The Bristol Train of Artillery was organized in 1776. The organization historian wrote in 1916:

Bristol Train of Artillery image by Jay Killian

“The Train of Artillery, in the town and county of Bristol, known as the Bristol Train of Artillery, was instituted on February 12, 1776, at a town meeting of the Town of Bristol, called ‘In consequence of an Act or order of the General Assembly made and passed at Providence on the 13th day of January 1776 for raising an Artillery Company in this town.” The company chose officers, but those officers were replaced by the General Assembly. .'”

It was the early days of the War for Independence and coastal Bristol was vulnerable to attack by the British. Bristol was continually harassed by the British troops and ships so the company was kept “fully occupied during the years of the Revolutionary War.” With the British Occupation of Newport, the Bristol Train of Artillery found itself actively taking part in battles and skirmishes around Bristol and Newport. Some say that the company took part in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In 1793 the General Assembly passed a new militia law. In June 1794 the Bristol Train of Artillery was chartered by the Assembly. In 1797 two brass field pieces were presented to the company by the General Assembly.

Members took part in the war of 1812 and some of them were taken prisoner and confined to Dartmoor prison in Devon, England. On June 24, 1842 a full company of 200 members reported to the Governor and served in the “Dorr Rebellion.” On June 5, 1861, the company was mustered into the 2nd Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. Over 300 members of the company served in different regiments during the Civil War. Several members of the company served in the Spanish American War. Forty-six members went to France to fight in World War I.


“An Ancient Organization”, Bristol Phoenix, May 2, 1916.