The BoRIA Post

The official newsletter of the Battle of Rhode Island Association featuring news, events and Rhode Island history. Learn more at www.battleofrhodeisland.org.

May 1st, 2024

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BoRIA Sponsors Portsmouth
High School AP History Class Field Trip

On August 29, 1778, all of Portsmouth became the battlefield for the Battle of Rhode Island. An important mission of BoRIA is to educate the public about this important action that enabled American troops to successfully retreat from Aquidneck Island. One of the best ways to learn about the battle is a guided visit to the important sites where the action took place. On May 21st, BoRIA and the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati are sponsoring and facilitating a field trip for 60 students from Portsmouth High School’s Advanced Placement American history classes. AP American history teacher Cindy Perry has organized the class which begins with a lesson on using primary sources and an overview of the events of the Battle. Buses will take the students to the important sites including the Portsmouth Historical Society grounds, Heritage Park on Turkey Hill, Patriot’s Park (Black Regiment Memorial), Quaker Hill, and Butts Hill Fort. Musket and drumming demonstrations by re-enactors will add to the experience. The morning culminates with a luncheon in the library.

 

Tour booklet and driving tour available here.

BoRIA attends RI 250 Event at the State House

BoRIA’s Paul Murphy attended the unveiling of the video marking Rhode Islands 250th Year History. The event was held at the State House and hosted by the chair of the Rhode Island Semiquincentennial Commission (RI250), Secretary of State Gregg Amore. Attendees were able to view the original 1823 stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, as well as a pop-up exhibit celebrating Rhode Island’s revolutionary local communities. Email statearchives@sos.ri.gov to bring this exhibit to your community today!

L to R: Charles Roberts, Founder and Executive Director of RI Slave History Medallions; Gregg Amore; RI Secretary of State. Terri Cortvriend, RI State Representative for Portsmouth and Middletown; Linda Ujifusa, RI State Senator for Portsmouth and Bristol; and Paul Murphy, BoRIA.
L to R: Charles Roberts, Founder and Executive Director of RI Slave History Medallions; Gregg Amore; RI Secretary of State. Terri Cortvriend, RI State Representative for Portsmouth and Middletown; Linda Ujifusa, RI State Senator for Portsmouth and Bristol; and Paul Murphy, BoRIA.

BoRIA Lecture Series

The BoRIA Lecture series continued in April as we brought three lectures to the area.

Christian McBurney: Wickford’s Revolutionary War Heroes – Samuel Phillips, George Babcock, Thomas Cole, and More. Co-hosts – North Kingston 350th Committee and Histwick; sponsored by Americana Corner.

Dr. Robert Selig: Rochambeau’s Engineers at Butts Hill Fort, July 1780 – June 1781. Co-Host – Portsmouth Historical Society; sponsored by RI State Legislative Grant by Senator Linda Ujifusa.

Dr. Rober Selig: The Culture of Death – Military Burial Practices during the American War of Independence. Co-host – Varnum House; sponsored by the Society of Colonial Wars.

BoRIA Lecture videos now on our YouTube Page. Click below to watch.

Another Successful Cleanup at Butts Hill Fort

Our fantastic volunteers!
PAL's Senior Archaeologist Jay Waller and BoRIA Director Craig Clark using Ground Penetrating Radar.

The Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee hosted our Spring Cleanup in conjunction with the American Battlefield Trust’s Park Day campaign. We did a general cleanup of the Butts Hill Fort Green and pathways around the fort which now connect as a walkable circuit. The steep hills of the Revolutionary War earthworks are becoming visible again after clutter and underbrush continue to be carefully removed. The Bristol Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were on site partnering again in the effort. Jay Waller from the Public Archaeology Lab (PAL) was on site doing some preliminary passes with ground penetrating radar in an effort to locate barracks and other outbuildings.

BoRIA Partner Launches New Website

The Jamestown Historical Society (JHS) unveiled a new website jamestownhistoricalsociety.org after much work by JHS volunteers. Peter Fay, a JHS Director and BoRIA Director, spearheaded the redesign effort with multimedia firm Boone.Design who also built and maintains the BoRIA website. The new website is more accessible and enriched with significant new content.

Paul Murphy Named Director of BoRIA

The Jamestown Historical Society (JHS) unveiled a new website jamestownhistoricalsociety.org after much work by JHS volunteers. Peter Fay, a JHS Director and BoRIA Director, spearheaded the redesign effort with multimedia firm Boone.Design who also built and maintains the BoRIA website. The new website is more accessible and enriched with significant new content.

Volunteers Needed for Cleanup at Butts Hill Fort

The BHFRC is inviting volunteers to our Spring Cleanup on Saturday, May 4th (Rain date May 5th). It’s RI’s Independence Day and the cleanup starts at 9 AM and goes on until 1 pm. Come anytime. The meeting point is our blue top, check-in tent in the Butts Hill Fort main gate area. Directions: Follow Butts St. from Sprague Street and turn left at the top. Or Google “26 Butts Street” for directions to the Main Gate. Participants are asked to park along Dyer Street or at the Portsmouth High School Tennis Courts. No parking is allowed on Butts Street itself.

All parties must sign a town liability form upon arrival at the check in tent. BHFRC staff will be on hand throughout the day, so if you join in progress, please sign in with a team member for accountability.

Participants are also asked to bring gloves, protective eye gear, and personal yard/gardening tools such as rakes, loppers, shears, shovels, or tarpaulins. Anyone can volunteer, please RSVP to publicrelations@battleofrhodeisland.org.

Partner Events

Shared Articles

Congress and the Commodore: Esek
Hopkins and the Raid on Nassau By Eric Sterner

On April 7, 1776 American ships began dropping anchors off New London, Connecticut. Esek Hopkins, commander in chief of the new Continental navy, was returning from a successful raid on the town of New Providence on Nassau island in the Bahamas.

Read an Article and Win some Gear!

How do I enter?

Anyone can enter our monthly raffle by reading any of our articles and filling out the form at the bottom of the article page. Entering the contest will also add you to our mailing list, which you can opt out of at anytime. Winners will be chosen at the beginning of each month and notified via the email they used to register. Limit one entry per person per month. Enter every month to increase your odds of winning!

Congratulations to our March contest winner Sandy E, Norwood, MA, who is enjoying wearing a BoRIA ball cap and t-shirt.

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Featured Item: Commemorative Coin #5 – 1st Rhode Island Regiment

The fifth coin in our series of commemorative coins to raise awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the American Revolutionary War honors the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.

 

Did You Know?

Did Paul Revere and John Hancock fight in the Battle of Rhode Island on August 29, 1778?

No, Revere and Hancock did not fight in the Battle as they went home to Boston before the Battle began. They came to Aquidneck Island with General John Sullivan’s forces. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere and his son, who was a lieutenant and about 17 years old, were sent to reinforce Sullivan. Among the 10,000 or so of the forces that gathered at Tiverton were John Hancock and his Massachusetts Militia including Paul Revere. As a senior major general, Hancock took command of 6,000 soldiers. Hancock delayed going to Rhode Island and his presence was more of a symbolic one. When the Americans crossed over to Aquidneck Island, Revere’s regiment was responsible for erecting and maintaining artillery batteries on the island. The plan was that the American forces and the French Navy would combine to rout the British from their occupation of Newport and the Island. Unfortunately, the French ships were damaged in a storm and French Admiral d’Estaing decided to head to Boston for repairs. Hancock wrote d’Estaing asking him to reconsider but the French left at midnight on August 21st. The Americans knew that their mission of freeing Newport was impossible without the help of the French and the militias began to desert. Hancock and his militia, including Paul Revere, headed home to Boston and arrived on August 26th.

Courtesy of Gloria Schmidt, Historical Advisor to the BoRIA.

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