The American Revolution forced Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, to return to England. One of his last acts as he did so was to burn William Brent's home in Wide Water. A newspaper reported:
"Since our last, we have certain advice that Lord Dunmore, with his motley band of pirated and renegadoes, have burnt the elegant brick house of William Brent, esq; at the mouth of Aquia creek, in Stafford county, as also two there houses lower down Potowmack river, the property of widow ladies, with several ferry boats; that on Tuesday fe'nnight he remanded on St. George's island, but was beat off by 1200 Marylanders; that he had burnt eight of his vessels, and was seen standing down the bay the Thursday after with all his fleet."
(Virginia Gazette, Sept. 6, 1776)