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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Long Beach Island, Partisan Thugs and the Digital Age


     Captain Andrew Steelman of the American privateer Alligator found an abandoned and stranded cutter in Barnegat Bay, in the vicinity of present-day Barnegat Light.  He and his men spent a day unloading the cargo and camped on the beach that night.  On October 25, 1782, a year after the Continental victory at Yorktown, the Tory Loyalist John Bacon (considered more of a banditti or outlaw using the cloak of his partisanship for criminal activity) attacked Steelman and his men in their sleep, with knives.  Twenty-one Americans were killed.  Bacon only had nine men with him.  Steelman had been betrayed by one of the locals he had enlisted to help unload the cargo.  Reinforcements arrived and the Loyalists withdrew.  The episode gave a sense of urgency to the Patriots, and two months later Bacon was finally killed after the battle of Cedar Creek Bridge.  A plaque about a mile from the site of the incident, in the vicinity of Barnegat Lighthouse, informs of the event.



     Today we have the digital equivalent of partisan thugs.  As silent as knives, the on-line campaigns destroy reputations and people with the same deadly vigor.  There are those who cloak invidious views under the broader ideological rubrics.  They are no better than the banditti of the Revolution.  
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