When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
September 5, 1778
Grey’s Raid — British incursion into New Bedford and Fair Haven
As part of British operations in the American Revolutionary War, Major General Charles Grey raided the Massachusetts communities of New Bedford, Fairhaven and Martha’s Vineyard. The raid was one of the first in a series between 1778 and 1781 executed by the British against American coastal communities.
Originally intended as a relief force for the British garrison that was briefly besieged at Newport, Rhode Island, Grey’s force of 4,000 arrived after the Americans had already retreated, and was diverted for raiding by General Sir Henry Clinton. On September 5 and 6 Grey raided New Bedford and Fairhaven, only encountering significant resistance in Fairhaven. His troops destroyed storehouses, shipping, and supplies in New Bedford, where they met with light resistance from the local militia, and did less damage at Fairhaven, where militia resistance had time to organize. He then sailed for Martha’s Vineyard, which was undefended. Between September 10 and 15 its residents surrendered 10,000 head of sheep and 300 oxen, as well as most of the island’s weapons.
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