On 30 March 1781, two hundred thirty years ago, British sailors from armed vessels anchored in the Potomac River near Saint Clement’s [Blackistone] Island, and attempted to land at Stratford Landing as part of a mission to destroy and loot the plantation houses along both sides of the river. From his home Chantilly, which had a good view of the island, Richard Henry Lee, Lieutenant of the Westmoreland militia, watched the movements of the ships. The British launched smaller craft to approach the shoreline while the large ships fired cannons to cover the attack. Richard Henry Lee met them with a small, ill-armed group of local citizens. In the skirmish that followed, the Westmoreland militia repelled the attackers, killing one British sailor who was buried on Stratford beach.
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