The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: May 19

WILLIAMSBURG, May 19, 1775.
ON Monday last Capt. Montague's detachment of marines (nicknamed boiled crabs) took their departure from this city, and are returned on board the Fowey, -----to get fat.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie) May 19, 1775

About this entry:

Lord Dunmore had contacted Capt. Montague of the Fowey to send him military assistance early in May. The town was a tense place in the days after the Gunpowder Incident. By May 19, things have quieted down, Lady Dunmore is once again in residence and the hated marines who "stole" the gunpowder have returned to their ship. However, unknown to the populace, they have booby trapped the Public Magazine. British soldiers were contemptuously called "lobsters"; A Boiled crab refers to the marine's uniforms.

Sources: Noel Hume, 1775; OED "lobster"

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