On Saturday, May 21st about 60 people gathered at Butts Hill Fort, the largest Revolutionary War earthwork extant in southern New England. 

“Coffee and Donuts at the Fort” was the first public information event by the Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee.  

The group included Rhode Island and local politicians, officials from various towns, heritage groups, and historical societies.  Several uniformed re-enactors from the 54th Regiment of Foot, one of the British units that participated in the occupation of Rhode Island, drew the interest of the crowd and lent an appropriate Revolutionary War atmosphere to the morning.

Nick Edwards, the Secretary of State’s Program Coordinator for the RI250 Commission was the featured speaker.  Nick discussed the Commission’s work in support of the upcoming Semiquincentennial, and how all of Rhode Island’s Revolution history is involved.

Craig Clark, Director of BORIA opened the day’s events acknowledging many of the dignitaries and guests in attendance that included members of the Portsmouth Town Council,  local members of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, Erin Arcand, Director of Federal Projects and Intergovernmental Affairs in Senator Jack Reed’s office, Victoria Johnson of the NAACP and the Middle Passage and Port Marker Project, Charlotte Taylor of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission that oversees Butts Hill Fort as a National Historic Landmark,

BORIA & BHFRC would also like to thank and acknowledge the donation of the RI Legislative fund. Representative Terri Cortvriend and Representative Michelle McGaw presented a check for $1500 dollars,    The Portsmouth Town Council has also provided $1500 from Civic Engagement funds for the BORIA Masterplan.

BORIA Director Burt Quist updated the attendees on the mission of the BORIA and BHFRC priorities. First is the development of a master plan which has begun with a survey of the property and a contract for a landscape architect experienced in historic sites.  The second priority is the development, already underway of the Battle Of Rhode Island Website. The Butts Hill Fort Restoration committee aims to rededicate the Fort during the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026 and to have an education center with public facilities completed by the anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island in 2028.

After the remarks, the groups split into two groups for brief tours of the Fort led by BORIA Committee member Gloria Schmidt and recent Dean College graduate Nate Minese. The groups were shown the Northern and Southern Ramparts and the work that has been done to clear the earthworks from debris.

Please follow us on Facebook for updates on the project.  Anyone wishing to participate or donate may contact Nancy Crawford at redhatskrapper@gmail.com.

  The BUTTS HILL FORT RESTORATION COMMITTEE is a committee of the BATTLE OF RHODE ISLAND ASSOCIATION. The mission of the Committee is to restore and maintain the Revolutionary War fort in order to provide a safe and accessible educational and recreational site that raises public interest in this National Historic Landmark and its role in the Battle of Rhode Island. The Association is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to raising awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the War for Independence.  Donations may be made payable to “BoRIA” at PO Box 626, Portsmouth, RI 02871.  

Source: Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee