Battery Park in Newport is a lovely place to sit and view the harbor. From its name you can imagine that it was the site of a battery (a cluster of cannons) during the American War for Independence). The British called it North Battery and it was an important element in the defenses of Newport. British soldier Frederick Mackenzie writes in his diary in September of 1777 that they were doing the principal work “enclosing the town of Newport from Easton’s beach, round the three windmills, to the North Battery and extent of 3000 yards.”

The Battery began as an earthen work begun by American forces. The British re-enforced this so it could be manned by seven soldiers. In preparation for the arrival of the French fleet in 1778, the British thickened the walls and installed guns. The battery was part of the defenses to protect Newport from a sea attack and was armed with two 24-pound and three 12-pound cannons.

When the British abandoned Aquidneck Island in December of 1779, they leveled the fortifications at North Battery. The Americans tried to reconstruct the battery when they returned to the Aquidneck Island. The North Battery was re-named Fort Greene in 1798 in honor of Rhode Island’s General Nathanael Greene.

Resources: Kathy Abbass’ Rhode Tour:

“Plan of the town and environs of Newport, Rhode Island / Exhibiting its defenses formed before the 8th of August 1778 when the French fleet engaged and passed the batteries, the course of the French fleet up the harbor, the rebel attack and such defensive works as were erected since that day untill the 29th of August when the siege was raised; also the works proposed to be erected in the present year 1779..” University of Michigan Library Digital Collections.