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The Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution has announced the publication of Regimental Book First Rhode Island Regiment for 1781 by Bruce C. MacGunnigle with an introduction by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, FASG.
Original records of the Revolutionary War are important to all Americans, especially historians and genealogists, but they are not always the easiest kinds of documents to use. This careful transcription of an original manuscript at Rhode Island State Archives provides rich material for the study of the First Rhode Island Regiment and the men in it. Enlistment records for over 500 soldiers (as above) allow the reader a glimpse of height, hair color, age, and occupation, as well as details of birth place and enlistment. This regiment, sometimes called the First Rhode Island Regiment , is well known for its diversity, and these records are particularly revealing. In addition to the core of Rhode Islanders we find a Spanish-born fanmaker, a printer’s assistant born in Africa, men from other colonies, and – more unexpectedly – soldiers from across Europe and the Caribbean. We find tiny soldiers (4 ft. 9 in.) and ones over six feet tall, teenage boys and men in their sixties. These records can be the gateway for genealogy, especially for soldiers of color. The appendix offers tables of information derived from the enlistment records.
Fascinating as they are, enlistments are only part of the original book, which includes a register of “casualties” (injury, death, desertion, promotion, and transfer), honorary badges of distinction, and furlough details. Records go far beyond the year 1781 mentioned on the title. Introductory material, including a detailed chronology, places the book in the context of the Revolutionary War, and each section is introduced with an explanatory paragraph. Images of members of the regiment that have been found are presented with details of their history. A meticulous index makes it possible for the reader to find records of each individual quickly.
The author Bruce C. MacGunnigle brings a lifetime of experience with Rhode Island Revolutionary War history to this book. In addition to his extensive body of historical and genealogical publications, he has served as president of the RISSAR, commanding officer of the Varnum Continentals, and president of Rhode Island Genealogical Society. He was recently elected Governor General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, FASG, is the author of many books and articles and has edited Rhode Island Roots for the last ten years. For further information please visit the website of the Rhode Island Society here.
Regimental Book First Rhode Island Regiment for 1781 by Bruce C. MacGunnigle, with introduction by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, FASG (East Greenwich R.I.: Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 2011), 156 + xx pages, hard cover, library binding, illustrated, appendix, index of names. ISBN 978-0-615-49315-2.