UNITED TRAIN OF ARTILLERY
Compiled in substantial part by the efforts of Bob Scappini with contributions by Joe Giammarco.
According to Tom Jones, Company
of military historians, “The reorganization and expansion of the Rhode Island
Militia in 1774 included the information of two new volunteer companies, the
Train of Artillery and the Providence Fusiliers.” The General Assembly, in its
vote of December of 1774, stated:
“Whereas the Preservation of this colony in Time of War, depends under
God, upon the military skill and discipline of its Inhabitants, and especially
upon the Skill and Discipline of Artillery Companies; and whereas a number of
the Inhabitants of the Town of Providence to wit: Daniel Tillinghast, John
Crane, Christopher Whipple, Elihu Robinson, Joshua Hacker, William Wheaton, and
William Earl, has offered themselves to begin and with such others as are, or
shall be added to them, to form themselves into a Company by the name of Train
of Artillery in the County of Providence; and by their humble petition prayed
this Assembly to grant then a Charter with such Privileges, and under such
Restrictions and Limitations as this Assembly might think proper.
Wherefore this Assembly in order to give all
due encouragement to so laudable a design, have ordained, Constituted, and
granted, and by these Presents do Ordain, Constitute and Grant That the
Petitioners beforenamed, together with such others as shall be hereafter added
to them not exceeding the Number of one Hundred, excl8usive of Officers be, and
they are hereby deemed a Company by the Name of the Train of Artillery for the
County of Providence and by that Name shall have perpetual Succession and shall
have and enjoy all the Rights, Powers and Privileges in this Grant herein after
(The grant then went on to
enumerate those powers.) In April of 1775, responding to the Boston alarm, the
Train of Artillery presented to the American forces around Boston, four brass
field pieces with gun crews and powder.
from the siege of Boston noted the military bearing and professional conduct of
the men in the Train.
In April of
1775, the Assembly further strengthened the Train by merging the Train with the
“Whereas, the Company of the Train of Artillery, and the Company of
Fusiliers and other Inhabitants of the Town of Providence proffered a petition
unto this Assembly, praying that the charter, with said petition be presented
for uniting the said companies into one be granted; that Daniel Tillinghast
Esq., may be appointed Colonel, Daniel Hitchcock Esq., Lieutenant Colonel, John
Crane Esq., Major, Levi Hall, Captain of said united companies; and that forty
pounds lawful money be granted to said company for the furnishing of prisoners,
to draw the cannons or field pieces; and said petition being duly considered.
It is voted and resolved that the same be granted, and the sum of forty
pounds therein mentioned be paid out of the General Treasury.”
uniting of the two companies created the largest military unit in the colony.
The artillery was now to be supported by five light infantry companies.
included the following officers:
Company A Capt. Joshua Sayer’s Coy.
Packard, 1st Lt.
Ham, 2nd Lt.
Price, Lt. – Fireworker
Company B, Capt. Jabez
Morse, Capt. – Lt
Thomas Carlile, 1st Lt.
Burkett, 2nd Lt.
Manchester, Lt. – Fireworker
Company C, Capt. Samuel
Warner, Capt.- Lt.
Comstock, 1st Lt.
Babbitt, 2nd Lt.
Page, Lt. – Fireworker
Company D, Capt. Gideon
Samuel Angell, Capt.-Lt.
Amos Jillson, 1st Lt.
Westcott, 2nd Lt.
Bickford, Lt. – Fireworker
Company E, Capt. Ebenezer
Crandall, 1st Lt.
Proud, 2nd Lt.
William Fiske, Lt. – Fireworker
The United Company had 1 major, 1 Captain, 3
lieutenants, and 2 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 bombardiers, 4 gunners, 4
musicians, 74 matrosses and 1 conductor (logistics). William Donnison was named
Adjutant and George Richards, Quartermaster.
During the siege of Boston, the Rhode Island artillerymen were employed
in detachments to man various batteries. According to Christopher Ward, “The
War of the Revolution”, on July 8 1775 Lt. Col. John Crane, commanded tow
Rhode Island guns as the American forces successfully attacked a British
outpost. Crane and the other Rhode Island officers were billeted in Roxbury
during the siege
In September of 1775, according to the April 23, 1875 ?? edition of the Providence Journal, the United Train of
Artillery met for a new election of officers. This election was necessary
because Daniel Hitchcock and John Crane, along with other noncommissioned offers
had “gone into the army for the defense of the rights of mankind..." At
this election, Daniel Tillinghast was chosen as Colonel, commencing a command
that was to last for over twenty years, Levi Hall was selected for Lt. Col.,
Elihu Robinson, Major, Robert Taylor, Captain, Daniel Stillwell, Lt-Fireworker,
and William Denison, Clerk.
The unit was a part of a
reorganization in 1776, becoming absorbed into Knox’s Massachusetts’s
Artillery Regt.. The reason for the reorganization was due to the casualties
suffered by the UTA at the Battle of Long Island. The UTA with four guns and
supporting infantry was assigned to the right flank. The UTA guns were to move
in conjunction with Snallwood’s Marylander’s and Haslet’s Delaware. During
the battle, the right flank was attacked by element so the 42 Highlanders,
Grenadiers, 33rd West Ridings, Hessians and the 71st
Scots. William Birkhimer states in “Historical Sketch of Organization,
Administration, Material, and Tactics of the Artillery, United States Army”,
that a two gun battery under Banajah Carpenter fount “gallantly and with fair
effect until Starling was overwhelmed and Carpenter killed.” The surviving gun
crews removed their peic4es to a distance away form the enemy and continued
harassing fire until ordered to withdraw to the beach where they were ferried
across the river.
The United Train of Artillery
also served at the Battle of Saratoga and the Battle of Rhode Island. According
to J.J. Richards in “Rhode Island’s Early Defenders and Their Successors”,
the UTA saw a considerable service against British operations during the
occupation of Newport.
the War of Independence, the UTA continued to serve.
In the War of 1812, the UY+TA say just over 100 days of state service. In
the 1830’s the UTA helped maintain order in the face of riots in Providence
and also played a major role in the Dorrite Rebellion. Since its earliest
inception, the United Company of the Train of Artillery has been known as the
Untied Train of Artillery, in spite of several name changes. In
1843, the UTA changed its name to The Providence Artillery. In 1869, they
became Burnside’s Zouaves. Finally in 1870, the company returned to its
original name, The United Company of the Train of Artillery and served into the
Twentieth Century. The United Train of Artillery’s Veteran organization was
active until about 1950.