Lord Dunmore dispatches note of “inexpressible mortification” - HISTORY
Year
1776

Lord Dunmore dispatches note of “inexpressible mortification”

From Norfolk, Virginia, Royal Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, dispatches a note to William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, expressing his “inexpressible mortification” that British Major General Sir Henry Clinton had been ordered to the “insignificant province of North Carolina to the neglect of this the richest and powerfully important province in America.” Dunmore was facing expulsion from Virginia at the hands of the Patriots and was deeply insulted that the army chose to defend its claims to the less significant colony of North Carolina instead of the economically and politically vital colony of Virginia.

Having departed New York on February 12, General Clinton met with Governor Dunmore in Hampton Roads, Virginia, on February 17 while en route to Cape Fear, North Carolina; he was forced to remain in Hampton Roads until February 27 due to stormy weather. Clinton finally reached North Carolina on March 12, by which time the North Carolina Loyalists had been routed at Moore’s Creek Bridge on February 27. The royal governors of North and South Carolina met Clinton to give him the bad news, but Commodore Peter Parker and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis had not yet arrived from Cork, Ireland, to support Clinton in his efforts to suppress the American rebellion. After waiting until May 31, 1776, for the last of the contingency to arrive from Cork, Clinton contemplated moving the British forces to the Chesapeake Bay, since North Carolina had already fallen to the Patriots, but Parker convinced him to head instead for Charleston, South Carolina.

Abandoned again, Dunmore returned to England after the publication of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. The county named in his honor in 1772 was renamed Shenandoah County in 1778. His hunting lodge, Porto Bello, where he first fled the Patriot uprising, remains on the National Register of Historic Places for York County, Virginia.

Clinton, Parker and Cornwallis attacked Fort Sullivan outside Charleston to no avail and retreated to New York City.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Pluto discovered

Pluto, once believed to be the ninth planet, is discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, by astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh.The existence of an unknown ninth planet was first proposed by Percival Lowell, who theorized that wobbles in the orbits of Uranus and ...read more

Know-Nothings convene in Philadelphia

The American Party, also known as the “Known-Nothing Party,” convenes in Philadelphia to nominate its first presidential candidate.The Know-Nothing movement began in the 1840s, when an increasing rate of immigration led to the formation of a number of so-called nativist societies ...read more

J. Robert Oppenheimer dies

On February 18, 1967, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” dies in Princeton, New Jersey, at the age of 62.An expert in quantum theory and nuclear physics, he was enlisted into the fledgling U.S. atomic weapons program in 1941. In 1942, the “Manhattan Project,” ...read more

De Valera resigns

After 16 years as head of independent Ireland, Eamon de Valera steps down as the taoiseach, or Irish prime minister, after his Fianna Fail Party fails to win a majority in the Dail Eireann (the Irish assembly). As a result of the general election, the Fianna Fail won 68 of the ...read more

Murder ignites Lincoln County War

Long simmering tensions in Lincoln County, New Mexico, explode into a bloody shooting war when gunmen murder the English rancher John Tunstall.Tunstall had established a large ranching operation in Lincoln County two years earlier in 1876, stepping into the middle of a dangerous ...read more

Toni Morrison’s birthday

Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, is born this day in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio.Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford to a welder father and homemaker mother. She graduated from Howard University in 1953, then took a master’s in literature at Cornell. She married ...read more

First Academy Awards announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the winners of the first Academy Awards on this day in 1929. It was a far cry from the suspense, glamour and endless press coverage surrounding the Oscars today: The first award recipients’ names were printed on the back ...read more

Avalanche kills 26 in British Columbia

Twenty-six people are killed in a glacial slide and avalanche on this day in 1965 in British Columbia, Canada. The victims were miners who were removing copper ore from underneath a glacier.The Granduc Mining Company camp was in the town of Stewart, near the border of British ...read more

Arsonist sets fire in South Korean subway

On this day in 2003, a man ignites a gasoline-filled container inside a subway train in Daegu, South Korea. The blaze engulfed the six-car train, before spreading to another train that pulled into station a few minutes later. In all, 198 people were killed and nearly 150 others ...read more

Lewis Armistead born

On this day in 1817, Confederate General Lewis Armistead is born in New Bern, North Carolina. Armistead is best known for leading Pickett’s Charge at the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,where he was mortally wounded.Armistead’s father, Walker Keith Armistead, and his five ...read more

Dale Earnhardt killed in crash

On this day in 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., considered one of the greatest drivers in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) history, dies at the age of 49 in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Earnhardt was driving his famous black ...read more