I have been asked to give witness to events I took some part in this past December 3rd and 9th in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and twelve. I do so as a new member of a most honorable group of men and woman doing good work honoring the past sacrifices of those who past before us.
As I was approaching the burial ground in North Providence, I could not help trying imagine what the area must have looked like all those years ago when the French troops were encamped on one of the hills around what was now a large swath of the outskirts of a thriving city. I arrived about 10:30 in the morning at the Old Burial Ground in North Providence Rode Island on a clear and crisp early winters day. It was exhilarating to find a place I had never known to exist as a Historic Revolutionary War burial Site, even more interesting having spent most of my life of 60+ years living not much more than a thirty minute drive away from it in Douglas, MA. As I see it, the reason that this entire event has taken place is to make us and the larger public aware of sites like this with historical importance to us as Americans and to honor the men and woman that offered up their all to give us the freedoms we so enjoy today, if we don’t make people aware of historical sites like this, who will?
Shortly after arrival at the burial ground we were greeted by Connecticut State Representative Pam Sawyer, her taking the time to be there made me feel as if our participation was most welcome and a valued asset to the WR3 National Historic Trail Project. We soon gathered around the memorial tomb of the French Soldiers that were burred there, Surge Gabriel and Representative Sawyer both had moving words to say about the sacrifices that were made by the French troops so far away from home winding up burred not far from where we were standing and how their sacrifices helped us to win our freedom from the oppression of King George.
We then marched to the Jeremiah Dexter House, in Providence about 1.5 miles away, there we were greeted with a warm reception by the museum staff and later by two very nice ladies who were descendants of the original owners who maintained a large farm where there were only houses and pavement standing today. The original marchers from 2006 were given Certificates of Appreciation from the State of Rhode Island. After the awards we marched up to a high point where we found a marker indicating the place where the French troops encamped in 1781 on their way to Yorktown and again returning to Boston in 1782.
After spending some time at the marker with Surge Gabriel singing the French Anthem and taking some photos we marched back to the Dexter house to say our goodbys. We then began our march to the Slater’s Mill in Fall River MA some 2.5 miles away.
As I had to return to work the next day 200 miles away, I regretfully had to take my leave of the group after the march to Slater’s Mill. Before I departed, I pledged to rejoin the group at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown Massachusetts on Sunday December 9th.
Dan Ellis Dudley, Rogers/Kings Rangers
The 11Th Connecticut Regiment (CTSSAR Color Guard)
SR MA & SR NY Color Guard
The Society of Colonial Wars in Massachusetts