Black History

Black History Share this Page Black History Month presents an opportunity to acknowledge and pay respects to African Americans who have helped lay the foundation for our nation throughout history. […]

British Soldiers in Rhode Island, December 1776 – October 1779

The Relief by H. W. Bunbury, circa 1781, from the Anne S. K. brown Military Collection. A noncommissioned officer inspects three soldiers in front of an officer's tent while local citizens look on; in the foreground, a young drummer plays with a dog. This image of an encampment in England may be typical of scenes that occurred in Rhode Island during the British occupation.

One day in September 1778 John Hopwood was hard at work. The thirty-five-year-old native of Hutton, a village in the eastern part of Yorkshire a few miles from the coast, was a butcher, but at the age of twenty-eight had chosen a different career – he enlisted in the British army, in the 54th Regiment of Foot.

Rhode Island’s Road to Rebellion Against Great Britain, 1764-1775

Photo of a replica of a Providence Sloop. From 1976, courtesy of the Heritage Harbor Foundation

In the afternoon of June 9, 1772, the sloop Hannah, a Providence packet commanded by Capt. Benjamin Lindsey, sailed forth from Newport up Narragansett Bay toward its home port. Very quickly Lindsey discovered that he was being chased by the Gaspee, a British revenue schooner stationed in the bay “for the protection of the Trade, and to prevent smuggling.”