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.
April 20, 1775 Williamsburg Gunpowder Incident.
On the night of April 20, Royal Navy sailors went to the Williamsburg powder magazine, loaded fifteen half barrels of powder into the governor’s wagon, and transported it to the eastern end of the Quarterpath Road to be loaded aboard the Magdalen in the James River. The act was discovered by townsfolk while underway, and they sounded an alarm. Local militia rallied to the scene, and riders spread word of the incident across the colony. Dunmore had as a precaution armed his servants with muskets, and it was only the calming words of Patriot leaders, including the Speaker of the House of Burgesses, Peyton Randolph, that prevented the assembling crowd from storming Dunmore’s mansion. The city council demanded the return of the powder, claiming it was the property of the colony and not the Crown. Dunmore demurred, stating that he was moving the powder as protection against its seizure during a rumored slave uprising, and would eventually return it. This seemed to satisfy the assembled crowd, and it dispersed peacefully.
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