Fort Nelson (Virginia)

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Fort Nelson (Virginia)

FORT NELSON (VIRGINIA). 10 May 1779. The Matthews-Collier raid started offensive operations against Portsmouth by landing about a thousand men at the mouth of the Elizabeth River and moving on the town and its defensive Fort Nelson. The Virginians could not resist because they had only a hundred men from the State Artillery Regiment under Major Thomas Matthews in garrison. Matthews spiked his guns and withdrew up the South Branch of the river with his stock of ammunition, but left his colors flying on the fort as a gesture of defiance. The British pursued him until the garrison reached the safety of the Dismal Swamp. A court of inquiry held at Williamsburg on 4 June exonerated Matthews of any charges of misconduct.

SEE ALSO Virginia, Military Operations in.

                    revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.

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