Rhode Island historian Christian McBurney was the guest speaker at the Land Trust’s Community Forum/Annual Meeting held this April. McBurney lectured on two American attempts to invade Aquidneck Island – one called Spencer’s “Secret” Expedition in October 1777 and the other a combined French and American effort that ended with the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778.
Both attempts originated from the shores of Tiverton.
Mr. McBurney discussed the R.I. Campaign – at one point 11,000 colonial soldiers were stationed in and around Tiverton; American Col. William Barton and his capture of British General Richard Prescott; the Newport evacuation by British soldiers in 1779; and a summary of Col. Barton’s later years (including a stint in debtor’s prison) and naming Fort Barton in his honor.
The TLT was joined by the Tiverton Historical Society in hosting the event which drew a capacity crowd. Copies of McBurney’s books The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War (2011) and Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott (2014) were sold out at the meeting; however, they are available in area book stores.