1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Revolutionary War Military Records


 Papers, 1775-1823. Bulk 1775-1783.

 Size: 6 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 673, subgroup 2

 Compiled by Rick Stattler, April 1997

 Additions by Robin Flynn, November 2000

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division

Historical note:

Revolutionary War military units in Rhode Island can be described in eight basic groups, although the distinctions are somewhat arbitrary:

1) Rhode Island Continental Line units. These regiments are the most renowned.

2) Rhode Island state troops in Continental service.

3) Rhode Island state troops.

4) Periodic service units

5) State militia regiments (organized by county)

6) Miscellaneous local (independent) companies (usually derived from towns)

7) Naval vessels

8) Units from other states

            The following pages attempt to provide brief histories of each Rhode Island regiment. Entries in italics indicate pertinent records held by the R.I.H.S. No effort has been made to track down every piece of correspondence; civilian records have also been ignored. Particular attention has been paid to orderly books, muster rolls and soldiers’ diaries.

            The large majority of muster rolls and other soldier lists held by the R.I.H.S.L. are arranged by regiment in several archival boxes and two scrapbooks (“Shepley” volumes 1 and 2) filed under “Revolutionary War Records” (MSS 673, subgroup 2). A card index to these files is available in the manuscripts reading room at the library.

            Sources for this guide include:

Cowell, Benjamin. Spirit of ‘76 in Rhode Island. Reprinted in Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973.

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution. Reprinted in Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973.

Smith, Joseph Jenckes. Civil and Military List of Rhode Island, 1647-1800. Providence: Preston & Rounds, 1900.

Revolutionary War Records (Manuscripts at the R.I. Historical Society)

Walker, Anthony. So Few the Brave. Newport: Seafield Press, 1981.

Rhode Island General Assembly Acts and Resolves, 1775-1778

Bob McDonald of New Jersey provided useful comments on an earlier draft of this guide.

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Scope and content:

            The Revolutionary War Military Papers generally consist of documents from Rhode Island Continental and state regiments, county militia regiments, and independent companies, ranging from 1775 to 1783. Papers from the Rhode Island black regiment formed by Col. Christopher Greene and Lt. Col. Samuel Ward Jr. during the summer of 1778 are part of the collection. There is a small group of papers from Massachusetts Continental regiments and state militia; and single items for both Connecticut and New Hampshire regiments.

            Rhode Island Continental and state regiments represented include those of regimental commanders Christopher Greene; Jeremiah Olney; Israel Angell; Daniel Hitchcock; Henry Sherburne; Christopher Lippitt; William Richmond; Archibald Crary; Joseph Stanton; William Barton; Benjamin Tallman and Robert Elliott. State militia regiments from all Rhode Island counties are also present, with Providence, Kent, and King’s counties the most widely represented. Papers from Rhode Island independent militia companies include those of the Kentish Guards, Pawtuxet Rangers, Smithfield and Cumberland Rangers, and North Providence Rangers.

            Lists of soldiers are the most common type of document in the collection, and consist of muster rolls, pay rolls and abstracts, enlistments, delinquent lists, returns of the sick, and ration bills. Soldiers of Native-American and African-American lineage can be found in these rolls. Occasionally, details such as physical appearance (including hair and eye color, complexion, and height); age; occupation; birth place; and residence are designated. The orderly books, court martial proceedings, and supply and pay requests in the collection are also a source for soldiers’ names.

            The orderly books and court martial accounts are also a good source for a general study of military, disciplinary, and supply policies and problems in the army. General orders are another potential source for such information.

            A card index for individual soldiers listed among the papers, created in the early 1980s, is in the Manuscripts Reading Room. The cards list the soldier’s name, the date of the document on which his name appears, the colonel and captain of his regiment, and the general location of the document within the collection.

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            The provenance of much of the collection is unknown. A list of documents in the collection whose provenance has been identified can be found in the collection file.

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Processing note:


            The records were originally a body of papers that were bound into six volumes during the 19th century. Two additional volumes, called the “Shepley volumes”, were purchased by the society from collector George Shepley in 1938. Other additions were made to the collection in the latter half of the 20th century, and additions continue to accrue via donation and purchase.

            The original six volumes were disbound probably some time in the 1970s. The two Shepley volumes remain intact. In the early 1980s, manuscripts curator Harold Kemble and volunteer Renee White created a card file index for the papers which is currently the only index for the collection. Revolutionary War papers from other RIHS collections, including but not necessarily limited to the Shepley Collection, RIHS Manuscripts, and RIHS Miscellaneous Manuscripts, were transferred into the existing collection during the indexing process. During re-processing in 2000, the Providence General Hospital records (formerly MSS 644) were added to the Revolutionary War Papers, and several smaller transfers were also made.

            19th-century indexes for the first five volumes still exist. The first four are item indexes and the fifth is a name index with references to document numbers. Documents from the original volumes are usually marked with at least two numbers: an item number (enclosed in the rubber stamp imprint) and a page number. Some also include a “Rhode Island Military Papers” (“R.I.M.P”. or “M.P.”) volume designation. It appears that documents originally in volume 5, however, were not assigned item numbers (see original index). Documents that are not labeled with a R.I.M.P. volume number can be checked against the original Revolutionary War indexes to confirm whether or not they were once part of that collection.

            When processed during the 1980s, the collection was arranged chronologically and was divided between “indexed” and “unindexed” papers. Papers from different regiments were interfiled in both categories. “Indexed” papers were primarily lists of soldiers such as muster rolls, pay rolls and abstracts, enlistments, sick returns, etc. In 2000, the papers were re-arranged based primarily on regiment identification instead of indexing status, so that all documents from a particular regiment, including miscellany such as orderly books, correspondence, and receipts, are stored together. In cases were there are duplicates of the same document, such as multiple copies of a muster roll, the duplicates are filed together in a single folder, and the folder is marked accordingly.

            The Providence General Hospital records (Series 10), previously a separate collection, were bound in 1903, and disbound at an unknown later date. Each document was marked in pencil with its former page number.

Identification of regiments:

            Most of the documents in the collection were identified as to regiments, officers, and dates by manuscripts curator Harold Kemble and volunteer Renee White in the early 1980s. When the papers were re-arranged in 2000, some adjustments were made to existing regiment and / or date designations. Additionally, identifications were made in 2000 for many miscellaneous items that had never been identified during prior processing as to military unit, state or town.

            The main sources used to identify Rhode Island military documents were Joseph Jencks Smith’s Civil and Military Lists of Rhode Island; Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army; Anthony Walker’s So Few the Brave; and the indexes to the 1774 and 1777 Rhode Island military censuses. The Rhode Island General Assembly’s Acts and Resolves from the Revolutionary period were also used to determine when regiments were formed or combined, officers were commissioned or resigned, and so on. For soldiers of Massachusetts Continental and state militia, the main source used was Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors. References to “Cowell” on any of the folders signifies the book Spirit of ‘76 in Rhode Island by Benjamin Cowell.

            The printed sources were consulted either independently or in tandem, depending on the nature of the item being analyzed. At times, information from these sources conflicted slightly or was incomplete. In such cases, the best possible estimate was made as to identification of regiment and military personnel. It is entirely possible that errors have been made in identifying regiments and officers, and any corrections or suggestions from researchers are welcomed and appreciated.

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Series list:

Series 1. RI Continental troops

            Subseries A: 1st Regiment (Black Regiment)

            Subseries B: 2nd Regiment

            Subseries C: Additional Regiment

            Subseries D: Miscellaneous

Series 2. RI State troops in Continental service

            Subseries A: 1st Regiment

            Subseries B: 2nd Regiment

Series 3. RI State troops

            Subseries A: 3-month regiment

            Subseries B: 1st Regiment Infantry

            Subseries C: 2nd Regiment Infantry

            Subseries D: RI State Battalion

            Subseries E: Light Infantry

            Subseries F: Artillery Regiment

            Subseries G: Miscellaneous

Series 4. RI state militia

            Subseries A: Bristol County

            Subseries B: Kent County

            Subseries C: King's County

            Subseries D: Newport County

            Subseries E: Providence County

Subseries F: Miscellaneous

Series 5: RI independent companies

            Subseries A: Kentish Guards

            Subseries B: North Providence Rangers

            Subseries C: Pawtuxet Rangers

            Subseries D: Smithfield, Cumberland, and Scituate

            Subseries E: Companies on Rhode Island, 1778

Series 6: Rhode Island miscellaneous

Series 7: Massachusetts troops

Series 8: Miscellaneous troops

Series 9: Continental navy / maritime

Series 10: Providence General Hospital

Related papers

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1) Rhode Island Continental Line units

            These began as an “Army of Observation” in 1775, under state control, but after the expiration of their term in December, they were reenlisted under the command and pay of the Continental Congress. These are the regiments that did most of the fighting. When you hear a particular “1st” or “2nd” regiment mentioned, this is probably what is being discussed. The 2nd Regiment was merged with the 1st in 1781.

Service of these regiments:

May 1775       Commissioned as Army of Observation by R.I. General Assembly, under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Nathanael Greene.

May 1775       Served in march to Prospect Hill in Boston

June 1775       Enlistments expired; reformed under continental service.

Dec. 1775       Church's Third Regiment disbanded.

April 1776     Marched to Long Island

August 1776  Greene promoted to Major General; went to serve mostly in southern campaigns. Replaced by Brig. Gen. James M. Varnum.

Sept. 1776      Brigaded with the other two R.I. regiments under Richmond and Lippitt

Winter 1776-7 At Morristown, N.J.

Sept. 1777      Fought at Brandywine

Oct. 1777       Fought at Germantown and Fort Mercer / Red Bank

Nov. 1777      Fought at Fort Mifflin

12/77-6/78   At Valley Forge

6/78               Fought at Monmouth

1778                Varnum's brigade under command of Maj. Gen. John Sullivan, in Rhode Island campaign.

Winter 1778-9 Camped for winter at Warren, R.I.

1779                Both regiments were in Rhode Island, in camp at Barber's Heights, North Kingstown. after the retirement of Varnum, brigade under command of Brig. Gen. John Stark, with Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates

Oct. 1779       Transferred to Morristown, N.J.

Sept. 1780      Transfered to West Point, N.Y.

January 1781 Two regiments merged.

August 1781  Rhode Island continental regiment participated in crucial victory at Yorktown, Va. Capt. Stephen Olney's company distinguished itself. After surrender of British Gen Cornwallis, fighting was virtually over.

Brigade Records:

MSS 9001-V  J.M. Varnum Papers. Includes orderly book, R.I., 5/20/1778 - 2/12/1779

MSS 743        John Sullivan Papers (.25 lin. ft.):

                        Orderly books, 5/2/1778 - 12/16/1778; 6/1/1778 - 8/25/1778

                                    8/11/1778 - 8/16/1778; 10/31/1778 - 4/30/1779; 2/1/1779 - 7/12/1779

MSS 464        Nathanael Greene Papers: Orderly book, Boston, 7/31 - 9/30/1775, and correspondence. See published papers.

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First Rhode Island Regiment, Continental

Generally referred to as King's & Kent Counties Regiment in 1775

Called 9th Continental Regiment in 1776

Called 1st Rhode Island Regiment 1777-1780

Called Rhode Island Battalion 1781-1783

Also known as the Black Regiment

Officially constituted by Congress 6/1775 under Col. James M. Varnum

Replaced by Col. Christopher Greene, 2/1777. (Both Walker and the RIGA Acts and Resolves of February, 1777 indicate that Greene was on parole in 1777 and could not take command right away. Walker says that Greene did not actually take command until July; Archibald Crary had command from January to April, 1777; Adam Comstock from April to July, 1777.)

Replaced by Lt. Col. Commandant Jeremiah Olney upon Greene's death, 5/14/1781


MSS 673         Series 1, Sub-Series A

                        Boxes 1, 2, *6, *7, *10, and Shepley

                        A large number of company muster rolls, etc. dating 1775-1783

Book of returns, 7/24/1777-7/29/1780 (transferred from MSS 455)

                        “Size Roll and Returns”, 1780 (1 vol.)

                        Roster and enlistment book, 2/1781-1782 (cover reads “Angell's Regiment”)

                        Pay book, 1781-1783

                        Returns book, 2/1780-4/1782

Three orderly books for Stark's brigade, apparently kept by Col. Angell: (7/1779 to 6/1780), and one dated 5/1779-10/1779 kept by unknown party (Sherburne's reg't?)


MSS 18          Jeremiah Olney Papers. (Box 3, folders 1 - 7; use microfilm):

                        Includes troop returns, 1781-1783.

MSS 9001-S   Sandford Smith Papers. Includes memoirs of Capt. Stephen Olney, 1781

MSS 455        Christopher Greene Papers (Box 1 of 1):

                                    Two orderly books, 10/5/1776 - 6/11/1777

                                    Other papers, 1777-1781 (7 items)

MSS 9001-P   Phillip Peirce diary, 8/22 - 11/29/1775, at Boston (mentions Col. Varnum)

MSS 9001-R  Rhode Island Society of Natural History. Includes size roll of 3rd co., 9/1782

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Second Rhode Island Regiment, Continental

Generally referred to as Providence County Regiment in 1775

Called 11th Continental Regiment in 1776

Called 2nd Rhode Island Regiment 1777-1780

Merged into the 1st Rhode Island Battalion 1781-1783

Officially constituted by Congress 6/1775 under Col. Daniel Hitchcock

Replaced by Col. Israel Angell upon Hitchcock's death at Morristown, 1/1777




MSS 673         Series 1, Sub-Series B

                        Boxes 1, 2, *6, *7, *10, and Shepley

                        Scattered company muster rolls, etc. dating 1775-1783

MSS 980       Israel Angell Papers (0.25 feet). Includes diaries 1778-1781, etc.

MSS 18          Jeremiah Olney Papers. (Box 3, folders 1 - 7; use microfilm):

                        Includes pay lists as captain, 1775-1778

MSS 27          Simeon Thayer Papers (Box 1 of 1):

                        Major, 1776-8. Includes files re injury at Monmouth.

MSS 9001-S   Sandford Smith Papers. Includes memoirs of Capt. Stephen Olney, 1775-1781

MSS 9001-A  William Allen orderly book, 4-9/1777, 3/20/1778, at Morristown, Peekskill

MSS 9001-H  Daniel Hitchcock orderly books (2): 5/31 - 9/28/1775; 6/6/1775 - 3/30/1776

MSS 622        John Pitman Papers. (Box 1, folder 2):

Includes orderly book kept in this regiment, 4/25 - 7/31/1777, written in back of Pitman's account book dated 1779-1828.

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(Third Rhode Island Regiment)

Newport & Bristol Counties Regiment: Col. Thomas Church

In the Army of Observation only; disbanded after 12/1775.

Records: none

(Additional Continental Regiment)

The Continental Regiment led by Col. Henry Sherburne was composed of a mixture of Rhode Islanders and Connecticut residents. It was active from 1777 to 1781, and was one of 16 “Additional Continental Regiments” that existed during this time. It was brigaded with the two Rhode Island regiments from June to September of 1777, and from July 1778 to November 1779.


MSS 673         Series 1, Sub-Series C

                        Boxes 1, 2, *6, *7, *10, and Shepley

                        Muster roll of Carr's Company, 3/11/1777

Muster roll of Capt. Benjamin Burton's Co., 8/21/1778. Typescript.(Transferred from MSS 9001-B)

                        Of Savage's Company, 2/1779

                        Field and staff list, 5/1779 

                        Orderly book, Capt. James Webb’s company, 05/1779-11/1779

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2) Rhode Island State Troops in Continental Service (10/1775-01/1777)

            Two regiments formed by the state in October 1775, placed under the pay of Continental Congress in May of 1776, marched to New York in September of 1776, and disbanded in January of 1777. These regiments, under Colonels Richmond and Lippitt, played an important role at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton despite their brief life-span. They were in a brigade with the other two R.I. Continental regiments, as well as two Massachusetts regiments, under the command of Col. Hitchcock of the “other” First R.I. Continental Regiment.

1st Regiment “Continental Troops”

Col. William Richmond


MSS 673        Series 2, Sub-series A

                        Boxes 2, *8

                        Return of effectives, Capt. Chr. Manchester’s company, 02/1776

                        List of men who received wages, Capt. Caleb Carr’s company, 10/1776

                        Pay abstract, Capt. Thomas Allin’s company, 10/1776

2nd Regiment “Continental Troops”

Col. Henry Babcock

Replaced within the month by Col. Christopher Lippitt


MSS 673        Series 2, Sub-series B

                        Boxes 2, *8

                        Many muster rolls of various companies, 6/1776-1777

MSS 49          John Howland Papers. (.25 lin. ft.) Includes memoirs of private in regiment.

MSS 583        Lippitt Family Papers. (Box 1, folders 2, 3, 5):

Includes orderly book of Col. Lippitt, 3-11/1776; correspondence, 1776; list of soldiers and officers in 2nd RI, 1776 (in daybook dated 1783-1784).

MSS 9001-S   Sandford Smith Papers. Includes transcript of memoirs of Col. Lippitt, 1822.

MSS 11          Benjamin Bourne Papers. (Box 2, folder 12) Was regimental quartermaster, 1776-1778.

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3) Rhode Island State Troops (12/1776-3/16/1780)

            Formed in reaction to the British invasion of Newport in 12/1776, and remained in service through 3/16/1780. They were referred to as the Rhode Island Battalion with attached Artillery Regiment. Although their service was exclusively in state, they were on active duty in military campaigns. There were two regiments of infantry (Colonels Crary and Topham being the longest-lasting leaders), and one of artillery (under Colonel Elliott). They were originally in a brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Varnum, and later came under the command of Brig. Gen. Ezekiel Cornell (12/77).

            The two regiments of infantry were combined into a single regiment under Col. John Topham, and a corps of light infantry under Col. William Barton was also raised, in 6/1779 following the resignation of Col. Archibald Crary.

            John Handy was designated Brigade-Major in 6/1777.

            Changes of personnel in the regiments of infantry can be tracked by consulting the published Acts and Resolves of the Rhode Island General Assembly, starting with December, 1776.


Brigade Records:

MSS 673        Series 3, Sub-series G

                        Box 2

                        Court-martial proceedings, 12/18/1779 (Gen. Cornell)

                        List of soldiers, compiled 1785, from Elliot, Topham & Crary's regiments

Processing note, Crary’s regiments:

            The dates on folders for Crary’s regiment for the month of December, 1777 were determined as accurately as possible based on information in existing published sources. According to the Rhode Island General Assembly Acts and Resolves, Crary took over the 1st regiment of infantry from Joseph Stanton December 24, 1777, but Stanton had actually resigned on November 10, 1777. He apparently stayed in command until December.

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First Regiment of Infantry

Col. John Cook, 12/1776; resigned same month

Replaced by Col. Benjamin Tallman, 12/76

            with Lt.-Col. Christopher Smith

Tallman resigned 3/77 (possibly replaced temporarily by Smith)

Replaced by Col. Joseph Stanton Jr., circa 6/77

            with Lt.-Col. William Barton

Stanton resigned 11/10/77

Briefly replaced by Col. William Barton, 12/77

            with Lt.-Col. Nathaniel Hawkins

Regiment reorganized as 1st Battalion of Infantry, 12/77 under Col. Crary

            with Lt.-Col. John Topham (replaced by Js. Williams, 2/78)

Crary resigned 5/1779

The two regiments of infantry were combined into the Rhode Island Battalion under John Topham 6/1779.


MSS 673         Series 3, Sub-series B

                        Boxes 2, *8, *9, and Shepley

                        Muster rolls of various companies, 1777-1779.

                        Pay book (formerly cataloged under “N. Miller Soldiers Accounts”), 1777-1778

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Second Regiment of Infantry

Col. Joseph Stanton Jr., 12/1776

            with Lt.-Col Archibald Crary, 12/76

Replaced by Col. Archibald Crary, 6/77

            with Lt.-Col. John Topham

Crary to 1st Battalion, 12/77

Regiment reorganized as 2nd Battalion of Infantry, 12/77 under Col. William Barton

            with Lt.-Col. Nathaniel Hawkins

Barton appointed to Continental service 2/78

Replaced by Col. John Topham 2/78

The two regiments of infantry were combined into the Rhode Island Battalion under Topham 6/1779.


MSS 673         Series 3, Sub-series C

                        Boxes 2, *8, *9, and Shepley

                        Muster rolls of various companies, 1777-1779.

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Rhode Island Battalion

Col. John Topham


MSS 673        Series 3, Sub-series D

                        Box *9 and Shepley

                        Muster rolls, mostly various companies at Newport 11/1779-03/1780.

                        RI officers’ petition to make up depreciation, 08/1781.

Regiment of Artillery

Col. Robert Elliot 1776-1780.


MSS 673        Series 3, Sub-series F

                        Boxes 2, *8, *9, and Shepley

                        Muster rolls of various companies (mostly Capt. Thomas Carlile’s), 1777-1780.

                        Zabdiel Carew Papers (of Carlisle's company)(transferred from MSS 9001-C):

                                    Book of daily returns, 3/16 - 7/16/1778, with memoranda 1778-1781

                                    Two orderly books, 4/10/1778 - 2/7/1779, and 2/5 - 8/16/1779

Robert Elliot orderly book, 5/13 - 7/24/1779, in Rhode Island (transferred from MSS 9001-E)

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4) Miscellaneous regiments on active duty

            The state would occasionally call up regiments for brief periods of service to meet specific emergencies. These regiments seem to have been generally drawn from the state militia.


3-month regiment

Col. John Cook

            According to Cowell, this regiment was ordered in September, 1776 by the Council of War during a recess of the General Assembly. See Cowell, p. 52. Nothing on the formation of this regiment could be found in the RIGA Acts and Resolves, which seems to support Cowell’s information.


MSS 673        Series 3, Sub-series A

                        Boxes 2, *8

                        Enlistments (Exeter) and pay lists, 1776 (approximately 6 items)

                        Muster roll and return of pay at Tiverton, 03/1777

“Corps of Light Infantry, 200 men”

Formed May 1779, Col. William Barton

By March 1780, under Capt. Henry Dayton

Possibly merged with Col. Topham's state regiment


MSS 673        Series 3, Sub-series E

                        Boxes 2, *8

                        Muster roll, weekly return and petition of soldiers, 3/1780

“Militia of 1200 Men to Serve within the State one Month and no longer”

Commissioned 2/1780 under Brig. Gen. Nathan Miller

Lt. Col. George Peck of Providence and Kent Battalion

Lt. Col. Nathaniel Church of Newport, Kings and Bristol Battalion


MSS 673        Series 4, Sub-series E

                        Box 3

                        Various pay abstracts Peck's Reg., 8/9/1780, 3/1781, 3/16/1781

“Three-Months Regiment Ordered, 630 Men”

Formed 7/1780, under Col. John Topham

Records: None found


“Battalion of 500 Men for Service Within State, One Month”

Commissioned 5/1781 under Col. Archibald Crary

Records: None found

Nine-month regiment formed from RI

Formed in 1782, according to Cowell. Not found in Smith.

Stationed at Ticonderoga in NY.


MSS 673        Series 1, Sub-series A


                        List of recruits, 1782 (in volume of rosters of Olney's 1st Cnt'l Reg't, 1782)

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5) State militia regiments

            These seem to have been largely inactive in battle, and are rarely mentioned in histories of the war. They were probably more involved in local guard duties and the movements of supplies, people, and livestock from strategic locales. They were under the control of the state, but were organized by county. In 2/1780, a one-month 1200-man state militia was recruited, largely from these officers. After 5/1780, most local Colonels demoted to Lt. Col., under command of a county Brigadier General.

            Changes in personnel for the various regiments of county militia can be traced through the published Acts and Resolves of the Rhode Island General Assembly.

Under Maj. Gen. William Bradford, 6/1775

Replaced by Maj. Gen. Joshua Babcock, 10/1775

Replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Nightingale, 12/1776

Replaced by Maj. Gen. James M. Varnum, 5/1779


MSS 11          Benjamin Bourne Papers. (Box 2, folder 12):

                        Includes records as militia quartermaster, 1780-83.

Providence County Regiments directly under Brig. Gen. Christopher Lippitt, 5/80

1st Providence County Regiment under Col. James Angell

            Replaced by Col. Jabez Bowen 5/76

            Replaced by Col. John Mathewson by 5/78

            Replaced by Col. Amos Atwell by 9/79

            Under Lt. Col. Eleazar Jenckes, 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Christopher Almy, 5/81

            Under Lt. Col. Christopher Olney, 5/82

2nd Providence Co. Regiment under Col. Chad Brown

            Commanded by Lt. Col. Edward Thompson 5/80

            Commanded by Lt. Col. Peleg Arnold 6/80

            Under Lt. Col. George Peck, 5/81

3rd Providence County Regiment under Col. Christopher Lippitt

            Replaced by Col. William West 5/76

            Replaced by Col. Stephen Kimball by 5/79

4th Providence County Regiment under Col. Chad Brown, formed 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Asa Kimball, 5/81

            Under Lt. Col. Stephen Winsor, 5/82

Senior Class Regiment of Providence County under Lt. Col. Amos Atwell, formed 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Simeon Thayer, 5/83


MSS 673        Series 4, Sub-Series E

                        Boxes 3, *9, *10, and Shepley

                        Muster rolls, pay rolls, and other lists, 1776-1781

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Kings County regiments under Brig. General Joseph Stanton Jr., 5/80

            (Washington County after 1782)

1st Kings County Regiment under Col. Joseph Noyes

            Replaced by Col. Joseph Stanton Jr. by 5/79

            Under Lt. Col. Jesse Maxson, 5/80

2nd Kings County Regiment under Col. Robert Brown

            Replaced by Col. Charles Dyre, 5/76 to end of war.

3rd Kings County Regiment under Col. Thomas Potter, formed 5/79

Senior Class Regiment of Kings County under Lt. Col. Gideon Hoxsie, formed 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Sylvester Gardner, 5/81

            Under Lt. Col. George Thurston, 5/82



MSS 673        Series 4, Sub-Series C

                        Boxes 3, *9, *10, and Shepley

                        Various lists and miscellaneous items, 1775-1782 (most to 1778)

Statements re: capture of ship Syren off Point Judith in November, 1777 and account related to same; lists of men involved in the capture, including Samuel Potter’s company and Robinson’s regiment of Massachusetts militia, ca. 1778.


MSS 629        William Davis Miller Papers (Sub-group 12; Box 2, folders 6, 7):

Transcripts of above statements re: Syren; also transcription of list of men under Capt. Larkin of Col. Robinson's Regiment involved in capture of Syren, same date, and short essay on the battle (typescript). List of South Kingstown enlistees, 9/1776, formerly in 1776 folder (NF 2000).

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Newport and Bristol Regiments under Brig. General Nathan Miller, 5/80

1st Newport County Regiment under Col. John Malbone

            Replaced by Col. George Irish 5/76

            Regiment not mentioned after that.

2nd Newport County Regiment under Col. Joseph Belcher

            Replaced by Col. John Cooke 5/76

            Under Lt. Col. Nathaniel Church, 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Lemuel Bailey, 5/81

Bristol County Regiment under Col. Nathaniel Martin

            Became 3rd Regiment Newport & Bristol Militia in 5/1777 under Col. Nathan Miller

            Called the Bristol County Regiment again in 1778.

            Under Lt. Col. Peter Church, 5/80

            Under Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 5/83

Senior Class Regiment, Bristol County, under Maj. Jonathan Peck, formed 5/80

            Under Maj. Robert Carr, 5/81



MSS 673        Series 4, Sub-Series A and D

                        Boxes 3, *9, *10, and Shepley

                        Bristol County: Various lists and miscellany (6 folders), ca. 1776-1780

                        Newport County: Pay roll, Isaac Cook's company, John Cook's regiment, 07/1778

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Kent County Regiments under Brig. Gen. Thomas Holden, 5/80

1st Kent County Regiment under Col. John Waterman

            Replaced by Col. Thomas Holden by 5/78

            Under Lt. Col. Thomas Tilllinghast, 5/80

            No officers listed, 5/82

            Under Lt. Col. Job Pierce, 5/83

2nd Kent County Regiment under Col. Stephen Potter

            Replaced by Col. Nathaniel Brown, 12/76

            Replaced by Col. Archibald Kasson by 5/78 to close of war.

Kent County Senior Class Regiment under Maj. Samuel Wall, formed 5/80

            Under Maj. Isaac Johnson, 5/81



MSS 673        Series 4, Sub-Series B

                        Boxes 3, *9, *10, and Shepley

                        Muster rolls, pay abstracts, and other items, ca. 1775-1783

                        Volume of muster rolls from Waterman's regiment, 12/1776 - 6/1777

                        Pay lists of Col. Holden's officers, 7-8/1778 (transferred from MSS 9005)

MSS 787        Benoni and John Waterman Family Papers

Provision returns, correspondence, lists of militia men, receipts and accounts for Warwick militia, 1776 - 1777.

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6) Miscellaneous local companies

            There were many small town-based militia companies that played a more or less active role in the conflict. They were not apparently under direct state control. Their leaders were usually captains, but were sometimes styled colonels.

            The following is Cowell's list for February 1778:

Kingston Reds

Kentish Guards

Pawtuxet Rangers

Captain General Cavaliers

Providence Cadets

Smithfield & Cumberland Rangers

Providence Light Infantry

Providence Artillery

North Providence Rangers

Glocester Light Infantry

Scituate Hunters

The following are also noted in other lists:

Providence United Train of Artillery

“Col. Slack's Company of Light Horse”


MSS 673        Series 5

                        Boxes 3, *9, and Shepley

Kentish Guards: morning and equipment returns, pay abstracts, receipts, and other records, 1775-1782

North Providence Rangers: various lists (3 folders), 1776; and orders from Gov. Nicholas Cooke to company's captain, 1777

                        Pawtuxet Rangers: 4 folders - pay abstract, enlistments, etc., 1776-1781

Smithfield & Cumberland Rangers: 5 folders - company list, returns, order, 1776-1779

                        Scituate Hunters: abstract of the 2nd division at Warwick, 3/1777

MSS 9001-A  Oliver Arnold Papers. Service in Kentish Guards, Pawtuxet Rangers, 1777.

MSS 673 sg 7  Captain General Cavaliers minute book, 1776-1829. Gives members.

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7) Naval vessels

            These are some of the important Revolutionary naval collections at the RIHSL:

MSS 673        Series 9

                        Boxes 3, *9, and Shepley

                        Sloop Providence: muster rolls of, 1775-1777

                        Miscellaneous items (1775-1780) related to:

                                    Brig Union

                                    Schooner Pope

                                    Ships Fly, Columbus, Alfred, Blaze Castle, Syren

                                    Sloops Greyhound, General Sterling, Independence


MSS 747        Silas Talbot Papers (commissions, resolves, correspondence)(.25 lin. ft.)

MSS 491        Esek Hopkins Papers (.5 lin. ft.)

MSS 788        Zuriel Waterman Papers (journals, privateering) (.25 lin. ft.)

MSS 802        Abraham Whipple Papers (.25 lin. ft.)

MSS 9001-W Jabez Whipple (commission, sloop Independence)

MSS 354        Clark & Nightingale. Account book of privateer Blaze Castle, 1778 (un-numbered volume)

MSS 828        Log book of brig Diligence, 1779 (Logbook Collection)

MSS 9001-P   Samuel Phillips. Memorandum of experience as naval Major, 1779-1783.

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8) Providence General Hospital (formerly MSS 644)

            In addition to the papers of military units, there is also a sizeable collection of documents from this military hospital, which was apparently established in Tiverton in 1777. The records consist mainly of returns of the sick, ration bills, and receipts and accounts for medical supplies. Besides providing genealogical information, the papers furnish a glimpse into the medicines and treatments in use during the Revolutionary period, and into the system of provision and exchange of medical supplies during the war itself.

            The returns of the sick, especially, are a good genealogical resource. They usually include, besides the soldiers’ names, their company or regiment, medical condition, and duty status, such as “convalescent”, “discharged”, or “absent without leave.” Often these returns list soldiers from prison ships. Among general returns for the hospital are ones listing particular regiments, mostly those of Colonel Daggett (Massachusetts) stationed at Warwick, and Colonel John Topham and General Ezekiel Cornell of Rhode Island, stationed at Tiverton. There are also several for Colonel Topham’s regiment which specifically list smallpox victims (or possibly those who had been innoculated).

            Ration bills list ailing soldiers along with an indication of what type of diet they were on, for instance, “half diet” or “fever.” They do not usually list a soldier’s military assignment, though some list black soldiers separately. Several of the ration bills in the collection are torn or faded, making it difficult (in some cases impossible) to decipher soldiers’ names.


MSS 673        Series 10

                        Boxes 3, 4, 5, *9 

                        Returns of the sick, ration bills, supply requests, and accounts, 1777-1782

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9) Non-Rhode Island units

            There is a difference between regiments recruited from R.I. men, and regiments stationed in R.I. For parts of the war, other states’ Continental Army units were stationed in Rhode Island; they were mostly Massachusetts regiments. General Spencer had charge of these units in 1777, and was replaced by Maj. General John Sullivan on 2/21/1778.

            Some of the persons listed below may not have even been stationed in Rhode Island, in which case their connection to our state is tenuous.


MSS 673        Series 8 and 9

                        Boxes 3, *9

There are approximately 25 folders of items from Massachusetts regiments, dated 1775-1780. Some were stationed in Rhode Island; for instance, Col. John Robinson’s regiment, stationed in King’s County in 1777. Items include orderly books, enlistments, muster rolls, pay rolls, and receipts. Several companies and regiments are represented.

Orderly book kept by Capt. Silvanus Reed of a New Hampshire regiment, in brigade with R.I. regiments during the Rhode Island campaign, 5/1778 - 8/1778

                        List of Capt. Elisha May’s company, Col. John Durkee (Conn.), 10/1776


MSS 786        Many other Connecticut items (e.g., regiments commanded by Col. John Ely) in the papers of commissary Asa Waterman

MSS 9001-M John Medbury. Lt. in American army in New York. Diary, July 1776.

MSS 9001-M Sylvanus Martin diary, 6/7 - 6/21/1775, in 4th Conn. Regt. under Col. Pitkin, marching on Boston.

MSS 546        Daniel Lyman Papers. (.5 lin. ft.):

Major, aide to Maj. Gen. Heath. Includes 1780 diary, and letters 1778-1783. Native Rhode Islander.

MSS 564        McGregor Family Papers. (.25 lin. ft.) (Folders 1 - 3):

Biographical notes, muster roll and other military records of a Connecticut colonel.

MSS 9001-R  Noah Robinson. Diary of Mass. soldier, Daggett's regt., in R.I. campaign, 1/4/1778 and 5/1781

MSS9001-C   Jean Francois Clermont-Crevecouer. Diary of French soldier, 1780-1783.

MSS 78          Enos Hitchcock diaries, 1776-1780, 1783. (1 box):

Chaplain of 3rd Continental Regt., 10th Mass. Regt. and Paterson's Mass. Brigade.

Secret mission to Quebec, 1775-1776, under Gen. Benedict Arnold

MSS 24          Simeon Thayer Papers. Diary. (1 box)

MSS 9001-H  William Humphrey Diary, 9/9/1775 - 8/11/1776

MSS 165        Isaac Senter journal (experiences as surgeon on Quebec expedition) (Box 2,

                                    folder 6)

MSS 9001-T   John Topham journal

Important Revolutionary papers not exclusively of a military nature:

MSS 20          Christopher Champlin Papers (provisions merchant)

MSS 301        Bowen Family Papers (Ephraim Bowen, quartermaster; includes 36 letters dated between 1778 and 1780, 26 of which are Col Bowen’s retained copies to Gen Nathanael Greene.)

MSS 365        Nicholas Cooke Papers (governor)

MSS 407        William Ellery Papers (delegate to Continental Congress)

MSS 468        William Greene (1731-1809) Papers (governor)

MSS 492        Stephen Hopkins (delegate to Continental Congress)

MSS 552        Henry Marchant Papers (delegate)

MSS 776        Ward Papers (Continental Congress delegate Samuel Ward)

MSS 786        Asa Waterman Papers (provisioning agent)

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