The Pennsylvania Evening Post Updates from the Revolutionary War in Virginia, December 1, 1775


The Pennsylvania Evening Post, a newspaper that supported the Patriot’s cause, on December 12, 1775, reports the latest updates on the Revolutionary War in Virginia. In the final week before the Battle of Great Bridge, Colonel William Woodford and Lieutenant Colonel Charles Scott are moving their 2nd Virginia regiment closer to the position of the army of John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, on the north side of the Elizabeth River. They met little resistance, a foreshadowing of the relative ease with which they would win this first Virginia battle of the war. The article emphasizes that many enslaved people are joining, or attempting to join, Dunmore’s army following his proclamation.



By a Gentleman from Maryland, we have [illegible] intelligence that Doctor Connelly was seized last Tuesday se’nnight, while in bed, at the house of one Doctor Snively, near Hagar’s town, in that province, with two other gentlemen of the names of Smith and Campbell. Under Connelly’s pillow was found a brace of loaded pistols, and a scimitar; and the triumvirate had all necessaries to encamp in when whey got to the back settlements, in their route to the Indian country. They were conducted the same day, under a guard of forty men, to Frederick town, where, upon being searched, letters were found in possession of Connelly from Lord Dunmore to several Indian Kings, also a considerable sum in specie, to distribute among the Indians, to induce them to go to war against the colonies.

Last Tuesday night, a party of men, chiefly blacks, from a tender, came up to Mr. Benjamin Wells’s at Mulberry island and pillaged his house of every thing valuable such as bedding, wearing apparel, liquors, a watch, the flock of poultry, and carried off two negro girls. They told Mrs. Wells that they had orders to burn the house; which they would certainly have put into execution, had it not been for her earnest entreaty to spare it that time, as she had some sick children in bed, who must perish in the flames.

There are ten Negroes now in the public jail, who were taken about Hampton, endeavouring to get to Lord Dunmore. Two of them are wounded.

By advices from the army, we learn that Colonel Woodford arrives at Suffolk on the twenty-fifth instant; and that Colonel Scott, with his detachment, had advanced within seven miles of the Great Bridge. He has taken several Tory prisoners, particularly one Ives, who has been a very active person, and informed, that Lord Dunmore had withdrawn most of his troops from the bridge, which is only guarded by Tories and slaves.

Several persons, lately from Norfolk, inform that Lord Dunmore was preparing barracks for his army near the distillery, and had begun to intrench between the two rope walks; and that several Scotch Tories in that borough command black companies, who speak, with much confidence, of beating us, with the odds of five to one.

The Committee of Safety of North-Carolina have offered Colonel Woodford the assistance of their troops, who are now at Currituck, about a day’s march from the Great Bridge.

By a gentleman from Norfolk, we learn that the prison of that borough was burnt down last Sunday night, by some accident, but that the prisoners were all taken out safe. We also hear, that sundry houses in the environs of Norfolk had been set on sire by Lord Dunmore’s order, to prevent our troops from occupying them.

Camp at Suffolk, November 29. Colonel Woodford having received intelligence, that two companies of militia were to assemble last Monday, by Lord Dunmore’s orders, detached Colonel Wells, with a party of volunteers, to put a stop to their proceedings, who had the good fortune to secure them both, with their orders from the Governor and his County Lieutenant, Colonel Willoughby, copies of which you have enclosed; the other Captain’s name is Stephen Wright, and his order the same. – An express from Colonel Scott informs us, that he arrived at the Great Bridge yesterday, at twelve o’clock, and had sent [illegible] parties, who have secured all the boats. Some shot were exchanged between our advanced party and the enemy’s sentinels, one of whom was wounded, but made his escape. One man of Captain Parker’s company was killed on the spot, which is all the damage we sustained. Colonel Scott describes the fort erected at the bridge to be an unfinished blockade, without any cannon yet mounted; and writes, that he proposes to cross the river early this morning, with part of the men, and to attack the enemy on both sides at the same time, which most people think will succeed, with very little loss on our side. – Lieutenant Sampford, on a scouting party the day before, started a camp of some blacks, who ran off. He called to them to surrender; but one of them preparing for battle, he shot him through the head with his rifle.

December 2

Since Lord Dunmore’s proclamation made its appearance here, it is said he has recruited his army, in the counties of Princess Anne and Norfolk, to the amount of about two thousand men, including his black regiment, which is thought to be a considerable part, with this inscription on their breasts – “liberty to Slaves.”- However, as the rivers will henceforth be strictly watched, and every possible precaution taken, it is hoped others will be effectually prevented from joining those his Lordship has already collected.

Nine Negroes (two of them women) who had been endeavouring to get to Norfolk in an open boat, and put ashore on Point Comfort, were fired upon by some persons in pursuit, taken, and brought here on Thursday; two of the fellows are wounded, and it is expected the rest will soon be made examples of.

APA Citation:
Pennsylvania Evening Post. The Pennsylvania Evening Post Updates from the Revolutionary War in Virginia, December 1, 1775. (2023, November 27). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Pennsylvania Evening Post. "The Pennsylvania Evening Post Updates from the Revolutionary War in Virginia, December 1, 1775" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (27 Nov. 2023). Web. 22 Jun. 2024
Last updated: 2023, November 27
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