ancestryink fisherman

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Live Cannonball Brought to Falmouth HMS Nimrod Lecture

Maritime Monday is being aired on Tuesday this week, as you can see.

The following news article relates an 'explosive' event that happened last month during a talk given at the Falmouth Public Library, regarding cannonballs retrieved in Falmouth during the War of 1812.  I desperately wish I had been present during all the excitement.

First, here's a little back story of the maritime and land clashes that took place in Falmouth during this time period. A link to the news article follows:

During the War of 1812, Falmouth suffered from the embargoes in no uncertain terms, but generally stayed out of the fracas.  Some accounts report that she lost some ships: the brand new schooners Nancy, Elizabeth and Fancy were all burned by the British.  These ships were possibly anchored in Wareham, which suffered the burning of a cotton factory, and some of its own ships. Falmouth itself was threatened with conflagrations, yet endured none. The citizens, nonetheless, moved to safe quarters, away from the shore.  And when the commander of the British brig Nimrod demanded Gen. Joseph Dimmick surrender his cannons, he basically said:  "Come and get them."

Painting of HMS Nimrod, held by Falmouth Historical Society

Nimrod responded by lobbing a few cannonballs towards the town.  There were no casualties, a couple of buildings were grazed, and one cannonball lodged in what is now the (seemingly abandoned and vine-covered) Nimrod Restaurant. Apparently, the cannonball hole is still viewable in the men's room wall, and men and women alike have delighted in taking a look.

The talk given at the Falmouth Public Library the first week of last May, was all about these 1812 cannonballs.  It was an evening that would conclude in a rather unexpected way.

Here is the article.  Enjoy!

PS.  The brave mariners of Falmouth would have the last word.*  In 1814, 32 men led by Capt. Weston Jenkins, would slip from Woods Hole harbor aboard the small sloop Two Friends and approach the British privateer Retaliation.  Retaliation fired a warning signal at the Two Friends which responded by dropping anchor.  However, 20 of the canny and brave Falmouth men set out quietly in long boats, came alongside Retaliation, pointed their muskets at the crew, and took possession of the ship and and her plunder, which included two American prisoners.  Retaliation indeed for the town of Falmouth!

*Source:  Freeman, Frederick, "The History of Cape Cod, Vol. 2"; The Annals of Falmouth; pages 467-8.

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