JAMES MONROE CHAPTER AND RICHARD HENRY LEE HOSTED A CELEBRATION OF THE 246TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF GWYNN’S ISLAND
Lord Dunmore’s Revenge?
On Saturday, July 9th the James Monroe Chapter and Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution hosted a celebration of the 246th Anniversary of the Battle of Gwynn’s Island at Morningstar Marinas in Hudgins, Virginia.
Torrential rains forced the attendees to huddle on the porch of the marina shop. Someone quipped “The downpour must be Lord Dunmore’s revenge.” With unwavering Patriotic spirit, the ceremony was conducted on the porch, and even included a cake-cutting celebration for VASSAR’s 132nd birthday.
Attendees included VASSAR President Bruce Meyer, keynote speaker Dr. Patrick Hannum, a VASSAR Color Guard contingent, , representatives from VASSAR Culpeper Minute Men, Norfolk, and Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapters, Virginia Society Order of Founders and Patriots of America, Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution District II Director Sandi Bergman, representatives from Cricket Hill NSDAR and Cobbs Hall NSDAR, Rappahannock Chapter of US Daughters of 1812, and Mathews County Historical Society President Reed Lawson.
A short summary of the Battle of Gwynn’s Island (aka, the Battle of Cricket Hill) follows.
Lord Dunmore (John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore) was the last Royal Governor of the colony of Virginia. In the spring of 1776, he was driven out of the Governor’s Palace and repelled from Norfolk at the Battle of Great Bridge.
Lord Dunmore and his entourage of British troops, Loyalists, and slaves who were promised freedom for allegiance to Britain, sailed out of Norfolk on British ships moored in Milford Haven and set up a base of operation on Gwynn’s Island.
After six weeks of relative calm, on July 9, Patriot Brigadier General Andrew Lewis and his men opened fire with a battery of 18- and 9-pound cannon, quickly placing a dozen rounds into the hull of Dunmore’s flagship, and wounding Dunmore. The cannonade lasted about two hours.
Overnight, Lord Dunmore quietly weighed anchor and fled from Gwynn’s Island. He left behind hundreds of dead and sick slaves who been ravaged by disease including small pox.