In a rack atop the 19th-century, glass-front bookcase in the Varnum Commander’s Office is a rare English Carbine, a scaled-down version of the British Land Pattern Musket, commonly known as the “Brown Bess”. From 1722 to 1838, the British Army used the Land Pattern worldwide and some were used by colonists as well.
February is Black History Month, an opportunity to take a brief look at an important aspect of General James Mitchell Varnum’s illustrious career: the inclusion of men of color into the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, known as Varnum’s Continentals and from which we take our name and heritage as a historic state militia.
Long-time Rhode Islanders have many memories of Quonset Point Naval Air Station and the neighboring Davisville Seabee Base: 20th century additions to the Navy’s longtime commitment to the Ocean State. A Naval aviation presence began here in 1918 with the first tests of air-dropped torpedoes in the waters of the Bay. Before long, the sight […]
Turn off Main Street, go down London Street and you’ll find a piece of East Greenwich, RI, history at the corner of Duke Street. It once served as a focal point in the life of the community, from the 1800s into the latter years of the 20th century. The cream building with brown trim (once […]
While American women today serve in front-line duties in the armed forces, this wasn’t a common or accepted practice in the past. This article tells the stories of Deborah Sampson of the American Revolution and Kady Brownell in the U.S. Civil War. Click the link to read more about these American military heroes.
It’s been a while since we sat down with Varnum Continentals Vice President and Varnum House Museum Curator Barbara Weaver. A lot has happened at the historic house on the hill. Thanks to an extensive series of renovations funded through both individual donations and the generosity of charitable foundations, the home of General James Mitchell […]
Seventy-seven years ago this month, sixteen Mitchell B-25 (Model B) medium bombers were launched from the USS Hornet to attack the Japanese mainland: specifically, the capital city of Tokyo and other locations on the island of Honshu. The daring raid, coming just barely four months after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was not only […]
There are few military exercises as thrilling as the charge of a cavalry unit, sabers flashing as they face off against the enemy. Of course, with today’s advanced military weaponry, the saber has been relegated to ceremonial use. However, as recently as the early days of World War II, you could have witnessed a cavalry […]
In August 2015, we shared the story of the first North Kingstowner to fall in combat in the American Civil War during the March 14, 1862 Battle of New Bern (also spelled as New Berne) in North Carolina. With the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum’s recent acquisition of artifacts relating to that battle, it seems like […]
Until the 19th century was well along, handguns were limited to single-shot weapons. In 1836, a 22-year old Hartford, Connecticut man, Samuel Colt, came up with a concept for controlled rotation of a firearm that would allow multiple rounds to be fired without reloading. Colt, the son of a textile manufacturer, developed a fascination for […]