The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: May 14

WILLIAMSBURG, May 14, 1779.
By his Excellency PATRICK HENRY, Governour or Chief Magistrate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A PROCLAMATION, Whereas a British fleet arrived in this commonwealth on Sunday last, and the next day landed troops who took the fort at Portsmouth, and also destroyed many vessels there, and have since marched and taken the town of Suffolk, and burnt a part thereof, committing on their way thither, horrid ravages and depredations, such as plundering and burning houses, killing and carrying away stock of all sorts, and exercising other abominable cruelties and barbarities; and it is supposed that they will carry their depredations into other parts of this state, I have therefore, by and with the advice of the Council of State, issue this my proclamation, requiring the county Lieutenants and other military officers in this commonwealth, and especially those on navigable waters, to hold their respective militias in readiness to oppose the attempts of the enemy wheresoever they may be made. Given under my hand and the seal of the Commonwealth, at the capitol in the city of Williamsburg, this 14th day of May, in the third year of the Commonwealth, Anno Domini, 1779. P. HENRY.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Nicolson) May 15, 1779

About this entry:

Commodore Sir George Collier of the Royal Navy was sent down from New York to see if the Chesapeake could be blockaded. Most of Virginia's able-bodied men were with the Continental troops so the British met little resistance. They leveled Fort Nelson on the Elizabeth River and destroyed the shipyard at Gosport. The total rebel loss was estimated at two million pounds.

Sources: Rankin, War p 4-9.

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