The Battle of Newport (Rhode Island)

The Battle of Rhode Island

Battle of Newport from Andrew Rutlidge on Vimeo.

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Series by David R. Wagner
Battle of Newport from Andrew Rutlidge on Vimeo.


3. The Generals
4.American and French Forces
5. English Forces and movement
6. the Battle
7. the weapons
8. Casualties and losses
9. Fun Fact
10. Legacy
11.Order of battle
12. External Link
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  1. Late 1776 British Army occupies Newport

  2. August 8, 1778 - French fleet forces past Newport harbor

  3. August 9, 1778 - American Army moves onto Aquidneck Island

  4. August 10, 1778 - British fleet lures French fleet and troops away from Newport

  5. August 28, 1778 - American army begins retreat north

  6. August 29, 1778 - British troops pursue retreating American army northward

  7. August 29, 1778 - Hessian troops march north on west road in pursuit of American army

  8. August 29, 1778 - British regulars advance to Quaker Hill

  9. August 29, 1778 - Hessian mercenaries attack, but are repulsed by the 1st Rhode Island Regiment

  10. August 30, American army withdraws onto mainland


The Background

Following the surrender of the British Army after the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777, France decided to formally recognize the United States of America. And the war between The Great Britain and France is Declared right after. The first move french made was they sent Admiral comte d'Estaing and 12 ships of the line and some French troops in order to help the Americans. Although British leaders had early intelligence that d'Estaing was likely headed for North America, political and military differences within the government and navy delayed the British response, and permitted him to sail unopposed through the Straits of Gibraltar. It was not until early June that a fleet of 13 ships of the line under the command of Admiral John Byron left European waters in pursuit . D'Estaing's crossing of the Atlantic took three months, but Byron (who was called "Foul-weather Jack" due to his repeated bad luck with the weather) was also delayed by bad weather and would not reach New York until mid August.
After the arrived, they decide to attack New York City, but it's will defend so the French fleet turn to Newport, Rhode Island. Reached their destination on July 15, raising the size of Major General Robert Pigot's garrison to over 6,700 men.
The battle was also notable for the participation of the [[/wiki/1st_Rhode_Island_Regiment|1st Rhode Island Regiment]], a locally recruited segregated regiment of African Americans.

American and French Forces

The American forces were under command ofJohn Sullivan, Nathanael Greene and Christopher Greene. General Washington wrote to Sullivan on July 17, ordering him to raise 5,000 troops for possible operations against Newport. The arrived French army and American reinforcement and Local milita increase that number to 11000. French also bring 12 ships of the line to America which is a huge help because at that point the colony army do not have any navy that can opposed the mighty British Navy. And this French fleet blockade is the main element that forced British General
Cornwallis to surrender.

The Generals

Sir Robert Pigot Portrait by Francis Cotes, c. 1765.
Robert Pigot was born in London, England in 1720. In 1758 he was Major in the 10th Regiment of Foot. In 1764 he was Lieutenant Colonel. From 1769 to 1775 he was the commander of the 38th Regiment of Foot.
He also served as a Member of Parliament for Wallingford from 1768 to 1772.
On June 17, 1775 he commanded the left flank of the British assault in the Battle of Bunker Hill. On July 9 he was Colonel in the 55th Regiment of Foot. He was promoted to the permanent grade of Colonel for his bravery in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was made a Major General in 1777. Pigot was placed in command in Rhode Island and made a Lieutenant General in 1782. In the Battle of Rhode Island he fought with 3,000 men against 5,000 men under General John Sullivan. He inherited his older brother's (Lord George Pigot) baronetcy (which had been created with special remainder) and the Patshull Hall estate in 1777. He was also left, with his brother Hugh and his sister Margaret (Fisher) the Pigot Diamond which was sold by Act of Parliament in a lottery. On February 8 he resigned and died August 1 of 1796 in Stafford, England.
His two brothers were also famous: Sir (later Lord) George Pigot, Baron Pigot (May 4, 1719 – May 11, 1777) was Governor of Madras, India and Admiral Hugh Pigot (28 May 1722 – 15 December 1792) was Commander-in-Chief of the West Indies fleet.
John Sullivan, 3rd & 5th Governor of New Hampshire
John Sullivan (February 17, 1740 – January 23, 1795) was the third son of Irish immigrants, a United States general in the Revolutionary War, a delegate in the Continental Congress and a United States federal judge.
Sullivan served as a major general in the Continental Army and as Governor (or "President") of New Hampshire. He commanded the Sullivan Expedition in 1779, a scorched earth campaign against the Iroquois towns that had taken up arms against the American revolutionaries.
He had fought in many battles, including Battle of Longisland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He was captured as a perioner during the battle of long island, but he was released in a perioner exchange right before the Battle of Trenton.
John Sullivan is most famous for being the Governor of the New Hampshire and led the famous Sullivan Expedition, a massive campaign against the Iroquois in western New York. During this campaign, troops destroyed a very large Cayuga settlement, called Coreorgonel, on what is now the southwest side of Ithaca, New York. To reach the enemy homeland, Sullivan's army took a southerly route to western New York through northeast Pennsylvania, which required creating a new road through lightly inhabited areas of the Pocono Mountains, which still exists and is known as Sullivan's Trail.
He pushed his troops so hard that their horses became unusable, and killed them on this campaign, creating the namesake for Horseheads, New York. The lukewarm response of the Congress was more than he could accept. Broken, tired and again opposed by Congress, he retired from the army in 1779 and returned to New Hampshire

English forces and movement

Sir Robert Pigot, Francis Smith, and Richard Prescott are the British commander in this battle, together they lead an army of 6700 men in the battle of Newport. Lord Howe's fleet was delayed departing New York by contrary winds, and he arrived off Point Judith on August 9. An dLord Howe's fleet which have 13 ships of the line suffered some damage in the storm. And Lord Howe's fleet scare the French fleet off to Boston. The French fleet retreat to Boston because French Admiral d'Estaing was afraid that British might bring further reinfrocements from Europe to destoryed his fleet.
Despite pleas by Greene and Lafayette that he land troops, d'Estaing refused, citing orders to preserve his fleet. He instead sailed to Boston on the 22nd to repair his ships,

the Battle

Smith's assault on the American left and Lossberg's assault on the American right.
The Americans organized their forces in two sections:
  1. On the west, General Greene concentrated his forces in front of Turkey Hill, but sent the 1st Rhode Island to establish advance positions a half mile (1 km) south under the command of Brigadier General James Varnum.
  2. On the east, Brigadier General John Glover, who concentrated his forces behind a stone wall overlooking Quaker Hill.
The British followed suit and organized their attack in a corresponding way. Major General Francis Smith assault on the American left and Hessian General Friedrich Wilhelm von Lossberg assault on the American right.
The battle end in draw, although both side claimed to have won the battle,(the British because they had captured ground from the Americans and the Americans because they had subsequently won some of it back) but American withdraw first so this battle is a British strategic victory.

the weapons

Muskets is the main weapon used in revolutionary war, is the weapon of choice of the Line Troop which is the British Reuglar and American continental army.
pennsylvania long rifle is teh weapons of choice of scouts and sniper. Also milita use the pennsylvania long rifle in their guerrilla warfare because of it's range and accuracy compare to the Muskets used by regular troops.
Cannon is a vary important part of the warfare at that time, is used ot destroy enemy fort, siege warfare, thinner enemy line and disrupt enemy formation. When in siege warfare the Cannons usually use iron ball, in a battle they usually use grape shot to reduce ememy troops.
Ship of the Line or Men of war, is the AirCraft Carrier at the time, it's improved from The Crrack in the late middle age, the ships of the line usually carry around 82 to more than 100 sometimes even 130 cannons, it's the utlimate power of it's time. The Spanish Santisima Trinidad is the biggest Ship of the line at it's time, it's even bigger than the only ship of the line still exist The HMS Victory.

Casualties and losses

The Americans and French suffer total loss of 211 men. Total 30 killed 137 wounded 44 missing. The English suffered total 38 killed 210 wounded 12 missing, totla 260 men.

Fun Fact

Submarines- America first experimented with the concept of an underwater vessel during the Revolutionary War, and it's Frist time that a submarines ever used in warfare. It's a submarine named the Turtle, the Turtle attacked a British ship named the Eagle at midnight, september 7, 1776. Sergeant Lee made two attempts to attach the mine to the bottom of the ship, but failed because he could not penetrate the copper sheathed hull. Failing to attach the mine, he had no choice but to abandon his mission and return. It's a failed experience, but it is a good try and beginning of the underwater warfare.


The Battle of Rhode Island Site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It partially preserves the ground on which the battle was fought. The underwater site of HMS Cerberus and HMS Lark, two Royal Navy ships scuttled during the French fleet's advance on Newport, is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is Fort Barton, one of the American defenses in Tiverton, and the Conanicut Battery, an earthworks on Conanicut Island built in 1775 and expanded by the British during their occupation of Newport. The site was abandoned by the British after the arrival of the French fleet. The Joseph Reynolds House in Bristol, a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest buildings in Rhode Island, was used by General Lafayette as his headquarters during the campaign.

Order of battle

British forces

  • 22nd Regiment of Foot
  • 38th Regiment of Foot
  • 43rd Regiment of Foot
  • 54th Regiment of Foot
  • Hessian Regiment Landgrave
  • Hessian Regiment Huyne
  • Hessian Regiment Ditforth
  • Hessian Regiment Bunau
  • 1st Anspach Regiment
  • 2nd Anspach Regiment
  • King's American Regiment (Loyalist regiment, Edmund Fanning)
  • Prince of Wales' American Regiment (Loyalist regiment, Montfort Browne)
  • Loyal New Englanders (Loyalist regiment, George Wightman)
  • Hessian Chasseurs
  • British, Hessian, and ship-based artillery
  • Royal Marines

Continental forces

  • 1st Rhode Island Regiment (an African American unit)
  • 2nd Rhode Island Regiment
  • 4th Massachusetts Regiment
  • 13th Massachusetts Regiment
  • Webb's Additional Continental Regiment
  • Jackson's Additional Continental Regiment
  • Sherburne's Additional Continental Regiment
  • 1st Canadian Regiment
  • Eight militia regiments from Rhode Island
  • One militia regiment from Connecticut
  • Langdon's Company of Light Horse Volunteers
  • Peabody's New Hampshire State Regiment
  • Hale's Regiment of Militia
  • Nichols' Regiment of Militia
  • Evans' Regiment of Militia
  • Four artillery regiments

External Link