William M. Rodman

“Infantry! To the Rescue!” shouted a lieutenant as the militia prepared to overtake the rebels at a tavern in Chepachet, wrote William M. Rodman in 1842. Rodman (1814-1868), a merchant tailor with a shop on Westminster Street, served as Master Clerk…

Colonel Barton's Raid

On the night of July 9, 1777, a young Rhode Island militia officer named William Barton and a small raiding party slipped through British defenses on the Portsmouth shore and carried away General Richard Prescott—wearing nothing but his nightclothes.…

The Battle of Rhode Island

During August 1778, Tiverton was the fulcrum on which the American Revolution teetered. From all over New England militiamen marched along dusty roads to rendezvous at the fort on Tiverton Heights. From Gloucester, Newburyport, and Marblehead came…

Tonomi Hill, Newport

In June of 1776, on the highest point of ground in Newport, the Americans erected a signal beacon and a small fortification. This high point is known as Tonomi Hill, a shortening of Miantonomi, the name of the sachem of the Narragansetts when Newport…

North Battery, Newport

In early 1776, the residents of the Point neighborhood in Newport awoke to see the British frigate HMS Scarborough anchored just offshore. With the threat of war suddenly looming, the town hastily threw up a semi-circular earthwork fort at the…

Green End Fort, Middletown

In 1778, when the British built a defensive line of earthworks to protect Newport from the besieging American troops, the Battery at Green End stood near the southern end of that line. A sinuous mound of earth and a grassy open area with a steep…

Fort Barton, Tiverton

The remains of Fort Barton stand on a rise 110 feet above sea level that is capped by an observation tower offering a commanding view of Narragansett Bay. During the early years of the American Revolution, the fort occupied a strategic highpoint…

Conanicut Battery, Jamestown

In May of 1776, the Americans hastily built an earthwork battery in a large field on the west side of the Beavertail peninsula on Conanicut Island. British diarist Frederick Mackenzie later described the fortification as a "Battery or Redoubt with 4…

Butts Hill Fort, Portsmouth

Butts Hill Fort is the largest remaining Revolutionary War fortification in southeastern New England. In 1776, when the Americans built a small battery there, the area was also known as Windmill Hill after a succession of mills, beginning in 1668,…

Liberty Arming the Patriot

He looks surprised to see her but who can blame him? Goddesses do not often descend from the heavens and communicate with humans. The goddess Liberty hands a spear to a young farmer, still holding his plow. Leave your work in the fields! Take up arms…