The BoRIA Post

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

November 3rd, 2023

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Another Successful Cleanup at Butts Hill Fort

On Saturday, October 28th, the Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee held its fall cleanup in honor of our late Founder and Director Col. Burt Quist (USMC Ret.) and commemorating the 248th birthday of the US Marines. With about 30 volunteers of all ages, we tackled the area around the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Marker that was installed in 1922. The Bristol Chapter of DAR was on hand as well as they have been for earlier cleanups at the fort. The contingent of Naval War College Marines and Marine Detachment (MARDET) Newport, was led by Colonel Craig Wonson, the senior Marine officer at the US Naval War College. We had a great turnout and are so appreciative of everyone’s efforts. Butts Hill Fort has made tremendous strides since we began our endeavor. We’re looking forward to next year!

The few, the proud, the volunteers.
Jay Waller from Public Archaeology Lab (PAL) discussing conflict archaeology.

On Thursday, October 26th, the Battle of Rhode Island Association (BoRIA) and it’s partner the Portsmouth Historical Society (PHS) welcomed Senior Archaeologist Jay Waller from The Public Archaeology Labratory (PAL) to the PHS Museum. Jay discussed the efforts over the last year of BoRIA Metal Detecting sessions on private land near Butts Hill Fort. The ongoing project is attempting to highlight troop movements and musket ball disbursement from the Battle of Rhode Island on Aug 29th, 1778. Artifacts found are on display at the Portsmouth Historical Society in Portsmouth RI.

Upcoming Lectures

The Battle of Rhode Island Association Lecture Series sponsored by BankNewport Presents two talks from Friederike Baer, Ph.D.

December 6th at 6:00 PM: Rhode Island Historical Society’s Aldrich House,

110 Benevolent St, Providence

December 7th at 6:00 PM: Varnum Armory Memorial Museum, 6 Main St, East Greenwich

The Battle of Rhode Island Association (BoRIA), The Varnum Armory Memorial Museum & Rhode Island Historical Society present two lectures lecture from Author and historian Dr. Friederike Baer, Brown Graduate with a Ph.D in Early American History and currently Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, Abington College. Her lecture: “I cannot call it a Conquest – the Rebels ran away like Villains”: German Soldiers in Rhode Island, 1776 to 1779″.

The British occupation of Rhode Island from 1776 to 1779 included more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians belonging to the corps from Hessen-Kassel and Ansbach-Bayreuth, two of the six German territories that supplied troops to Britain in its war against the American rebels. During this time, they dealt with persistent harassment by the Americans and, in August 1778, they participated in the Battle of Rhode Island. The presentation will examine the land, the people, and the revolutionary war in Rhode Island from the perspective of these German troops.

Friederike Baer is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, Abington College. She holds a Ph.D. in early American history from Brown University. Her work has been supported with research grants from organizations such as the American Philosophical Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, University of Michigan Clements Library, and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). For her most recent book, Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (2022), she was awarded the 2023 Society of the Cincinnati Prize. For more information about her research about the “Hessians”, please visit

The Battle of Rhode Island Association is on YouTube! Click HERE to go to our Channel. You can find the video on Revolutionary War Defenses in Rhode Island with John Robertson, Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island with Christian McBurney as well as the entire Rev. Dr. Roderick Terry Centennial Celebration. We will slowly be adding more content to the channel. Thanks again for all of your continued support.

Original & Shared Articles

Positions of British and American Armies on August 29, 1778

Private Dohla of the Ansbach-Bayreuth contingent of Hessian mercenaries described the beginnings of the Siege of Newport in his diary. As a researcher for the Battle of Rhode Island Association, I have been learning about the Rhode Island Campaign in general and the Battle in particular. In this article I will be focusing on the often forgotten period of the Siege.  I will be using eyewitness accounts, orderly reports and maps to uncover what happened during the Siege day by day. Secondary sources such as Siege of British Forces in Newport County by Colonial and French in August 1778 and Christian McBurney’s Rhode Island Campaign will provide a context for the eyewitness accounts.

Unfamiliar with his story? Read the exciting new research recently posted on our site!

“The Absent Father, or, The Sorrows of War,” 1797. (Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library)

“Dear Brother,” wrote Thomas Plumb from Newport, Rhode Island, on February 22, 1777, “this comes with my kind Love to you and hope these lines will find you, my Wife, Child & all Enquiring Friends in as good Health as they do Leave me at this Present time.”[1] Plumb has been in Rhode Island for almost three months, and it was important to let his family and friends know that he was in good health and spirits. He was a soldier, a British soldier, in a war that had been raging in America for almost two full years.

Previously published by Journal of the American Revolution at Republished with permission.

Featured Item

Retailers Rocks Glasses

These limited edition Retailers Rocks Glasses are from Distillery Products of Big Fork, Idaho. The logo is a specially designed piece of art by Rhode Island graphic artist Maureen Daniels of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Proceeds support the Battle of Rhode Island Association’s mission to raise awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the American Revolutionary War and to stabilize and maintain the historic Butts Hill Fort, which anchored the American defensive line during the Battle of Rhode Island on 29-30 August 1778. Get your rocks glasses today and join the Revolution!

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