Reacting to the news of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted to form an Army of Observation. Opposed to this action was Governor Joseph Wanton, a Tory who was removed from office and replaced by Nicholas Cooke, an ardent patriot. One of three Battalions of this Army was commanded by Colonel Daniel Hitchcock, a 35 year old lawyer. Twenty-three year old Stephen Olney served as Ensign.
By May 1775 Hitchcock's Battalion was raised, equipped and marched for Boston in the Brigade of Rhode Island's General Nathaniel Greene. In June all the Rhode Island troops were taken into Continental pay and service under General George Washington of Virginia. In this reorganization Hitchcock's Battalion was renamed the 14th Battalion of Foot.
The 14th Foot was fired upon during the Battle of Breed's Hill in June but did not actively take part in the fight. Little is known of the appearance of these men but we do know they were better equipped than most and had a complete camp with tents and accouterments based on the British style.
During September several men of the 14th Foot volunteered for the ill-fated Arnold expeditionary battalion going to Quebec. Following a long and arduous march, the battalion attacked on December 31th. Some of the men were killed and the rest were captured.
Meanwhile in Boston on December 1st the men of the 14th Foot, Hitchcock's Battalion, volunteered to serve an additional 30 days. At the end of the month the enlistments expired and the unit dissolved.