Although Freetown was known as a Loyalist stronghold, many townspeople had become more engaged in the separation efforts by 1776. Early on May 25, 1778, a British ship sailed up the Taunton River into lower Freetown. Spotted by a sentinel, the ship was fired upon by several local minutemen. The ship fired grapeshot from its cannons in response. Several soldiers disembarked to lay siege to the increasingly rebellious towns in southeastern Massachusetts. These soldiers proceeded to burn a dwelling house, grist mill and sawmill, before being fired upon by local Freetown militia minutemen who, alerted by the sentinel, had been keeping watch over the river. The British soldiers then took one resident as prisoner, set fire to his property, and retreated to their ship. The prisoner was eventually released after several days, and the British retreated from Freetown altogether.
The Freetown minutemen were aided by minutemen from the Tiverton outpost. The British suffered two casualties as a result of the light fighting, and the colonists suffered no losses.