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Letter from Robert Howe to the Virginia Convention
Howe, Robert, 1732-1786
January 04, 1776
Volume 10, Page 387

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 4. P. 539.]
Letter from Colonel Howe to the Virginia Convention.

Norfolk, January 4th, 1776, 3 o'clock P. M.

About quarter past three on Monday afternoon, the whole fleet began a heavy cannonade, which lasted seven hours, without any intermission, and, indeed, continued off and on, till last night, since which we have been tolerably quiet. Under the fire of their ships, they landed in many places, and set fire to the houses on the wharves. In these attempts, many of them, we are certain were killed, and never failed being repulsed by our people. We had not a man killed, and only five or six wounded, one supposed mortally; and two or three women and children are said to be killed. Providence certainly interfered in our favour, or more lives must have been lost. They once landed and got into the streets with fieldpieces, but were beat back with loss, and no execution done by their fire. Nine tenths of the town are destroyed, but the fire is now out.