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[226]

The innumerable affinities which had united the

Chap. LV.} 1775. Nov.
people with the British government, still retained great force; a vague dread of taking up arms against their sovereign pervaded the mind of the common people; none had as yet renounced allegiance; after the success at Kemp's Landing, nearly a hundred of the men who were in the field the day before, came in and took the oath of allegiance which Dunmore had framed; and in the following three weeks it was accepted by nearly three thousand: but of these less than three or four hundred could bear arms, of which not half so many knew the use. Norfolk was almost entirely deserted by native Virginians, and was become the refuge of the Scotch, who, as the factors of Glasgow merchants, had long regulated the commercial exchanges of the colony. Loyal to the crown, they were now embodied as the militia of Norfolk. The patriots resolved to take the place.

On the twenty eighth of November the Virginian forces under Woodford, consisting of his own regiment and five companies of the Culpepper minutemen, with whom John Marshall, afterwards chief justice of the United States, served as a lieutenant, marched to the Great Bridge, and threw up a breastwork on the side opposite to the British fort. They had no arms but the musket and the rifle; the fort was strong enough to withstand musket-shot; they therefore made many attempts to cross the branch on a raft, that they might attack their enemy in the rear; but they were always repulsed. Should the fort be given up, the road to Norfolk was open to the victors; in the dilemma between his weakness and his danger, Dunmore resolved to risk an attempt to fall on the

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