The Sons of the American Revolution from Rhode Island and Massachusetts traveled by trolley and boat in August of 1902 to remember those who fought in the Battle of Rhode Island. The first order of business was a call to assembly and raising a large American Flag at the top of the hill. One speaker shared a letter written by Col. Sidney Coleman on the day after the battle. This letter was passed down in the family of St. Paul’s rector Rev. J. Sturgis Pearse.

Tiverton, Aug. 31, 1778

“The day before yesterday about 7 o’clock in the morning, we were alarmed that the enemy were advancing upon us, as the night before we had retreated from near the enemy’s line to the north end of the island.  They began to fire upon our advance parties, who retreated, as was intended. As soon as they came in sight of our army they formed a line in order for a general attack, but seeing we were formed and our artillery playing warmly upon them they altered their disposition and a part of them moved as though they intended to attack our left flank.  Our regiment was ordered out to check their approach, which I believe was only a feint to draw our attention, as very soon afterward they advanced upon our right and made three attempts to gain a small eminence on which was a redoubt, but were as often repulsed.  

The fire continued from about 8 o’clock til 1 o’clock, a great deal of the time being pretty warm.  Then again they moved to our left, when the other three regiments of our brigade were ordered to move forward in a line with us, and General Tyler’s brigade of militia upon our right.  Whether they were tired of the business, which I believe to be the case or whether they disliked our disposition, I cannot tell; at all events they did not see cause to advance, but retired to the top of Quaker Hill, about one mile in front of outline.  The cannonade continued until dark.  Yesterday we made sundry attempts by small parties to draw them into action, but could not.  Last night the general ordered the army to retreat across the river, which we did with the greatest regularity, and completed the crossing of the troops by 2 o’clock in the morning without the enemy discovering the least of our intentions.  Tomorrow morning we march for Providence.”

At the end of festivities “Everyone then scattered about the fortifications and viewed the surrounding country from all sides.” They marveled at the engineering required in the building of the fort.

The celebration moved to Island Park and the feast of a clam bake.

Source: From Fall River Daily Herald,8/30/1902