The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: December 15

The Otter Sloop, off Norfolk, December 15, 1775.
To the OFFICER commanding at Norfolk. Capt. Squire's compliments to the commanding officer, informs him that several musket balls were last night fired at the King's ship from some people at Norfolk. Capt. Squire did not return the fire, from a supposition it was done out of wantonness. Capt. Squire does not mean to fire on the town of Norfolk unless first fired at; must beg to know if any hostile intention was meant to his Majesty's ship, and people under his command.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) December 23, 1775
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The Virginia troops won the battle at Great Bridge and chased the British and the loyalists onto ships off Norfolk. Unofficial harrassment of the British ships then began. A midshipman aboard the Otter wrote in a letter home, "I was sent on shore to their Commander, to inform him, that if another shot was fired at the Otter, they must expect the town to be knocked about their ears." Colonels Howe and Woodford replied that they had given no orders to fire on the Otter.

Sources: U.S. Naval documents, v 3 p103

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