Kentish Guards

Rhode Island Historic Militia
Chartered October 29th, 1774

War of 1812 and Dorr Rebellion

War of 1812
When the war broke out, recruitment was brisk and the company was at full strength and prepared for any possible action. During the war, the company was ordered out on alarm several times as it was feared that Rhode Island would be the target for a British invasion force as it had been during the Revolutionary War. Soldiers served tours of duty at both old Fort Adams in Newport and at Fort Wolcott on Goat Island during the War of 1812.

The Dorr Rebellion
In 1842 a state constitutional crisis brought about the existence of two rival state governments, one operating under the charter granted by Charles II in 1663, and the other a reform government led by Thomas Dorr. Both parties sought to avoid conflict; but Dorrite hotheads attempted to seize a state armory in Providence which sparked a confrontation on May 17th. The "Charter Government" called out the militia, ending the riot in a bloodless battle the following day in Providence. The Kentish Guards received the call to arms personally from Adjutant General Elisha Dyer, who had disguised himself and gone to East Greenwich in a wagon during the night. The train that was to transport them to Providence had been interdicted by the Dorrites, so the Guards were forced to marched to Providence. Missing the initial battle, they returned to East Greenwich. Soon after they were called upon to quell a dangerous riot in Pawtucket on June 27th, which turned out to be the bloodiest and most difficult engagement of the Dorr War. Here Kentish Guards Commander, Colonel George Allen, took charge of six militia companies besides the Guards, halting a mob preparing to attack Pawtucket and restoring order. In gratitude for their service, the state gave the Guards a grant of one thousand dollars, with which they built their current armory on the corner of Peirce and Armory Streets in East Greenwich in 1843. 

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