Boston Campaign > Burning of Falmouth

Burning of Falmouth

Background

The Burning of Falmouth (October 18, 1775) was an attack by a fleet of Royal Navy vessels on the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts (site of the modern city of Portland, Maine, and not to be confused with the modern towns of Falmouth, Massachusetts or Falmouth, Maine). The fleet was commanded by Captain Henry Mowat.[1] The attack began with a naval bombardment which included incendiary shot, followed by a landing party meant to complete the town's destruction. The attack was the only major event in what was supposed to be a campaign of retaliation against ports that supported Patriot activities in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War.

Among the colonies, news of the attack led to rejection of British authority and the establishment of independent governments. It also led the Second Continental Congress to contest British Naval dominance by forming a Continental Navy. Both Mowat and his superior, Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves, who had ordered Mowat's expedition, suffered professionally as a consequence of the act.

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