Living with Style, The Newport Diary


Independence Day 2019

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On this special day in our country’s history, I take pride in the pivotal role that Rhode Island, and Newport specifically, played in the American Revolution. The fiercely autonomous colony was the scene of some of the earliest and most violent protests against British authority. In May of 1776, Rhode Island became the first of the thirteen colonies to officially renounce its allegiance to King George III (two months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence).

Given Newport’s excellent harbor, the British forces occupied our town (headquartered at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum) for almost three years, from December of 1776 to October 1779. After the British evacuation, Newport became the base of operations for the army of 6,000 men, under the leadership of General Rochambeau, that France sent to this colony to aid in our war for independence. In 1781, General George Washington traveled to Newport to meet with the Comte de Rochambeau, the Marquis de Lafayettte and three French admirals to formulate the historically significant plans for the final campaign of the American Revolution. On June, 1781, General Rochambeau and his army left Newport to join the American forces on the Hudson; in August, the combined armies under the command of General Washington began their victorious march south. On October 19th, 1781, British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia.

The recently restored bronze statue of General Rochambeau looking over Newport harbor.

May you have a glorious and meaningful Fourth of July!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Independence Day 2019

    1. Thank you, Holly, for your kind note…especially about the “cheer”! I shall keep you in mind as I compose the summer weekly e-journals.xB

  1. Beautiful Photograph of Rochambeau & Newport Harbor. Thank you for further details of his and French army’s involvement in reaching American independence.
    It may be long overdue that Newport establishes a sister city with France ?……

  2. I love history and always appreciate more information to expand my knowledge of subjects that are of particular interest to me, so thanks for your history lesson. When I lived in Williamsburg, I always attended Yorktown’s victory parade held Oct. 19th. It was always a great parade. Love your photo of the harbor, Bettie!

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