The First Marine Corps Amphibious Landing

Fort Nassau

Amphibious landings are nothing new to the Marine Corps. In fact, in 1775 Captain Samuel Nicholas and Robert Mullan gathered some recruits in a Philadelphia bar, the Tun Tavern. They lured them with beer and adventure.

The men became five companies of well-trained Marines. The group caught the British off guard on Nassau and defeated them. Nicholas was a Quaker and a former pacifist, yet he managed to rustle up a group of warriors from the Tavern.

Their goal was to take the fight to the British as the Army was already battling them.

The American Revolution

The governing bodies of Virginia relocated their gunpower stores away from prying colonial eyes and over to the Bahamas for safekeeping. However, Congress heard of the stores and sent Commodore Esek Hopkins to retrieve it. Hopkins with eight ships and 220 Marines, who were led by Captain Samuel Nicholas went to Nassau in 1776.

Their goal was to take all of the gunpower off of Britons hands. Nassau had two forts, its namesake and Montagu. It was very poorly defended.

Fort Nassau was not able to fire all of its 46 cannons and Fort Montagu had the entrance covered but no direct access to the gun powder and ammunition since it was all on Nassau.

Landing On The Islands

Hopkins hedged his bets on landing at Fort Nassau. He sent three ships at first light. The plan was to capture New Providence before anyone noticed and could alert the rest of the island.

However, they were scene by the British and the guns began firing from Fort Nassau, causing the rest of the island to become defensive. The team had to retreat.

After the initial attack, the Governor of the Bahamas decided to relocate the extra gunpowder to a single ship, then decided against it. He kept it where it was.

Fort Montagu had only 30 militiamen defending it. marines and 50 Continental soldiers decided to land on Nassau using three ships.

The USS Wasp was their support vessel. The Americans landed on Montagu completely unopposed, making for the first amphibious landing of the U.S. Marine Corps,

Post Landing

After landing, the Americans came up against Bristish recon forces. They had recieved 80 more militiamen, but they soon realized that was not enough.

Montagu only fired three shots before they waved the white flag and went home. The Marines took over the Island.

The following day they took over Fort Nassau and didn’t even fire a shot.

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