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Account of the burning and plundering by the British at Connecticut, Rhode-Island



Newport, December 11, 1775.

About one o' clock, yesterday morning, the bomb brig, a schooner, and two or three armed sloops, left this harbour, went to Conanicut, and landed upwards of two hundred marines, sailors, and negroes, at the east ferry, marched in three divisions immediately over to the west ferry, and set the several houses on fire which were near the ferryplace, then retreated back, setting fire to almost every house on each side the road, from the west to the east ferry, and several houses and barns some distance on the north and south side of the road, driving out the women and children, swearing they should be burnt in the house if they did not instantly turn out.

Widow Hull lost one house; Joseph Clarke, Esq˙, two houses and one barn; Thomas Fowler, one house, barn, and crib full of corn; Benjamin Ellery, two houses, store, and barn; B˙ Remington, two houses; John Gardner, Esq˙, one house and tan-yard; Thomas Hutchinson, one house; Widow Franklin, two; Abel Franklin, one; Benedict Robinson, one. All the above houses were plundered of beds, wearing apparel, and such household furniture as could be conveniently carried off; the rest were consumed. Some women, we are told, were stripped of some of their best clothes they had on. It is said Captain Wallace commanded on this humane expedition. A company of minute-men had left Conanicut the evening before; so that there were but about forty or fifty soldiers on the Island, most of whom had been inlisted but a few days, and arrived there but the evening before in miserable condition for such a sudden attack; but, notwithstanding, it is said there is certainly one officer of marines killed, and seven or eight badly wounded. There was not one Provincial either killed or wounded, except Mr˙ John Martin, who was shot in his belly, standing unarmed in his door. The above vessels brought off about thirty head of oxen and cows, a few sheep and hogs, most of which they killed before they took them on board. They left Conanicut yesterday, and came to this harbour again about noon.

The above houses were not all occupied by the owners, but each had at least one family, some two.