Angell, Israel

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Angell, Israel

ANGELL, ISRAEL. (1740–1832). Continental officer. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, on 24 August 1740, Angell was a cooper living in Johnston, Rhode Island, at the beginning of the Revolution. Rushing to the siege of Boston, Angell became a major in Colonel Daniel Hitchcock's Rhode Island regiment and of the Eleventh Continental Regiment in January 1776. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Second Rhode Island Regiment on 1 January 1777, and two weeks later was made colonel, seeing action at the Battles of Brandywine and Monmouth. His regiment won praise for its service at Red Bank, New Jersey, in October 1777.

Angell's reputation, though, rests largely on his performance at the Battle of Springfield, New Jersey, on 23 June 1780. General Nathanael Greene ordered Angell and Major Henry Lee to hold the bridges over the Rahway River against General Wilhelm Knyphausen's far superior force of five thousand British and German troops as long as possible. Angell took the brunt of the attack, and his regiment fought a notable holding action. Though forced to withdraw, the Americans inflicted such heavy losses on the enemy forces that they retreated after burning Springfield. General George Washington, who was present, and many military historians have held Angell's leadership during the Springfield battle to be one of the classic military actions of the Revolution. Angell retired in January 1781 when the two Rhode Island regiments were merged, returning to Johnston and his career as a cooper. He died on 4 May 1832 in Smithfield, Rhode Island, his service during the Revolution encompassing the only notable events in an otherwise routine life.


Field, Edward, ed. Diary of Colonel Israel Angell, Commanding the Second Rhode Island Continental Regiment during the American Revolution, 1778–1781. Providence, R. I.: Preston and Rounds, 1899.

Lovell, Louise L. Israel Angell: Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1921.