1st Rhode Island Regiment


The 1st Rhode Island Regiment, also known as Varnum's Regiment or the Black Regiment, was a regiment of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). It was notable for being the first American military unit to consist mainly of non-white soldiers, many of whom were enslaved Black or Native American men serving to win their freedom.

More about: 1st Rhode Island Regiment


  • 8 May 1775
    The 1st Rhode Island Regiment is raised.
  • Feb 1778
    The Rhode Island Assembly decides to allow enslaved Black and Native American men to enlist in the Continental Army, in exchange for their freedom.
  • 14 May 1781
    The 1st Rhode Island Regiment is ambushed by a Loyalist militia at the Battle of Pine Bridge; Colonel Christopher Greene is killed along with a major and 8 Black soldiers.
  • 25 Dec 1783
    The 1st Rhode Island Regiment is disbanded at Saratoga, New York, after over eight years of service.
  • Feb 1785
    The Rhode Island Assembly passes an act promising financial support to any African-American veteran of the Continental Army who needs it.