Rhode Island First Day of Issue Covers
Ratification of the Constitution - Rhode Island Bicentennial
Issued May 29, 1990 in Pawtucket, RI - Scott #2348
Stamp Design is the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI

Hand Drawn and Hand Painted Cachet by Don Mangus
Burning of the British Revenue Cutter Gaspee

The HMS Gaspee under the command of Lieutenant Dudingston was sent to Narragansett Bay in 1772 to enforce the Stamp Act and prevent smuggling. Dudingston angered the locals with his oppressive policies; harassing Rhode Island vessels, impressing seamen and requiring that all ships lower their flags when passing the Gaspee.

On June 9, 1772 the Gaspee gave chase to the sloop Hanna commanded by Captain Benjamin Lindsay. The Hanna deliberately led the Gaspee over a sandbar near Namquid Point, which her shallow draft enabled her to pass over safely. The Gaspee; heavier and with a deeper draft became stranded on the bar.

Captain Lindsay informed John Brown of the Gaspee's stranding and a meeting was held at Sabin's Tavern in Providence, RI to formulate a plan of action. That night under cover of darkness, a band of Rhode Islanders under the command of Abraham Whipple rowed out to the Gaspee and took over the ship. The vessel was set on fire and burned to the waterline. During the course of this action Dudingston was wounded by Joseph Bucklin and the Gaspee's crew was captured and taken to Pawtuxet.

A large reward was offered by the British authorities for information leading to the arrest or capture of the culprits, however it seemed that "No One had seen or heard anything" and they were never caught.

SEE ALSO: Rhode Island Superlatives

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