History Bytes: The Guns of the Colonial Sloop Tartar
In order to address hostilities during the time of King George’s War, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted to build a sloop in 1740. She was 115 tons and cost L#8,679, and was named the Tartar, after the H.M.S. Tartar which visited from England in 1737. Rhode Island’s new Sloop of War had a distinguished and well documented career, particularly at the Battle of Louisbourg in 1744-1745.
Sadly, the Tartar was decommissioned in 1748 and her inventory was sold on Goat Island at public auction. The unclaimed items were stored at Fort George for many years. Eventually, two of her twelve guns were recovered and used as traffic control bollards at the foot of Washington Square. In 1934 the Newport Historical Society arranged to rescue the guns and mounted them on the lawn of the Touro Street headquarters, where they can be seen today.