THE FORT is about the Penobscot Expedition of 1779. A small British garrison had been established in what is now Maine (and was then part of Massachusetts), and the rebel government in Boston was determined to expel that garrison.
Seven hundred British redcoats were in an unfinished fort, Fort George, and the harbour beneath the fort was protected by three sloops-of-war. Against this the State of Massachusetts sent an army of around 900 men and a fleet of 42 ships, half of which were warships.
In this early scene a handful of rebel ships feel out the British harbour defences. The Lieutenant John Moore who watches the fight is the famous Sir John Moore, of Corunna fame. This was his first experience of battle, when he was 18 years old.