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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

December 9th, 1775 - The Battle of Great Bridge

Conflict: American Revolution

Combatants: Americans vs. British

Location: Virginia (USA)

Outcome: American victory

While seeking to put down an uprising of colonial Virginians, the governor of that colony, the Earl of Dunmore (John Murray), established a headquarters in Norfolk. On December 9th of 1775, Dunmore dispatched Captain Samuel Leslie and 600 men to block the advance of about 900 Virginia militia and volunteers south of Norfolk under the command of Colonel William Woodford. Though initially pinned downed at the river crossing, the Virginians, commanded by eventually charged across the bridge and routed the Royalist troops, killing 60 men. The Virginians seized Norfolk a week later and Dunmore fled the city.

A sketch of the Battle of Great Bridge by Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings

Points of Interest:

  • Dunmore freed the slaves and indentured servants of Virginia planters on the condition they agreed to join his forces.

  • Dunmore ordered the bombardment of Norfolk after being driven from the city. The Virginians responded by burning down Tory houses.

John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore by Sir Joshua Reynolds

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