Penobscott Expedition Musket Ball
The Penobscot Expedition was a 44-ship American naval task force mounted during the Revolutionary Warby the Provincial Congress of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The flotilla of 19 warships and 25 smaller support vessels sailed from Boston on July 19, 1779 for the upper Penobscot Bay in the District of Mainecarrying a ground expeditionary force of more than 1,000 colonial Marines and militiamen. Also included was a 100-man artillery detachment under the command of Lt. Colonel Paul Revere. The Expedition's goal was to reclaim control of what is now mid-coast Maine from the British who had seized it a month earlier and renamed it New Ireland. It was the largest American naval expedition of the war. The fighting took place both on land and at sea in and around the mouth of the Penobscot and Bagaduce Rivers at what is today Castine, Maine over a period of three weeks in July and August of 1779. One of its greatest victories of the war for the British, the Expedition was also the United States' worst naval defeat until Pearl Harbor 162 years later in 1941.
On June 17 of that year, British Army forces under the command of General Francis McLean landed and began to establish a series of fortifications centered on Fort George, on the Majabigwaduce Peninsula in the upper Penobscot Bay, with the goals of establishing a military presence on that part of the coast and establishing the colony of New Ireland. In response, the Province of Massachusetts, with some support from the Continental Congress, raised an expedition to drive the British out.
The Americans landed troops in late July and attempted to establish a siege of Fort George in a series of actions that were seriously hampered by disagreements over control of the expedition between land forces commander Brigadier General Solomon Lovell and the expedition's overall commander, Commodore Dudley Saltonstall, who was later dismissed from the Navy for ineptness and failure to effectively prosecute the mission. For almost three weeks General McLean held off the assault until a British relief fleet under the command of Sir George Collier arrived from New York on August 13, driving the American fleet to total self-destruction up the Penobscot River. The survivors of the American expedition were forced to make an overland journey back to more populated parts of Massachusetts with minimal food and armament. Ex. Dean Thomas