J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

“Rhode Island’s Revolutionary Artillery” in Newport, 8 Dec.

On Thursday, 8 December, I’ll speak at the Newport Historical Society on the topic “The Launch of Rhode Island’s Revolutionary Artillery.” I wrote about that development in The Road to Concord, but for this talk I’m assembling more information and analysis.

Here’s the event description:
In December 1774, the Rhode Island Assembly voted to move almost all of the cannons in Newport’s Fort George to Providence in order to, as the governor stated, “prevent their falling into the hands of the King.” The Assembly also formed a new “Train of Artillery,” a military company assigned to use those cannon to defend the colony. Oddly, however, the train’s commanders were from Boston. Within a few months, Rhode Island’s artillerists became one of the most respected units of the new Continental Army.
What links the Boston Tea Party, Providence’s First Baptist Meetinghouse (shown here),  and Rhode Island’s new Train of Artillery? That’s one of the new topics I’ll discuss. I may even venture an explanation about why Rhode Island suddenly promoted Nathanael Greene from a mere private in the Kentish Guards militia company to general in command of its “Army of Observation” around Boston.

This talk will start at 5:30 P.M. in the society’s Resource Center at 82 Touro Street. Admission is $1 for members and active and retired military personnel, $5 for others. To reserve seats, visit this webpage or call 401-841-8770. I’ll happily sign copies of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War afterward.


Donald Carleton, Jr. said...

I recall reading that the building of the First Baptist steeple involved carpenters and riggers from Boston put out of work by the 1774 Port Act...I wish I could attend your talk to see how you connect these dots, John, but I can't help but wonder if that's part of the story!

J. L. Bell said...

That is indeed. One question is whether some of those man had purely economic reasons to depart Boston in 1774.