Today, the Rhode Island State Quarter Coin remembers the capture by General Clinton and Commodore Parker on December 8, 1776.
The Remembrancer, Impartial Repository of Public Events, for the Year 1776, compiled by J. Almon, published in 1777, included letters by General Clinton and Commodore Parker providing information of the capture:
Newport, Rhode Island, Dec. 9, 1776.
My Lord, Having received General Howe’s orders to embark, with two brigades of British, and two brigades of Hessian troops, and, in conjunction with Commodore Sir Peter Parker’s fleet, to make a descent upon this island, in the most effectual manner for the full possession of it, and for the security of the town and harbor, we sailed from New York on the 1st of December, and arrived at Weaver’s Bay, on the west side of this island, on the evening of the 7th following.
On the 8th, at day-break, the Commodore having made such a disposition of the fleet as he thought proper to cover the landing of the troops, they disembarked at the above-mentioned Bay without the least opposition; when, being informed that the rebels had quitted the works in and about the town of Newport, and were retiring towards Bristol Ferry, I detached Major General Prescott, with the grenadiers and light infantry, to intercept them, sustaining him with a body of troops under the command of Lieutenant General Earl Percy.
Major Genera! Prescott took two pieces of cannon, a few prisoners, and obliged them to quit their fort on this side the ferry, and retire to the Continent.
I likewise sent a battalion to take possession of Newport, the capital of the island, in which were found some cannon and stores, which the rebels, in their sudden retreat, had left behind them.
I shall, as soon as possible, send troops to the Islands of Cananicut and Prudence, and occupy such other posts as may be necessary for the security of the harbour.
Having had it in command from General Howe to give your Lordship the earliest intelligence of the success of his Majesty’s troops; I have the honour to transmit this to your Lordship by Captain Drummond, one of my Aide de Camps, to whom I beg leave to refer your Lordship for any particulars which you may wish to be informed of.
I have the honour to be, &c. H. Clinton.
Admiralty-Office, Jan. 22.
Lieutenant Logie, of his Majesty’s ship the Mercury, arrived in town this morning from Rhode Island with the following letter from Commodore Sir Peter Parker to Mr. Stephens.
Chatham, Rhode lsland Harbour, Dec. 11.
Sir, The Commanders in Chief in America having thought proper, while the season would admit of it, to employ a considerable number of his Majesty’s ships and troops for the purpose of making descents on the Colony of Rhode Island; and Lord Howe having done me the hon our to appoint me to the command by sea, (Lord Shuldham having leave to return to England by the most early conveyance) I directed Commodore Hotham, agreeable to my instructions from the Vice-Admiral, to proceed with his Majesty’s frigates the Brune, Mercury, and Kings’s Fisher, and also all the transports with the troops under the command of Lieutenant General Clinton, (the Grand Duke of Russia excepted, which was judged to be too large) by the way of the Sound, whilst I proceeded with the great ships, some frigates, and the last named transport, by Sandy Hook to the southward of Long Island.
I sailed the 1st instant, and on the 5th joined Commodore Hotham in the Sound in Black Point Bay, a place he had judiciously chosen for the protection of the transports against the violence of a strong N. W. wind, which blew the night before.
The 6th I turned down with the fleet, to be as near as possible to the place of our destination.
At four the next morning the wind sprung up at W. S. W. and by three o’clock in the afternoon the whole fleet came to an anchor off Weaver’s Cove, Rhode Island.
The following morning Captain Caulsield, who had the direction of the flat boats, landed all the troops without opposition; and I have the pleasure to inform their Lordships, that Rhode Island with the Isles adjacent are now in the possession of General Clinton.
Captain Wallace, of the Experiment, led the fleet in by the West or Narriganset Passage.
An arrangement was made for covering the transports; but we only passed two works, without guns, and intercepted a brig of 160 tons, which the Experiment took, laden with pipe and hogshead staves, and beeswax.
On the first appearance of the fleet, three rebel privateers, of 34, 30, and 28 guns, went up from Newport to Providence, where they are now, with several others; and I shall hope to put an effectual stop to any farther mischief from that nest of pirates.
General Clinton sends one of his Aid de Camps in the Mercury with his dispatches; and I have directed Captain Montagu to send his Lieutenant express with mine.
Enclosed is a list of the rebel privateers at Providence, commonly called The Continental Fleet.
I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, P. Parker.
A List of the Rebel Ships and Privateers at Providence, commonly called the Continental Fleet.
Warren, Hopkins and John Hopkins, Commanders, 32 guns.
Columbus, Olney, 30 guns.
Providence, Abraham Whipple, 28 guns.
Blaze Castle, Monro, 22 guns.
Ship Jane, W. Cox, (Privateer), 20 six pounders.
A Brig, — , 12 guns.
Sloop Providence, Hoysted Hacker, 12 guns.
Dec. 11. P. Parker.
The Rhode Island State Quarter Coin shows with a map of the area, circa 1777.