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Fort Adams Trust

90 Fort Adams Drive Fort Adams State Park
401- 841-0707

“The forces of nature that gave the settlers of Rhode Island one of the finest natural harbors in the world, Narragansett Bay, also presented them with a military challenge”. Theodore L. Gatchel

Squadron Under Fire.A look at how this challenge was answered in the past provides insight into important aspects of Newport's history, and a review of the development of American seacoast defenses as well.

The forces of nature that gave the settlers of Rhode Island one of the finest natural harbors in the world, Narragansett Bay, also presented them with a military challenge. Part of the challenge was to prevent an enemy fleet from entering the bay to attack friendly ships or cities along the shore. Another part was to prevent an enemy from seizing the bay to use it for a base of operations. Periodically, those charged with meeting this challenge have had to answer three broad questions. The first was whether to fortify the bay in addition to, or in place of, defending it by strictly naval means. If the answer was yes, questions remained as to what type of fortifications should be built and where they should be located. A look at how these questions were answered in the past provides not only an insight into an important aspect of Newport’s history, but a review of the development of American seacoast defenses as well.



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