by Pat Hannum Chapter Secretary
The Norfolk Chapter President Bob Bruce hosted a commemoration of the 247th Anniversary of the Skirmish at Kemp’s Landing at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach on Saturday, November 12. VSSAR President Bruce Meyer attended along with forty individuals representing various SAR, DAR and other societies. Kimball Thompson, Chris Melhuish and Tom Hamill served in the color guard. Adding color and flare, Episcopal Church member James L. Carver joined the ceremony as Captain Charles Fordyce, His Majesty's 14th Regiment of Foot-Grenadiers. Captain Fordyce was present for the event at Kemp’s Landing.
The event took place within a few yards of where the skirmish unfolded on November 15, 1775. Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s royal governor, led a detachment of British regulars of the 14th Regiment and Loyalist militia to Kemp’s Landing to disperse elements of the Princess Anne District Militia that were assembling there to oppose Dunmore. Kemp’s Landing was located at the head of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and served as a key transshipment point for raw material heading to Norfolk where oceangoing vessels transported these raw materials to other points in the British Empire.
The Patriot militia and Virginia suffered their first casualties of the revolution and Lord Dunmore used the victory to issue his famous proclamation to free negroes and indentured servants of those in rebellion against the crown.
Dunmore’s victory at Kemp’s Landing was short lived, the 14th Regiment would suffer devastating casualties a few weeks later at the Battle of Great Bridge, just ten miles south of Kemp’s Landing, leading Dunmore to take refuge aboard British warships and eventually depart Virginia during the summer of 1776, never to return.