the party from Williamsburg; but as soon as our men were so disposed as to give them a few shot, they went off so hastily that our people took a small tender with five white men, a woman, and two slaves, six swivels, seven muskets, some small arms and other things, a sword, pistols, and several papers belonging to a Lieutenant Wright, who made his escape by jumping overboard and swimming away, with Mr. King’s negro man. They are on shore, and a pursuit, it is hoped, may overtake them. There were in the vessel two men mortally wounded; one is since dead and the other near his end; besides which, nine men were seen to be thrown overboard from one of the vessels. We had not a man even wounded. The vessels went over to Norfolk, and the whole force from thence is intending to visit Hampton to-day. If they come, we hope our brave troops will be prepared for them. 1


1 Rivington’s Gazetteer, November 9.

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