The BoRIA Post

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

October 4th, 2023

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On August 27th, the Newport Chapter of the NAACP celebrated its 56th annual commemorative service honoring the Black Regiment at Patriots Park in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The day was a huge success, and the many prestigious speakers and presentations drew quite a crowd.

Also present, bringing some contemporary life and luster to the event, were the 1st Rhode Island Regiment reenactors, and the Artillery Company of Newport, who presented the colors, fired off muskets, and provided wonderful colonial ambiance.

Master of Ceremonies – Honorable William White, Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court.
The 1st Rhode Island Regiment and Artillery Company of Newport prepare arms.
Charles Roberts, First Rhode Island Regiment reenactor and Founder of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project.
L to R: Dr. Murray Norcross (USN Ret.)-BoRIA Director of Grants, Col. Paul Murphy (USAF Ret.)-BHFRC Chair, and Portsmouth Town Council President Kevin M. Aguiar.

The Battle of Rhode Island Association recently received a proclamation from the Town of Portsmouth acknowledging our efforts for the Dr. Roderick Terry Centennial Celebration at Butts Hill Fort. The proclamation was presented to representatives of the Battle of Rhode Island Association in attendance. Col. Paul Murphy, USAF (Ret.) provided remarks as the Chairman of the Fort Butts Hill Restoration Committee praising the community’s support and that of the Town Council to preserve and maintain this historic earthen fort.  “The Reverend Roderick Terry was a man ahead of his time in his vision to preserve Butts Hill Fort and other American Revolutionary War era properties in 1923”, remarked Dr. Murray C. Norcross, Jr., MD who serves as the Director for Grants for the Battle of Rhode Island Association. To mark the occasion of the Terry Centennial, members of the Town Council were each given a commemorative coin.

Upcoming Events

October 11th at 6:00 PM: The BoRIA Lecture Series Sponsored by BankNewport: BoRIA, Major General Nathanael Greene Homestead, and the Coventry Public Library partner in welcoming Author Janet Uhlar as she presents her lecture: General Nathanael Greene: Savior of the Continental Army.

October 16th at 6:00 PM: Join The Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution if you want to find out if you have a Revolutionary War patriot ancestor. America is celebrating 250 years of independence. Learn about genealogy basics and hereditary societies. Representatives from both groups will give short presentations about their respective groups. Meet with SAR Members who will help you begin to see if you have a Revolutionary War ancestor. October is Family History Month. Come learn about yours!

October 26th at 6:00 PM: The BoRIA Lecture Series Sponsored by BankNewport: BoRIA and the Portsmouth Historical Society present: “Conflict Archaeology and the Battle of Rhode Island” at the Portsmouth Historical Museum, 870 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI. The Public Archaeology Lab (PAL) Senior Archaeologist Jay Waller will discuss battlefield and conflict archaeology and summarize the results and preliminary interpretations of the BoRIA’s investigations at two properties to date.


Recently the Battle of Rhode Island Association announced a new web partnership with RI Publications Society (RIPS). Which is a nonprofit educational and cultural foundation incorporated in 1981 to publish and distribute works relating to Rhode Island’s history, economy, and cultural life. The society is a direct outgrowth of the publications committee of the Rhode Island Bicentennial Commis­sion, which was established in 1974, during the bicentennial of American independence, to publish books about Rhode Island in the Revolutionary era. When the bicentennial observance ended, commission chairman, Dr. Patrick T. Conley, decided to retain and expand the publications program of that organization. RIPS is the result of that decision.

The Rhode Island Publications Society has published “Revolutionary War Defenses in Rhode Island” by John K. Robertson, Ph.D., “The Rhode Island Campaign of 1778: Inauspicious Dawn of Alliance” by Paul Dearden, and “The Battle of Rhode Island, August 29, 1778: A Victory for the Patriots” by Patrick T. Conley. Dr. Conley, Historian Laureate  of Rhode island has contributed hundreds of copies of the latter 2 books to BoRIA for distribution and states “It is a pleasure working with this organization working to preserve and promote a major episode in Rhode Island’s History. I have advocated and urged the restoration of Butts Hill Fort for over three decades. Now it’s being done by dedicated volunteers.”

The video of the Rev. Dr, Roderick Terry Centennial Celebration is now online on our website. Click below to view the video.

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

A Charleville style French musket with bayonet attached.

The coming of the Revolutionary War brought a host of challenges to the upstart colonies, chief among them was a lack of weapons and ammunition that would be used to defend communities against attack as well as weaponize the militias and Continental Army that were sent to fight the War of Independence.
Unfamiliar with his story?

Read the exciting new research recently posted on our site!

Almy Hill battle site. Photo by Jim Garman, Portsmouth Town Historian

Judge Benjamin Cowell was born in 1781, so he wasn’t a Revolutionary War veteran, but he made it his aim in life to help Rhode Island veterans get their pensions. He began recording the stories these old soldiers had to tell to justify their service. Cowell began to gather eyewitness accounts, speeches, letters, rosters, and every piece of information he could find on Rhode Island’s role in the War for Independence. In 1850 he gathered this material into a book Spirit of ’76 in Rhode Island.

Featured Item

Commemorative Coin No. 3

Our third commemorative coin honors the 100-year anniversary of the purchase and preservation of the land Butts Hill Fort sits on by Reverend Dr. Roderick Terry. The coin features BoRIA logo on the front, and the silhouette of the Reverend Dr. reading one of his treasured books on the back.

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