Bombed & Burned Walking Tour

Posted by Annie

Historian Rei Battcher, in the persona of Revolutionary War Captain, Simeon Potter, will lead a walking tour along the Bristol waterfront commemorating the 240th anniversary of the burning of Bristol by the British in 1778.

On the afternoon of October 7, 1775, a squadron of British ships, lead by Captain James Wallace, left Newport and sailed into Bristol. After firing a salute, the Town’s leaders were asked to meet Wallace to discuss British demands. The residents refused. The British then bombarded the town with cannon balls, shells, and animal carcases for about an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Captain Simeon Potter, former pirate, privateer and slave trader, now considered a respectable citizen, boarded Wallace’s ship and negotiated a cease fire. Wallace demanded 200 sheep and 30 cattle, but the town was unable to comply, not having sufficient stock. Eventually, the British accepted 40 sheep in exchange for a peaceful departure from Bristol. Remnant cannonballs and other shot from the bombardment are held in the BH&PS collections.

The tour begins and ends at the Society, 48 Court Street.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.