Fort Adams


Revolutionary War Image

Newport, Rhode Island

“The Rock on Which the Storm Will Beat” ~ Fort Adams and the Defenses of Narragansett Bay

The present Fort Adams is actually the third fortification occupy its site (known in Colonial times as Brenton’s Point – which should not be confused with the location now commonly known as Brenton Point on the Ocean Drive in Newport) at the entrance to Newport Harbor.

The first fortification on the site was an unnamed earthwork built on the night of April 6th, 1776 to protect Newport Harbor from British warships which menaced Rhode Island early in the Revolution. It was armed with one 18, one 9, one 6 and two 4 pounder cannons.

On Sunday morning April 7th the battery opened fire at about 5 o’clock AM when the fort fired on the 24 gun frigate H.M.S. Glasgow and a hospital ship which were anchored near Goat Island. Colonel Richmond of the Rhode Island militia fired 35 cannon shots at the ships in the space of half an hour. The ships cut their anchor cables and went across the passage to relative safety near Jamestown.

The earthwork also saw action at 11 PM on Wednesday, April 10th when it fired on the H.M.S. Scarborough and H.M.S. Cimetar. This action forced the ships to seek refuge beyond Rose Island towards Jamestown.

This action led to Rhode Island being temporarally free from British warships and helped pave the way for the colony’s declaration of independence on May 4th, 1776, two months prior to the other colonies. The Brenton’s Point battery was active until the British occupation of Newport started on December 8th, 1776.

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The image, Fort Adams, Newport, RI, is subject to copyright by dbking. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

One Response to Fort Adams

  1. Jerome J. Levans says:

    Colonel William Richmond, of Little Compton, and his men were not militia. They were State Troops in Continental Service. The officers received Continental Commissions by Act of Congress. The unit was retroactively made part of the Continental Army on May 11 of 1776. They served their country in a multitude of ways. There may not be another unit like this regiment outside that of the versatility of those serving in the U.S. Marines. They served both on land and at sea. They conducted a successful amphibious landing and attack in enemy held territory, served aboard the Continental ship Columbus under the command of Captain Abraham Whipple, They drove the British off of Prudence Island ending the British burning and pillaging spree, using whale boats they evacuated persons and effects from Long Island NY, manned shore batteries in Newport R.I. which denied the British Navy the use of this anchorage for seven months, Captain Job Pearce made successful cruises as a privateer capturing prizes and acquiring stores for the army, they manned batteries and firing platforms to snipe at the British Navy at Bristol and Quidnessett Neck and Major Benjamin Tallman of Providence, supervised the building of the Continental ship Warren. These all occurred in 1776 and are documented. Their accomplishments are mainly unrecognized today overshadowed by those concentrating on events after the fall of Newport. Not a word, about their services to State and Country, is mentioned in the light it should be. I am a descendant of Francis Bates jr., Private in Captain Josiah Gibbs 9th Company, Colonel William Richmond’s Regiment.

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