Black History

Black History 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. Many Black men […]

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.”

Rochambeau Statue – Newport Harbor

Statue of Rochambeau in Newport, Rhode Island

King’s Park on Newport Harbor is the present location of a statute to General Rochambeau. The statue remains a symbol of the assistance that France rendered to the American colonies during the War for Independence.

French Encampment in Newport: July 11th – November 1st, 1780

Rochambeau statue in Newport, Rhode Island

French forces under General Jean-Baptiste de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, had sailed into Narragansett Bay on 11 July 1780 and over the next few days debarked in Newport. A review in the Vioménil Papers lists a total of 5,218 NCOs and enlisted men arriving.