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Penobscot Expedition


PENOBSCOT EXPEDITION (1779), an attempt by Massachusetts to dislodge the British from Bagaduce (now Castine), on the Penobscot peninsula of Maine, which they had occupied in June 1779. Nineteen armed vessels with more than 2,000 men, commanded by Capt.

Dudley Saltonstall, together with twenty-four transports carrying about 900 militia under Gen. Solomon Lovell, with Paul Revere as chief of artillery, arrived at Penobscot Bay on 25 July 1779. Lovell's forces made a courageous landing, but Saltonstall failed to cooperate. When British naval reinforcements arrived on 13 August Saltonstall hardly attempted a defense and lost nearly all his vessels, most of them being burned by their crews to prevent capture. Ill-conceived, ill-planned, and worse executed, the expedition cost Massachusetts £1,739,000 in inflated currency and nearly its whole trading fleet.


Cayford, John E. The Penobscot Expedition: Being an Account of the Largest American Naval Engagement of the Revolutionary War. Orrington, Maine: C & H, 1976.

Fowler, William M. Rebels under Sail: The American Navy during the Revolution. New York: Scribners, 1976.

Robert E.Moody/a. r.

See alsoMaine ; Penobscot Region ; Revolution, American: Military History .

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