Cannon and musket fire resounded through Butts Hill Fort in Portsmouth once again on Sunday as Revolutionary War-era reenactors from various units demonstrated the elements of 18th-century warfare.

Sounds of muskets return to Butts Hill Fort on Sunday, October 17. Photo by Nminese

More than 100 attendees enjoyed a beautiful fall day while learning about the role Butts Hill Fort played during the War for Independence and about how soldiers from both sides lived and fought.  The event was organized by Seth Chairo, Sergeant Major of the 54th Regiment of Foot and a member of the Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee of the Portsmouth Historical Society. Thirty re-enactors from the 54th Regiment represented British units with the American side being represented by the members the Kingston Reds, the 5th Connecticut Regiment, the Artillery Company of Newport, and the United Train of Artillery.  The Americans established a tent camp at the south end of the Fort with the British camp opposite at the north end.  This was the first event at the Fort since the Restoration Committee began the process of removing invasive vegetation so that the public can appreciate this large Revolutionary War earthwork.  

A member of the United Train of Artillery explains cannon operation to visitors

Throughout the day the soldiers were happy to show visitors period life in the camps. Spectators also witnessed cannon and musket demonstrations, and infantry drills. Comments from the public were enthusiastic and complimentary.  A recurring theme among their comments was, “I have lived here for years and never knew this Fort was here.”

The day ended with a final battle scene and the combined units parading to honor the attendees.  Craig Clark, co-chair of the Butts Hill Restoration Committee, thanked the re-enactors as well as the visitors and asked for their continued support of the Committee’s efforts to restore the Fort.  

This is the first of many similar events to be held over the next few years to raise awareness of this hidden, historic gem and to support efforts to restore the Fort as an educational and recreational location on Aquidneck Island.

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