Early Veterans on Cape Cod
On November 11th, we honor our American Veterans. From the Revolutionary War on, battles were fought on Cape Cod. Falmouth militia twice defeated the British when they bombarded the town with cannonballs during the Revolutionary War and again during the War of 1812.
Orleans fought the Battle of Rock Harbor in 1812. When British Admiral Lord Howe demanded one thousand dollars from the town to prevent the bombardment of the harbor’s saltworks, the townsfolk told him try to collect it. It turned out the Admiral’s ship, the H.M.S. Newcastle, was too big to get close enough to do damage with cannonballs, so instead they burned two American sloops and seized two others. When the Brits tried to invade on foot, the Orleans militia successfully repelled them.
On July 21, 1918, a German U-boat surfaced and began to fire on a tug towing four barges about three miles off Orleans. Eventually the over two hundred feet long U-boat sunk all four barges while hundreds of townspeople lined the beach to watch the battle. Orleans holds the unique distinction of being the only American soil fired upon during World War I. I love to add these historical tidbits to my novels which take place on Cape Cod.
The Cape, along with our whole country, was settled by strong and brave people. They fought hard for what was theirs. We thank all our veterans for their service every day, but especially on November 11th.