GaspeeVirtual Archives
Skirmishes In and Around Newport
We serendipitously ran across the following paragraphs appearing in the Virginia Gazette, and graciously provided on-line by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at:

The first article is a curious story of how the Captain of the Gaspee, Lt. William Dudingston feared for his life from the hands of Newporters, even while he was convalescing from his wounds suffered during the attack on the Gaspee. It appears in the Virginia Gazette on September 3, 1772, on line at <, Column 1>.  Dudingston was transferred to the HMS Beaver commanded by Capt. Linzee (not Lindsay). The word Odium in Latin means "to bring forth hatred". It is interesting that Dudingston claims in his December 1772 petition for relief to King George III that he was "daily threatened to take away his Life; until he was rescued at last by Capt. Linzee in Your Majesty's Sloop"

Boston, July 27
Lieutenant Duddingston, late Commander of the Gaspee armed schooner, which was lately destroyed in Providence River, and himself much wounded in the Groin, was removed on the 18th ult. by Captain Lindsay, from Brenton's Neck, on Board his Ship, upon Account of a Report among the Marines, who were ashore to guard him, that the Inhabitants of Newport intended to raise a Mob and take him out of Mr. Brenton's House and murder him; and notwithstanding Mr. Brenton told them there was not the least Danger, and would pledge himself, and all he had, for Mr. Duddingston's safety, yet, to keep up the farcical Fear, and to bring a further Odium on Lord Hillsborough's loyal Colony of Rhode Island, they persisted in carrying him on Board the Beaver.

The second article from the Virginia Gazette is dated January 28, 1773, and is at <, Column 3>. It apparently relates to the time period of January 1773 during which the Royally-appointed commission investigating the destruction of the Gaspee was then presiding in Newport. The Commissioners where entitled to call on the nearby various arms of the British military for assistance as need be, and General Gage of Boston was specifically ordered to have troops at readiness to march to Newport.

Williamsburg, January 28.
By a Gentleman from New York we have Advice that the Day before he left that Place (last Friday fe'nnight) an Express arrived from Newport, in Rhode Island, with an Account that four Companies of Regulars, which had been ordered for that Government, being on their march to Newport, were met about four Miles from the Town by a Number of the Inhabitants, armed; upon which an Engagement ensued, in which eighteen of the Rhode Island People were wounded and about six of them killed, and that some of the Regulars were slain likewise. The Troops, however, entered Newport that Evening.

We do not recall either of these incidents ever being mentioned previously in historical accounts. The facts of these threats and skirmishes lends credence to the concept that the citizens of Rhode Island were protective of those that burnt the Gaspee, and went to unusual lengths to obstruct the commission charged with finding them. So far as we've been able to discover, no retractions or amendments to these storie were made in the Virginia Gazette within the subsequent few editions, despite reporting other news from the area.  On the other hand, the lack of follow-up news of the threats against Dudingston, and the January skirmish quite probably indicate that these all may have been rumors rather than facts.
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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 2/2004    Last Revised 07/2009      NewportSkirmish.htm