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On October 18, 1775, the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts was bombed by a British naval squadron. Constant bombing was supposed to be an act of retaliation against the colonials for acts of protest against British authority in New England. Their reason for destroying Falmouth was to intimidate the colonials and cause them to be under the control of British authority. The plan did not work because the colonials still did not obey the orders of the British authority. The outcome of the situation was a town almost completely burnt down and barely changed the protesting situation.

  • A picture showing Falmouth on Fire
  • A 1782 Engraving of The Burning of Falmouth
     After the battles of Lexington and Concord the British army was besieged in Boston.  The Royal Navy was supporting the British and sending them supplies.  At this time an increasing number of violent protests against British authority in New England's coastal towns were breaking out. Samuel Graves was instructed to put an end to the burgeoning rebellion.  Graves had all vessels searched for military stores and communication and stripped broken down vessels of their masts and rudders to prevent anyone from using them.
     Samuel Graves gave an order to Henry Mowatt to lead four armed vessels to punish a series of rebellious coastal communities.  Falmouth was included on the list of rebellious coastal communities due to several acts of violence.  Mowatt's naval squadron set sail from Boston in early October passing up the towns that were too scattered for bombardment.  The British squadron arrived in Falmouth on October 16 and Mowatt read a proclamtion accusing the town of rebellion.  He gave the residents two hours to leave before he started bombing the town.

     Local leaders in Falmouth, Massachusetts were able to talk Mowatt into delaying the bombing until he received confirmation of orders from Boston.  Mowatt set a deadline that everyone be out and ready for attack at 9:00 am on October 18.  Forty minutes after nine the town appeared to be deserted so he ordered the fleet to fire.  The bombing was continuous all day even thought there were still people present in the town.  By the end of the day the body of the town was in one flame.