The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R-US) and the Battle of Rhode Island Association (BoRIA) have commissioned Historian Dr. Robert A. Selig to research and translate sections of the Comte de Rochambeau’s Livre d’ordre, the Orderly Book for his army during its stay in Newport, RI, from July 1780 to June 1781. The Orderly Book contains daily “Morning Reports”, “Garrison orders” and “General Orders”. Selig’s research will investigate Rochambeau’s commands in the Orderly Book concerning the French expansion of Butts Hill Fort in Portsmouth, RI. Besides the entries in the Orderly Book, accounts of the work on, and descriptions of, Butts Hill Fort by other French officers and engineers reporting to Rochambeau also still exist. Many of these accounts also still await translation and publication. Selig’s current research will focus primarily on entries in the Orderly Book and accounts involving the construction of defense preparations at Butts Hill Fort after the British abandoned it. This knowledge will help guide the restoration of Butts Hill Fort to what it looked like in 1781.
Dr. Robert A. Selig is a historical consultant who received his Ph.D. in history from the Universität Würzburg in Germany in 1988. He published several books on the American War of Independence and is a specialist on the role of French forces under the Comte de Rochambeau during the War. In 2022 the French government recognized his contributions by awarding him the National Order of Merit. He serves as a project historian to the National Park Service for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Project (WARO). For this project he researched and wrote surveys and resource inventories for the nine states (and the District of Columbia) through which American and French forces marched in 1781 and 1782. His reports are available at https://w3r-us.org/history-by-state/.
The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association Inc. (W3R-US) supports, interprets and preserves the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail (WARO), commemorating the allied French, and Continental armies during the American War of Independence, and the hundreds of miles travelled to, and from, the victorious Siege of Yorktown in 1781 and 1782.
The Battle of Rhode Island Association is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to raising awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the War for Independence. Donations may be made payable to “BoRIA” at PO Box 626, Portsmouth, RI 02871 or by visiting: https://battleofrhodeisland.org/donate/.