Publish date:
Updated on

Battle of Brewster Island

On this day in 1775, Patriot minutemen in whaleboats, commanded by Major Joseph Vose, raid Nantasket Point, also known as Little Brewster Island, in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The raiders temporarily drive off the island’s British guard and confiscate lamps, oil, gunpowder and boats, before burning the wooden parts of the point’s lighthouse.

Ten days later, at General George Washington’s orders, American Major Benjamin Tupper returned to the island with 300 men in whaleboats to prevent the British from completing their repairs to the burned lighthouse. They successfully killed or captured all 32 Redcoats defending the island, in addition to a British soldier with the rank of subaltern (just below a captain) and 10 carpenters who were employed there. Although Tupper missed the first tide and had to engage in an unexpected battle with British reinforcements, he lost only two men. Vose rose from his position as a major in William Heath’s Massachusetts Regiment to a colonel of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment on January 1, 1777. In that capacity, he fought under General George Washington in the campaign for Monmouth, New Jersey, before moving back to New England and seeing action near Newport, Rhode Island.

In February 1781, Vose took command of a battalion consisting of the eight oldest companies of Massachusetts troops. Vose’s battalion then took its place in the Marquis de Lafayette’s division of the Continental Army, fighting in Virginia during 1781, including in the victorious Battle of Yorktown. Vose completed his service during the War for Independence by commanding a Massachusetts regiment during the evacuation of New York City on November 25, 1783.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!


Monkey Trial ends

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ends with John Thomas Scopes being convicted of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee law. Scopes was ordered to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed. In March 1925, the Tennessee legislature had passed the more

Aswan High Dam completed

After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed on July 21, 1970. More than two miles long at its crest, the massive $1 billion dam ended the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region, and exploited a tremendous source of more

The First Battle of Bull Run

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the more

Johnson considers the options

With Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara back from a visit to Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson begins a weeklong series of conferences with his civilian and military advisers on Vietnam. He also met with private citizens that he trusted during this period. Johnson appeared more

Tsunami hits Alexandria, Egypt

On this day in the year 365, a powerful earthquake off the coast of Greece causes a tsunami that devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt. Although there were no measuring tools at the time, scientists now estimate that the quake was actually two tremors in succession, the more

Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan

President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan at the 1955 Geneva summit meeting with representatives of France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The plan, though never accepted, laid the foundation for President Ronald Reagan’s later policy of “trust, but more

First Battle of Bull Run begins

The war erupts on a large scale in the east when Confederate forces under P. T. Beauregard turn back Union General Irvin McDowell’s troops along the Bull Run stream in Virginia. The inexperienced soldiers on both sides slugged it out in a chaotic battle that resulted in a more