The Raid on Chester occurred during the American Revolution when the US privateer, Captain Noah Stoddard of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and four other privateer vessels attacked the British settlement at Chester, Nova Scotia on 30 June 1782. The town was defended by Captain Jonathan Prescott and Captain Jacob Millett.
During the American Revolution, Nova Scotia was invaded regularly by American Revolutionary forces by land and sea. Throughout the war, American privateers devastated the maritime economy by raiding many of the coastal communities. There were constant attacks by privateers, which began seven years earlier with the Raid on St. John (1775) and included raids on all the major outposts in Nova Scotia. The first raid on Chester happened in 1779 and the second happened three years later.
Raid on Chester
On June 30, the day before the raid on Lunenburg, Stoddard and two other privateers descended on Chester, Nova Scotia firing cannon from their vessels. Captain of the militia Jonathan Prescott fired cannon from the blockhouse (The Cannons Prescott used are now located on the grounds of the Chester Legion.) Prescott’s cannon fire struck one of the privateers. As a result, the privateers retreated behind Nass' Point. The crews went ashore and requested of Prescott to bury their dead. Prescott indicated that if they disarmed themselves, they would be assisted. Eventually, Prescott invited Stoddard and the two other captains to tea. Realizing the community was still vulnerable to attack, Prescott and his son lied to the privateers that Commander Creighton at Lunenburg had sent 100 soldiers to be billeted at Chester that evening. Upon the privateers retreating to their vessels, Captain Jacob Millett led women women and children to dress in red to pretended to be British soldiers from Lunenburg. The privateers left Chester to raid Raid on Lunenburg the following day.
The day after the raid on Chester, the American privateers redirected their attack on Lunenburg, presumably believing the Lunenburg militia had left the town to defend Chester. Prescott was suspected of being an American Patriot sympathizer given that, after the initial hostile engagement, Prescott reportedly allowed Captain Noah Stoddard to bury his dead and then had tea with him the day before Stoddard orchestrated the Raid on Lunenburg (1782). People were also suspicious of Prescott's allegiance because a number of Dr. Prescott's family were Patriots in the American Revolution. His nephew Samuel road with Paul Revere. Samuel eventually was taken prisoner to Halifax where he is reported to have died during the war. Jonathan named one of his son's after his nephew Samuel and he is buried in Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Jonathan's son Joseph joined the Continental Army, fought at Fort Ticonderoga and was a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati. Another of Dr. Prescott's sons John fought in the Battle of Lexington. His other son was Charles Ramage Prescott.
After the war, Prescott was given the blockhouse (present-day the Wisteria Cottage House) and used it as his home.
- American Revolution - Nova Scotia theatre
- Colonial American military history
- Military history of Nova Scotia
- Capt. John Tibbets' (1748-1786)
- Eastman, pp. 61–63
- Captain Noah Stoddard, died in New Bedford, January 29, 1850, aged 95 ; a soldier of the Revolution.
- Benjamin Franklin also engaged France in the war, which meant that many of the privateers were also from France.
- Raids happened at Liverpool (October 1776, March 1777, September 1777, May 1778, September 1780) and on Annapolis Royal (1781) (Roger Marsters (2004). Bold Privateers: Terror, Plunder and Profit on Canada's Atlantic Coast", pp. 87–89 ISBN 0887806449)
- The History of the County of Lunenburg, pp. 270-171
- The Prescott memorial, or, A geneaolgoical memior, p. 86
- History of the County of Lunenburg, p.263
- A Naval History of the American Revolution
- DesBrisay, Mather Byles (1895). History of the county of Lunenburg, pp. 62-68
- Eastman, Ralph M. "Captain Noah Stoddard" in Some Famous Privateers of New England. 1928. pp. 61–63
- Gwyn, Julian. Frigates and Foremasts: The North American Squadron in Nova Scotia Waters, 1745–1815, University of British Columbia Press. 2003 ISBN 0774809116.
- MacMechan, Archibald (1923), “The Sack of Lunenburg” in Sagas of the Sea. The Temple Press, pp. 57–72.
- A History of American Privateers
- Massachusetts Privateers, p. 176
- Agnes Creighton, "An Unforeclosed Mortgage," Acadiensis, October, 1905
- Primary documents
- The Boston Gazette, and the Country Journal, Monday, July 15, 1782;
- The Massachusetts Spy: Or, American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], Thursday, July 25, 1782;
- The Continental Journal [Boston], Thursday, July 18, 1782.
- Joseph Pernette to Franklin, letter, dated at La Have, July 3, 1782, reprinted in DesBrisay, Mather Byles, History of the County of Lunenburg, Toronto: Wesley Briggs, 1895, 65–67.
- Leonard Rudolf's account in Invasion of Lunenburg in Acadie and the Acadians
- Howe, Octavius Thorndike. Beverly Privateers in the Revolution, 1922, p. 361.
- Bell, Winthrop Pickard. (1961). The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia.
- "Privateering and piracy: the effects of New England raiding upon Nova Scotia during the American Revolution, 1775–1783". By John Dewar Faibisy
- Sack of Lunenburg Plaque
- Sacking of Lunenburg – Primary Sources
- Beck, J. Murray (1983). "Creighton, John (1721-1807)". In Halpenny, Francess G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
- Sack of Lunenburg – American War of Independence at Sea
- MA Scammel
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