Washington, D.C. – On this the 248th anniversary of the night bold Rhode Island colonists set the British Royal Navy’s HMS Gaspee ablaze on Narragansett Bay, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is teaming up with Pawtuxet Rangers Commanding Officer Col. Ronald Barnes for a virtual retelling of the story of the Gaspee Affair. While the burning of the Gaspee was one of the events that helped spark the American Revolution, it remains relatively unknown outside Rhode Island. The Gaspee Affair took place in 1772, more than a year before the Boston Tea Party.
“Rhode Islanders fooled the British, burned the boat, and blew it to smithereens. That’s a Rhode Island story,” Whitehouse summarizes in the video released today.
Whitehouse and Barnes’ retelling is now live on the Senator’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. The video was recorded in lieu of Whitehouse’s annual Gaspee speech on the Senate floor due to the COVID-19 pandemic that also led to the cancellation of the 2020 Gaspee Days celebration in Pawtuxet Village.