The Battle of Rhode Island Association

Dr. Friederike Baer and Hessians in Rhode Island

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The Battle of Rhode Island Association (BoRIA) Lecture Series sponsored by BankNewport continued with our partners the Varnum Memorial Armory on Thursday, December 7th at The Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, 6 Main St, East Greenwich As we present Author and historian Dr. Friederike Baer and her lecture: “I cannot call it a Conquest – the Rebels ran away like Villains”: German Soldiers in Rhode Island, 1776 to 1779″.

The British occupation of Rhode Island from 1776 to 1779 included more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians belonging to the corps from Hessen-Kassel and Ansbach-Bayreuth, two of the six German territories that supplied troops to Britain in its war against the American rebels. During this time, they dealt with persistent harassment by the Americans and, in August 1778, they participated in the Battle of Rhode Island. The presentation will examine the land, the people, and the revolutionary war in Rhode Island from the perspective of these German troops.

Friederike Baer is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, Abington College. She holds a Ph.D. in early American history from Brown University. Her work has been supported with research grants from organizations such as the American Philosophical Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, University of Michigan Clements Library, and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). For her most recent book, Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (2022), she was awarded the 2023 Society of the Cincinnati Prize. For more information about her research about the “Hessians”, please visit