Conanicut Battery

The Conanicut Battery is a Revolutionary Era fortification that can be seen today on the West side of Beavertail on Jamestown. In preparation of war, the Rhode Island General Assembly ordered the building of the Conanicut Battery in 1776. Originally a crescent-shaped earthwork, it was designed for six to eight heavy cannon and soldiers. When the British invaded Aquidneck Island they also captured Jamestown (Conanicut Island) and held it (basically) from December 1776 to October 1779.

Image by Seth Chiaro

In his diary entry for December 7, 1776, Frederick Mackenzie writes: “…at 12 made the Light House on the S. point of Connonicut Island at the entrance of Rhode Island harbour….and about 1 o’clock that ship (The Experiment with Capt. Wallace) took the lead, and stood up the Western Channel between Connonicut, and the Main(land)… About 2 miles from the Light House, Rebels had a Battery or Redoubt with 4 Embrazures towards the Channel, But it appeared to be abandoned.”

The British remade the fortification into the shape you can see today with ditches surrounding on all sides. The fort held heavy cannon to defend the West Passage. French forces coming to the aid of the Patriots manned the Conanicut Battery in 1780 and 1781.

The Dumplings

Maps show a battery located close to the Dumplings Rock formation. High on cliffs 50-70 feet in height, this battery would have guarded Newport Harbor. It was abandoned when the British fleet entered Newport Harbor December 8, 1776. During the British Occupation (1776-1779) both British and German/Hessian soldiers occupied and enlarged the earthworks. Hessian troops abandoned the site on July 29th, 1778 when d’Estaing’s French fleet came into the harbor to aid the Americans. When the British fleet appeared, the French withdrew their troops.


On the Dumplings:

Rhode Tour on Conanicut Battery: