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Matthews, Edward 1729-1805

Military officer; born in England in 1729. In 1746 he was an ensign in the Coldstream Guards, and before he came to America, in 1776, was a colonel and aide-de-camp to the King. He commanded a brigade of the Guards, with the rank of brigadier-general, in the attack on Fort Washington. In May, 1779, General Clinton sent 2,000 men from New York, under General Matthews, to plunder the coast of Virginia. He entered the Elizabeth River on transports, escorted by a squadron of armed vessels under Sir George Collier, on May 9. They plundered and spread desolation on both sides of the river to Norfolk. They seized that city, then rising from its ashes and enjoying a considerable trade, and also Portsmouth, [143] opposite. These were the chief places of deposit of Virginia agricultural productions, especially tobacco. They captured and burned not less than 130 merchant vessels in the James and Elizabeth rivers, an unfinished Continental frigate on the stocks at Portsmouth, and eight ships-ofwar on the stocks at Gosport, a short distance above Portsmouth, where the Virginians had established a navy-yard. So sudden and powerful was the attack, that very little resistance was made by Fort Nelson, below Portsmouth, or by the Virginia militia. Matthews carried away or destroyed a vast amount of tobacco and other property, estimated, in the aggregate, at $2,000,000. Afterwards he assisted in the capture of Verplanck's and Stony Point. Appointed major-general, he was stationed at or near New York, and returned to England in 1780; was commander-in-chief of the forces in the West Indies in 1782, and the next year was governor of Grenada and the Caribbean Islands. In 1797 he became a general. He died in Hants, England, Dec. 26, 1805.

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