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Kentish Guards (U.S.)


Last modified: 2015-04-04 by rick wyatt
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Detail of canton:
[Kentish Guards Flag] image by Richard Sheryka, 14 November 2006

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Description of the flag

The flag is white with a very dark red canton in which is (on the left) a bald eagle painted gold, facing right, with three golden arrows in its right talons, and holding a scroll in its beck, the scroll reading "E Pluribus Unum". On the eagles chest is a shield with a black top third and with sixteen black and gold vertical stripes on the remaining two-thirds. Over the eagle's head are sixteen five-pointed gold stars.

To the right is a gold, fouled anchor with a ribbon draped across the top that reads "In God We Hope". Over both the eagle and the anchor is a larger ribbon on which is written "Republicanism." Beneath both the eagle and the anchor is another large ribbon on which is written "Kentish Guards".

The original copy of the Kentish Guards Flag is in the possession of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Copies of it are still used by the original organization, the Kentish Guards, Rhode Island Militia.

The Kentish Guards Flag was designed when around 1800, when there were sixteen states in the United States. The Kentish Guards are an elite militia company chartered on October 29, 1774 by the Colonial Assembly of Rhode Island, and is headquartered in East Greenwich, which in 1774 was the Seat of Kent County (from where the unit derives it name). Among its founding members were Nathanael Greene, James Mitchell Varnum and Christopher Greene, all of whom later having distinguished careers in the in Continental Army in the American Revolution. The Kentish Guards distinguished themselves in the American Revolution in helping to prevent an invasion of the west side of Narragansett Bay, conducting numerous attacks including retaking a merchant ship seized by the British Navy and destroying a British artillery battery. They also saw service with the French Army during its stay in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Kentish Guards continued in its service through the 19th Century as part of the Militia system. They led the restoration of order in the Pawtucket Riots of the Dorr Rebellion, (a state rebellion in Rhode Island in 1842) and raised two companies for Federal service in the American Civil War. They continued into the 20th Century as a legal militia during the formation of the National Guards System, and so have become the sixth oldest military organization in the United States in continuous existence. Operating out of the 1843 Armory in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, the Kentish Guards perform mostly ceremonial duties, and also have a military fife and drum corps, both wearing uniforms originally adopted in the 1790's and contemporary with they flag.

The Kentish Guards have a website:

Richard Sheryka, 14 November 2006