Do You Know … About the Great Gunpowder Scandal? by Horst Augustinovic
The story of the Gunpowder Plot, when on August 14th 1775, 100 barrels of gunpowder was stolen from a British powder magazine on Retreat Hill in St. George’s and shipped to the American rebels, is well known.
Just like today, most of our food came from America with Bermudians shipping salt from their Turks Island salt pans to America and returning to Bermuda with food and other necessities of life. Unfortunately the American Revolutionary War changed all that when Congress placed an embargo on exports to Britain and her colonies. Suddenly supplies were cut and Bermudians faced starvation. Fortunately Bermuda had one thing that the American rebels needed urgently – British gunpowder – and stealing it must have seemed the obvious solution to the problem.
The Diorama shows the daring nighttime robbery underway. On the left is a French officer being overpowered. He happened to be a prisoner on parole and as he disappeared that night, it was assumed that he was in league with the robbers and left with them, however, when the foundation of the unfinished church was being excavated a hundred years later, a skeleton with a fractured skull and fragments of French insignia was found. Bermudians then recalled the story of the Frenchman who disappeared during the gunpowder robbery and believed that he came on the scene accidentally, was mistaken for a British officer, and quickly killed and buried nearby.
For more information and the latest research on Bermuda’s Gunpowder Plot, see THE GREAT GUNPOWDER PLOT by Michael G. Marsh, available at Bermuda book stores. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org