Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island

October 1, 2014

Spies in Revolutionary Rhode IslandDecember 11, 2014 at 5:30pm

Colony House, Washington Square

$5 per person, $1 NHS members

Please RSVP below or call 401-841-8770

Espionage played a vital role during the Revolutionary War in Rhode Island, both during the British and French occupations of Newport and Aquidneck Island. The Newport Historical Society will host the debut lecture of best-selling author Christian M. McBurney’s new book Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island.

During this talk, McBurney will unravel the world of spies and covert operations in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War. He will discuss the stories of individuals such as the following who were all involved with espionage:

  • Lieutenant John Trevett of the Continental navy sloop Providence dressed as an ordinary sailor, grew out his beard, and went from tavern to tavern in Newport gathering intelligence.
  • William Taggart became a patriot spy and enlisted the help of his son to pass messages from Middletown to the American army at Tiverton.
  • Portsmouth’s Metcalf Bowler became a traitor on the order of Benedict Arnold, as he spied for the British while professing to be a patriot leader.
  • Disguised as a peddler, Ann Bates spied for the British during the Rhode Island Campaign.

A graduate of Brown University, Christian M. McBurney is a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm. He is the author of several books including The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War (Westholme Publishing, 2011) and Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee & Richard Prescott (Westholme Publishing, 2013).