British Lieutenant Henry Mowatt arrived in Falmouth in October of 1775 with a vendetta. Earlier that year, while protecting a Falmouth merchant as he loaded his ship with white pine headed for England, Mowatt was captured and held for several hours by Samuel Thompson, a radical patriot from Brunswick. Mowatt escaped harm, but suffered humiliation, and he returned months later to destroy the rebel town. He gave Falmouth residents a twenty-four hour notice to evacuate the town, and then ordered his crew to fire on the empty homes and buildings.

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