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Paul Revere Court-Martial: 1782

The Penobscot Expedition

The legendary night ride to warn the patriots of the advance of British troops took place in April 1775. Paul Revere was captured by the British, but released without his horse. As the Revolutionary War progressed he was given command of a garrison at Castle Island in Boston Harbor, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, in 1779 he was made commander of the land artillery on the Penobscot Expedition, notorious for turning into one of the worst naval disasters in American military history. The commander of the expedition was Dudley Saltonstall, commodore of the fleet; the purpose was to drive the British out of what is now Castine, Maine (then known as Maja Bagwaduce, with various alternate spellings), where they had begun the construction of a fort. The American expedition, which left Boston on July 19 and reached Penobscot Bay six days later, consisted of 900 men with 21 armed ships and 24 unarmed transport vessels. Construction of the British fort, in fact, had hardly begun, and it had only three guns, but Commodore Saltonstall refused to believe reports to this effect and did not attack. British land reinforcements arrived, but the Americans, though still having the advantage, did not attack. On August 14 four British warships arrived, and the American fleet fled up the Penobscot River, where the ships were trapped. The Americans burned at least 17 of their own fleet rather than let the British capture them, and they fled overland.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Paul Revere Court-Martial: 1782 - The Penobscot Expedition, Initial Allegations Against Revere, Revere Court-martialled At His Own Insistence