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Camden Rebels Part 1 

Before Pearl Harbor, the Penobscot Expedition was the greatest naval defeat in U.S. History.

It took place in our own backyard, during the Revolutionary War.

What isn’t as well known is that patriots who survived the disaster wound up in the anit-British stronghold of that era: Camden.

Alan Grover has some new details that are being added to this page in history.

BY 1779, THE BRITISH REALIZED THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY LOSE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. THAT’S WHY THEY SENT A NAVAL AND GROUND FORCE TO CASTINE THAT SUMMER. THE TOWN WAS CHOSEN AS THE CAPITOL OF A NEW BRITISH PROVINCE THAT WAS TO BE CREATED IN MAINE: THE PROVINCE OF NEW IRELAND. THE LAND WOULD BECOME THE REFUGE OF LOYALISTS FLEEING FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

&quot:WHEN THE AMERICANS FOUND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON THERE IN WHAT WAS THEN THE DISTRICT OF MAINE, THEY HASTILY PUT TOGETHER AN ARMADA OF AROUND 40 SHIPS, 46 VESSELS. AND THEY CAME HERE WITH THE IDEA THAT THEY WOULD IMMEDIATELY OUST THE BRITISH OUT OF CASTINE, BEFORE THEY WERE FULLY FORTIFIED FROM HALIFAX.&quot:

BUT PROBLEMS PLAGUED THE AMERICANS FROM THE START. THEY WERE LED BY A TIMID COMMANDER, DUDLEY SALTONSTALL, WHO EVENTUALLY BECAME KNOWN AS &quot:SIT AND STALL&quot: FOR REFUSING TO ATTACK THE BRITISH DESPITE HIS LARGER FORCE.

&quot:ANOTHER IMPORTANT PART IS THAT PAUL REVERE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE TROOP SHIPS, AND HIS SO-CALLED MILITIA. AND HE DESCRIBED THEM AS MEN OVER 50, AND YOUNG BOYS UNDER 15. AND THEIR ONLY REQUIREMENTS IS THAT THEY HAD TO BE ABLE TO WALK A MILE WITHOUT FALLING OVER. SO THE ENTIRE PENOBSCOT EXPEDITION, FROM THE AMERICAN SIDE, WAS REALLY POORLY PLANNED.&quot:

WHEN THE RAG-TAG AMERICANS FINALLY DID ATTACK, IN AUGUST, THEY WERE ROUTED BY THE PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS AND SAILORS OF KING GEORGE. THE ROYAL NAVY CHASED THE AMERICAN FLEET UP THE PENOBSCOT RIVER, AND SUNK THE VESSELS ONE BY ONE. THE BURNING SHIPS COULD BE SEEN ALL THE WAY TO BLUE HILL. EVEN THE FEW SHIPS THAT MADE IT TO PRESENT DAY BANGOR WERE VICTIMIZED BY THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE PATRIOTS.

&quot:AND WHEN THEY WERE EXPLODING AND DESTROYING THEIR OWN SHIPS, ELEVEN OF THEM IN BANGOR, BETWEEN BANGOR AND BREWER, RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE KENDUSKEAG STREAM, THE GREATEST DANGER CAME NOT ONLY FROM THE EXPLODING OF THE SHIPS, BUT ALL OF THEIR CANNONS WERE READY FOR FIRE. SO THEY WERE ACTUALLY SHOT AT BY THEIR OWN CANNONS AS THEY ARE TRYING TO FLEE.&quot:

YET, THE HORRORS WERE JUST BEGINNING FOR THE DEFEATED PATRIOTS, AND THE CITIZENS UP AND DOWN THE MAINE COAST.

WE’D LIKE TO THANK THE &quot:NORTHEAST HISTORIC FILM ARCHIVES&quot: IN BUCKSPORT FOR THE USE OF THEIR VINTAGE FILM.