Baptists and the American Civil War: April 18, 1861

Providence Marine CorpsThe city founded by America’s first Baptist quickly responds to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s call to arms against the Confederate States of America.

Today, the First Rhode Island Battery, following two days of preparation, leaves Providence to join the fight. Comprised of 146 men, the Battery departs the city as thousands of well-wishers watch and cheer, becoming the first northern militia to respond to Lincoln’s call. The Providence Marine Corps (illustration) provide the artillerymen.

Established by Roger Williams in 1636, Providence from its beginning was a refuge for religious dissenters living in theocratic New England. Long a beacon for freedom and liberty for white citizens, and in 1784 passing an emancipation bill gradually outlawing black slavery, Rhode Islanders fight for freedom and liberty for all persons during the Civil War.

While supporting the Union, the city of Providence continues to grow and prosper. During the war years, Providence remains a leading industrial center and deploys its first system of mass transit, comprised of horse-drawn carriages connecting the suburbs to the city center.

Source, including illustration: Robert Grandchamp, The Boys of Adams’ Battery G: The Civil War Through the Eyes of a Union Light Artillery Unit (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2009), p.11.