June 14 1776 - Final British Ships Cleared from Boston Harbor
The British had evacuated Boston in mid March, however the remnants of the fleet still lingered in Boston Harbor, keeping ships from leaving or entering the harbor. The British fleet in the harbor consisted of 8 ships, 2 brigs, one schooner and 2 of a type of three-masted ship called a snow.
General Benjamin Lincoln, who had been appointed to the Committee of Safety of Boston and part of the executive committee earlier in the year, resolved to drive the British from the harbor.
Benjamin Lincoln (January 24, 1733 - May 9, 1810)
The son of Benjamin Lincoln and his second wife Elizabeth Thaxter Lincoln, Benjamin was native to Hingham, Massachusetts. Lincoln worked on his father's farm and attended the local schools as a child. He entered politics in 1754 with his election to town constable.
French and Indian War
After the onset of the French and Indian War he enlisted in the 3rd Regiment of the Suffolk County militia, which his father commanded. He and Mary Cushing married in 1756. The couple would have eleven children. During this time he gained election to the town clerk position of Hingham and in the militia. His regiment saw no action during the war, however he received promotion to major during the war.
Lincoln held a number of local political posts during the ensuing years and gained election to the Massachusetts General Court in 1772. Two years later British General Thomas Gage dissolved the provincial assembly, however the assembly reformed as the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Lincoln, a supporter of the Patriot cause, received election to the Congress after it reformed. In the early months of the conflict he was appointed to the committee of safety for the Congress and helped oversee the movement of gunpowder and other supplies to the Continental troops besieging Boston.
Lincoln received appointment to major general in January 1776.
Lincoln made use of some of the cannon brought down to Boston as part of Colonel Henry Knox's "noble train of artillery," in January. He had cannon placed at strategic points in the harbor, beginning on June 11, 1776. By June 13, Lincoln was ready. He ordered his drummers to beat a notification to the citizens that some military action was about to take place. Next he had several hundred Continental troops and militia occupy strategic places in on islands in the harbor and at other important sites. By June 14, Lincoln was ready.
Driving the British from Boston Harbor
The rebel cannonade began at Long Island, which the captain of one ship answered. However, Colonial cannon fire began inflicting damage on his ship, so he ordered the fleet to take to sea. The colonials captured some of the ships along with several hundred British troops. The blockade of Boston had begun on June 14, 1774. It ended with Lincoln's cannonade on June 14, 1776.