Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Archival and archaeological...
 Planning and development
 Priorities in stabilization
 Notes on the galleries
 Report, part 2
 Table of Contents
 Restoration 1974
 Stabilization 1974
 Use and interpretation
 Archaeological work
 Archival work
 Remark on adjunct fortificatio...
 Goals of the 1973 survey
 Proposed budget 1974

Title: Report on the restoration of Fort Adams
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102589/00001
 Material Information
Title: Report on the restoration of Fort Adams
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Robinson, Willard B.
Publisher: Willard B. Robinson
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1972
Copyright Date: 1972
Subject: Historic preservation
Fort Adams
Fort Adams State Park
Spatial Coverage: Rhode Island -- Newport -- Fort Adams State Park
Coordinates: 41.478566 x -71.337672
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00102589
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item has the following downloads:

UF00102589_00001 ( XML )

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title page
    Table of Contents
        Table of contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Archival and archaeological work
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Planning and development
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 18a
        Page 18b
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Priorities in stabilization
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Notes on the galleries
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 33a
        Page 33a
    Report, part 2
        Page 36
    Table of Contents
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Restoration 1974
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Stabilization 1974
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Use and interpretation
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Archaeological work
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Archival work
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Remark on adjunct fortifications
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Goals of the 1973 survey
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Proposed budget 1974
        Page 40
        Page 41
Full Text

F;n diL4kJ~,~l.





0 P

Prepared by
Willard B. Robinson

Architectural Historian

June 1 972










During the Var of 1812, American military strategists

becam~equite aware of the need for national defenses. Although

isolated by an ocean on one side and a vast wilderness on the

other, it became clear that the pacific tendency of the United

States was inadequate to prevent conflict. Therefore, attention

was directed to the development of a national system of defense

which, it was hoped, would by its very existence deter

aggression and assure peace. Within this system were projected

numerous permanent forts. The magnitude of each was developed

according to the commercial and military importance of the

place it was to protect.

In days of wind-driven vessels, Narragansett Bay

was blessed with natural conditions that were equaled by few

other harbors along the Atlantic Coast. In several of his

early annual reports on fortifications, Chief of Engineers,

J. G. Totten (1788-1864), noted this when he wrote: "As a

harbor, this is acknowledged by all to be the best on the

whole coast of the United States; and is the only harbor

that is accessible with a northwest wind, the prevailing and

most violent wind. of the inclement season." He then warned,

"The defences adopted for Narragansett roads must be

formlidablee on the: important points, because they will be

exposed to powerful expeditions."

After thoroughly studying the coastline, the Board

of Engineers, in charge of developing a national system of

defense, concluded that the importance of Narragansett Roads

warranted the development of one of the most extensive

nineteenth-century military works in America. ILocatted on

or near the sites of previous fortifications, the new Fort

Adams was a "class A" work, a designation reserved for the

defenses of key cities. It formed one of the m~ost important

links in the national chain of defense--a system which also

included the navy and an extensive projected system of

interior communication.

As specified by the board, the general objective

of this fort, as others along the coast, was to prohibit

the entry of enemy ships into the bay and thereby:

(1) provide a safe refuge for United States vessels, (2)

deprive an enemy of an advantageous position where he might

establish a base, if it were unoccupied, (3) protect the

settlements around the bay from sea attack, and (4) prevent

blockade at the entrance.

Nature provided a key to the defense of the bay at

the East Pa~ssage which was formed by the western extremity

of The Neck and by Conanicut Island. This was the only

access from the sea for large vessels. From the eastern

shore, the inlet could be commanded with artillery. Moreover,

the site which was finally selected was isolated at the end

of the extension of land forming Brenton Cove, thereby

facilitating land defense by restricting the number of

approaches an enemy right use. The engineers' respect for

fortification by nature actually resulted in sacrificing a

better location for sea defense farther southwest, where the

inlet was evidently the most restricted, in favor of the

isolated site at the tip of the projection. This was also

an economical measure since it reduced the number of massive

fronts necessary to defend against a siege.

Under the leadership of the experienced expert Prench

engineer, Simon Bernard (1779-1839)--who had been officially

appointed by the United States to consult upon fortifications

upon Lafayette's recommendation--the Board of Engineers

prepared plans for a granite and brick work which, like all

early nineteenth-century American forts, incorporated principles

of the French School of fortification. Thus, the design was

based upon theories which had been tested and improved

throughout several centuries of European warfare.

In providing for the above general objectives, the

specific functions giving form to the fortifications were

basically twofold: (1) close the harbor to enemy ships, and

(2) defend against a land attack whereby an enemy might

systematically besiege and capture the fort. The fulfillment

of these functions required two distinct types of fortification:

one based upon sea defense, the other upon land defense--all

other aspects of design were subservient to one or the other

of these. Sea defense required simply a concentration of

cannons in three tiers overlooking the East Passage; since

it was not believed that ships could return accurate

devastating fire, no protective outworks were needed. Land

dlef ense hovrever, was more c omplicate~ ::, n:e cssitating numerous

masses to resist an art of siege that, as early as the

eigh:;eenth century, was already superior to defense. If

given time and resources, it was certain that any well-

conducted siege would eventually succeed after the walls of

the fortifications had been hammered continuously with cannon

fire from entrenched positions, hence. the works for defense

were extensive and complex, in this case, requiring exterior

fronts to isolate the enceinte.

The concept of form for the exterior fronts--the

system~ of bastions, curtains, etc., which were separated by

the interior ditch from the enceinte--conforms essentially

to the theory of the "first system~" of fortification of

Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1632-1707), the brilliant

military engineer of King Louis XIV. Bernard, of course,

had been thoroughly educated in the use of this system at

the Ecole polytechnique and, for a period, it formed the

basis for academic work on permanent fortifications at the

United States M~ilitary Academy. However, it should be noted

thnat Fort Adamns is the only American work incorporating the

tenailles, which were a part of this system, for the protection

of the curtains on the exterior fronts from cannon fire.

The overall form of the fort resulted from adapting

the estimated requirements for artillery and their

enclosures to existing land forms. Within this context,

the form of the individual components w~as designed to

fulfill the most essentail conditions for securing defensive

strength: (1) the south approach was defended by the use

of fortifications conceived to be sufficiently strong to

resist an open assault; (2) the fort was planned so that every

point exterior to the defenses within range was thoroughly

swept by cannon fire; (3) communication for the movement of

troops was secure and easy within the defensive works and to

the exterior; and (4) the fort was provided with bombproof

shelters (casemates) in suitable locations to protect the

troops, armament, provisions, and munitions. Each of these

casemnates along the sea front curtains was designed to

contain two cannons, an uncommon feature in Amnerican

fortifications--in most other forts, only one was housed in

each enclosure.

The complete fortifications of Fort Adams consisted

not only of the enceinte and its ouivorks, but also included

a redoubt located on an eminence to the south. This work

contained two deep concentric ditches, flanked by counter-

scarp galleries, and was designed to force a besieger

approaching by land to commence his operations as far south

of the main works as possible. Before the main fortifications

could be attacked, the redoubt would have to be taken.

Also, by occupying this position, it would theoretically

deny an enemy a height from which he could, with advantage

for his siege cannons, look down upon the enceinte. Between

this redoubt and the main works, a gallery provided

c ormi~uni cati on.

Commenced in 1824 and essentially completed by

mid-century, Fort Adams was one of the largest forts in the

permanent system of defense. The entire fort covered twenty-one

and a half acres, while the parade face wall enclosed about

six: and a quarter acres. Although Port Monroe, Virginia,

covers considerable more area, it should be noted that the

magnitude is appropriately measured not by area but by

the size of garrison, length of perimeter, and strength of

artillery. Both Fort Adams and Fort Hlonroe were designed

for wrartime garrisons of over 2400 men. The former had a

perimeter of 1,739 yards while the latter had 2,304. Adams

was designed to mount 468 cannons, Mlonroe, 380. Another

com;7parable, but smaller, work in the permanent systecr, Fort

Jefferson--now a National Park Service monument--was designed

to amount 450 cannons and had a garrison of 1500.

Fort Adams w~as conceived to defend against wind-

driven vessels carrying small smooth-bore cannons. With

the development of powerful rifled cannons and steam-

powered warships with shallow draft during the Civil War,

the fortifications became obsolete. Thereafter, the story

of the fort was one of adaption. Casemates which could not

withstand the impact of new types of missiles and which were

too small for the new artillery were modified for passive

military use, such as quarters, lumber storage, shops,

boiler rooms, etc. New buildings rose outside the north

and east cur-tains. Later, other new works surmounted the

old ramparts on the southerly fronts of the encein-te.

At the end of the century, new works for active

defense were erected in the vicinity of Fort Adamis. Like

those set up elsewhere along the coast, these were comprised

of heavy artillery and massive reinforced concrete protective

walls and enclosures. However, unlike most other seacoast forts,

where they were incorporated into the early nineteenth-

century works, thereby destroying vast sections of early

fortifications, at Fort Adams these were constructed south of

original granite, brick, and earth works. Thus,it is

fortunate that most of the original structure remains intact,

an unusual and significant feature for a class A work.



'V 0 K

Although the vandalism and misuse which is apparent

in the present condition of the works present a scene of

devastation, Fort Adams has the potential to become the

finest military restoration on the continent. One of the

most important works in the national system of defense, it

was also one of the most interesting in form. If it can be

restored with integrity and if every aspect can be interpreted

accurately, it has the promise of providing each visitor

many hours of fascinating educational experience, from

architectural, cultural, military, and historical points

of view. However, before proceeding, other restorations

should. be studied and. all available archives : ui~l& L..

investigated. The study of existing restorations, such as

Fort Pulaski and Fort Jefferson, both of which are now

National Park Service monuments, as well as the Canadian

works at Louisbourg and Halifax may prove beneficial in

avoiding pitfalls when developing the total prograw~.

The various archives should be searched for materials

relating to the history and development of the present

fortifications, as well as others which preceded and followed.

Previous experiences in the field of restoration have proven

that early painstaking investigation minimizes errors,

reducing the necessity of expensive correction in future

years. Among the depositories which are known to contain

material relating to the defense of Narragansett Bay are:

John Carter Brown Library, Providence, Rhode Island

Clemnents Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan

National Archives, Washington, D. C.

In addition, the following should be searched:

British Museumn, London

Archives Nationales, Paris

Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa

Library of Congress, Yashington, D. C.

The most extensive holdings, of course, are in the National

Archives. The Old Armiy Branch contains innumerable

documents pertaining to the construction and administration

of Port Aidams. Although they are voluminous, they should

be reproduced on microfilm. Included among the groups of

textual records pertaining specifically to Fort Adams, all

in Record Group 77, Office of the Chief of Engineers, are

the following:

"Letters, Reports, and Other Records Relating to

Fortifications," 1810-69. Entry 219.

"Reports on Fortifications and Topological Serveys,"

Jan. 1816--Oct. 1823. Entry 222.

"Plans of Army Forts in the United States,"

1904-10. Entry 413.

"Sketches of Tools, Equipment, and Hardware used at

The Forts in Narragansett Bay," ca. 1896-1909. Entry 650.

"Press Copies of Letters Sent from~ Port Adams, R. I.,"

Apr.--Sept., 1898. Entry 654.

"Correspondence Relating to Engineer Projects begun

under the Jurisdiction of the Newport Office...,'1830-74.

Section on Fort Adams. Entry 656.

"Correspondence Relating to Ports," 1907-22.

Section on Narragansett Bay Area. Entry 711.

"Annual Reports on Fortifications," 1923-28. Entry 721.

"Correspondence from the Newport, R. I. Engineer

Office Relating to Projects in Rhode Island," 1853-74.

Entry 793.

Other documents may be found in miscellaneous groups of

records, under other headings, and may be located with the

assistance of an archivist.

In addition, a collection of graphical material

should be commenced. Pull-size photostats of all drawings

which are discovered, particularly those in the National

Archives, should be obtained. Also, copies of photographs in

the Still Pictures Branch, which include at least one comp-lete

album, should be collected. Historical photos from other

sources must be obtained as they are located--a good photo

file will be useful in developing a program for pageantry,

in the restoration program, and will be useful to writers

of articles on the fort.

Within a year a historian should be appointed to travel

to Washington and devote one or two weeks to a search for

manuscript materials in both the National Archives and the

Library of Congress. Reproductions should be made of all

pertinent documents which are found.

Since most of the discoveries will be related to previous

fortifications, other archival collections can be searched

later. To investigate foreign archives, consideration

should be given to the possibility of finding a scholar who

will be traveling to Europe for a meeting or other purpose.

Perhaps an arrangement could be made whereby this individual

could be hired to do several weeks' work in London and Paris

on Narragansett fortifications.

Both the textual and graphical material should be

deposited in a resource center at the site for use in

restoration and interpretation.

Using all available sources, a complete, thoroughly

documented history of the defenses and garrison should be

written for use in restoration, in public relations, and in

training guides. In this it should be possible to establish

accurately the chronology of operations in construction and

when modifications were made. Since they may add interest,

a description of the difficulties encountered in construction

also should be included. This comprehensive history could be

written advantageously by the historian who works in the archives.

Then, a concise interpretive history should be


prepared for public distribution. It should survey the

physical history of the fort and explain the form of the

various architectural works. The section on architecture,

in which the various parts of the fort should be identified

with correct terminology, should be written by an architectural

historian qualified in the history of coastal fortifications.

For instance, the survey might include an explanation of

casemate and gallery venting, uses of different types of

embrasures, and the theory giving each component its form.

Then, to fully appreciate the function of the exterior

fronts, their countermining galleries, etc.--all of which

can be explored by the visitor--a brief survey of the

systematic type of siege which the fort was designed to defense

should be included. Finally, the interpretation should relate

the role of the fort in the national system of defense--an

aspect that has been overlooked in som~e historical literature

on military work.

There are other areas which should be also

investigated when considering the role of Port Adams in

Amierican archiitecture. Throughout the country, numerous

contributions were made to building technology by various

military engineers. At Fort Adams in 1830 and 1831, Colonel

J. G. Totten, superintendent of construction, conducted

series of experiments on the expansion and contraction of

building stone caused by changes in temperature, and the

effects of these on cements employed to secure the joints of

copings. In fact, Totten evidently studied masonry, particularly


mortar, during most of the period he resided in Newport.

His work, H~ydraulic and Common Mortars, based on his study,

was published by the Franklin Institute and certainly was

ma important contribution to technology which may add to

the significance of the construction of Fort Adams.

In addition to the technological aspect, the

possibility of developing Fort Adams into a center of history

for seacoast fortifications, or a center of New England

military history ought to be considered. Relative to the former,

the possibility of cooperation with and support from the

Smiithsonian Insitute might be investigated.

Archaeological work at Fort Adams can be spread over

many years. There will be two types of work: ( 1) exc avati ons

to reveal pre-nineteenth-century fortifications, and (2)

work to produce artifaicts and information relatives to

construction and the life -of the times at the present fort.

The former should be commenced only after a study of early

maps and the changing waterline reveals approximate locations.

Information on the early coastline might be obtained by

extending a ditch from the scarp of the west front to the

present shore and studying a cross section of the soil.

W~hen the investigation of previous fortifications is completed,

the traces of the various works discov-ered should be marked

to indicate their form; the comparison of the present fort

with previous works would add interest to the park. However,

unless the ground over a suspected location of an~ early work

is threatened by grading or new structures, this cannot be


classed as urgent and need not be done for several decades.

However, some investigations associated with the

present work should commence during this summer or as soon

thereafter as possible. Discoveries' in this area will be

vital to restoration and certainly will influence the

development of the exhibits. It is recommended that, first,

several of the cisterns (not all at this time) be cleaned.

Then, the early latrines should be located and excavated to

discover artifacts--this source should be particularly

productive. Sitesthere the mortar mills were located--one of

which has been lost along with the site of the lime kiln

under housing--should be excavated for artifacts and

information relating to construction. Another area of

potential interest is the site of the temporary wharves.

Future excavations in the parade can take place eventually in

the areas where temporary frame buildings dating from the

1820s and 1830s were situated. In addition to these, other

investigations may be indicated after a study of archival sources.

During the summer of 1972, the interns will be

involved with surface archaeology of the area. All1 artifacts

and materials must be carefully identified and located on a

grid which will be prepared by the survey team. Masonry

materials should be cleaned and neatly stockpiled where

found, if this is obviously the original location. Other

materials should be stored in a secure casemate nearby or

other fireproof location. Millwork and other artifacts must

be labeled with waterproof tags or marks and then systematically


stockpiled. As early as possible all casemates should be

cleaned of debris. It is suggested that all waste material

be used to restore the coverface of tbo northeast bastion,

the trace of which can be established from progress

drawings in the National Archives.



The restoration of Port Adams may be a multi-million-

dollar project and will, therefore, certainly require many

years to realize--as would be expected in a work which

originally required several decades to complete. Regardless of

the rate of progress, the work must be thorough and accurate,

based upon careful research and study. Architectural integrity

should not be sacrificed to .expediency.

As early as possible, a detailed comprehensive (yet

flexible) master plan should be developed. It should be

based upon a strong restoration concept and developed with

respect to potential funding from outside sources as well as

state money and revenue which will be produced by the restoration,

as soon as it can be opened to the public. Included in the

plan should be the sequence of restoration of the various

spaces and forms, as well as their adaptive use, if any.

To obtain the best possible input, representatives of the

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, the Department

of Natural Resources, an archaeologist, a military architectural


historian, and a museum specialist should be among those

who participate in the development of the comprehensive

master plan.

It is suggested that the master plan focus upon

and keep in balance the historical, military, and architectural

points of interest. The historical aspect should feature

chronological development and ways of life; the military

should emphasize the role in national defense; and the

architectural should concedrate on form and technology.

By recreating spaces to illustrate how the soldiers used

them, the visitor will be able to appreciate the spirit of

the times. Pageantry, dioramas, and diagrams can all be

used to relate the military function.

The exploitation of the architectural potential

could increase the depth of interest of the restoration and

a complete development could become a unique and distinguishing

feature of this fort. One of the mortar mills and a lime

kiln could be reconstructed to illustrate the method of

manufacture on the site. Then, in sequence, attention

could shift to the structure. The foundations of several footings

could be excavated to show the technique of supporting

great weight--as has been done at Fort Pulaski, Georgia.

A wooden casemate formwork could be reconstructed in one of

the vaulted chambers to demonstrate how the arches were

turned. Above, the exterior of several casemates could be

exposed to illustrate the method of forming the inclined

planes, to show the lead lining, and drainage systems.


Yet another exhibit could feature the tools used in the

construction of the work.

While it obviously will not be practical to obtain

the 468 cannons of the design strength armament, it would

be desirable to install the complete artillery of one

casemated tier on Sao sea front and a complete land front--

empty casemates fail to communicate the character of an active

defense function. In association with this, a reconstructed

hotshot furnace, located near itsrtoriginal location in the

northwest bastion, would add interest. Perhaps it even could

be Fired on special occasions.

Other casemates might be restored to illustrate

adaptive use before and after the fort became obsolete.

A section featuring the period when the United..Staites

Naval Academy was stationed at Port Adams would seem


Eventually, the fort should be open for self-guided

tours--since it could affect the sequence of restoration, the

route should be developed in the master plan (a suggested

line of travel is included in this report). Using an

interpretive brochure, a visitor should be able to proceed

at a leisurely pace through the works according to clear

categories of function--that is, he should be-able to examine

all the exhibits associated with sea defense, then to proceed

to those for land defense, and finally visit the facilities

necessary for the maintenance of the garrison (however, not

particularly in the preceding order). The movement through



WBR 6-12*72.


~Y~-II~ V








WBR 6*10-72








spaces and controlled vistas should be carefully planned

to dramatize and self explain the functions of the various

comiponlen-ts. Walks along the terrepleins (or levels where

they were formerly located, since none remain) provide

interesting andl dynamic vistas of the objectives of defense,

which increase the comprehension of the fort. Views through

the curtain embrasures toward the sea, through flank embra~sures

along the curtains and faces of the adjacent bastions, and

from behind parapets across land approaches to be drefendled

all inspire a feeling for the purpose of the various wo-rks.

The concept for all of this should be developed with respect

to the progressive opening of the various sections of the


Since a particular kind of warfare was the form-

giver to Port Adams, visitors' experiences should be

enriched if this forms the focal point for the restoration;

the form can be clearly and rather interestingly explained

in the context of the weapons and methods of attack of the

early nineteenth century. The graphic manner in which form

fulfilled function must always be one of the inspirations

of Fort Adams.

As a general approach to the restoration program,

the following broad sequence is recommended:

1. Stabilization of existing works. Recommended

priorities follow in this report at the end of this


2. Install utilities. All electrical work should

be placed underground.

3. Restore the redoubt-jail, for use as a visitors'

information center, temporary offices and resource

center. The estimated cost, contingent upon the

extent of the required renovations ihay be about

815,000. Included in this phase should be the

construction of a detailed scale model of Fort Adams

and its redoubt. This will be essential to visitors

if they are to comprehend form and scope of the works.

4. Adapt stables for restrooms, refreshment center,

bookstore, small temporary auditorium for a movie

on Fort Adams, and for other public functions.

5. Restore the exterior fronts, complete with their

casemates and galleries. Most of the interior spaces

are in good condition but need cleaning and must be

lighted. The ditch between the scarp and countersearp

of the exterior front, recently used for coal stockpiles,

should be excavated to its original level and the

caponniers renovated. At this timre, the cunettes

(drainage ditches) should be restored for both

practical and historical purposes. The excavated

material could be deposited in the coverface restoration,

which eventually should be covered with loam and seeded.

6. Develop public service facilities in the enceinte.

7. Restore the north section of the east front casemnates

(officers' quarters). All openings, fi.re~l~aces, etc.

should be renovated and the !nost opulent apartments


furnished to show their appearance when the fort

was first garrisoned. These were certainly among

the finest to be found in A\merican military workr.

8. Modify the casemates in the south interior and east

fronts for use by supporting organizations and museums

(this should be done as interest is developed by

various groups). Incidentally, one of the exhibits

might feature Fort Adams as the subject of the artist.

9. Prepare the architectural exhibits relating to the

construction of the fort.

10. Restore a sea casemated tier and a land front with

artillery to illustrate the active defense use--

the function which gave form to the fort. The

powder magazine and bombproofs on the terreplein of

the exterior fronts should also be restored in this

phase. Also,restore the barracks of an interior front.

In all adaptive work, care should be exercised to insure

installations and uses which are in character with the original


Throughout the duration of the work, offices can

developed within the enceinte as needed. The warehouse can

be used as shops and storage.

As early as possible, a full-time director, responsible

to the Port Adams Committee, with headquarters in the redoubt-

jail, should be appointed to coordinate research, restoration,

curatorial work, public relations, and applications for grants.

As the project develops, there may be a, need for an individual

to direct each of these areas. Planning for the first

exhibits should be commenced as soon as the director is


It; is suggested that the director employ andi direct

thle craftsmen who will do the restoration, rather than

contralcting the work. This should be miorer ecconoical andl

the re~sults should be better, since cer-tain operatiol- ns may

re ,uire som~e special training. Moreover, th;e work can be

cl.osely controlled with th~ist arrany~ ~rn-t.

.Since3 it is believed that the original design concept

of the fort is sufficiently exciting to formi the focus of the

restoration, the brick barricks of 1906 should not rank high

in priority of restoration. If it is desired to illustrate

the evolution of the fort, these may be stabilized and retained

in part. However, much of the ironwork has deteriorated into

aLn unsafe condition and should be removed. It is suggested,

therefore, that only a relatively small section be retainedl.

In areas where parts are removed, the parapet and terreplein

should be restored, preferably in the form of the original


The long-range master plan should include consider on

for the possible acquisition of the redoubt located on the

eminence to the south, as well as the concrete and earth works

along the shore south of Fort Adams. Equally as interesting

as the main fortifications, only on a smaller scale, the

redoubt was an integral part of the early nineteenth-century

fortifications. Today, it is in excellent condition and,


after clearing the grounds and repairing the drawbridges,

could be opened immediately as an exhibit. Dating from

the 1890s, the concrete batteries would add another phase

to the history of military architecture at Narragansett




The following priorities are based, first, upon

safety and, then, upon the urgent need to arrest deterioration.

While it will be apparent that some of these are not

immediately critical, it must be noted that stabilization

of works which are verging upon collapse will, in the long

run, be most economical. In the order of their importance,

the following measures should be taken as soon as possible:

1. Remove all poison ivy from the grounds. Although

this is not presently inhibiting the research and

survey team: in their work, if this is not done,future

work w;ill be difficult, if not impossible, since there

are outer sections of the fort that heavy growth

makes completely inaccessible.

2. Identify prominently all hazardous areas. There are

many places where brick and stone threaten to fall

from~ vaults, arches, lintels, etc. As soon as

possible, the deteriorated structural works must be



3. Remove all organic growth from the walls and all

trees growing near the foundations. Roots threaten

damage to the masonry.

4. Begin a program to rebuild the turf in and around the


5. Renovate immediately all loose sections of the cordon.

Many of these have already collapsed, others threaten.

Over the decades, frost has evidently forced some of the

cordon stones out. If they can be restored early, the

expense of lifting them from the ditches will be savedL

and a hazard eliminated. In the future, the cordons

should probably be uncovered entirely and a resilient

expansion cushion installed at the back to relieve

some of the outward pressure caused by frost.

6.Secure the granite lintels on the west and north

fronts where collapse is imminent. Along the parade

face of the northwest bastion, stone lintels at the

edge of the second tier gallery are precarious; along

the flank, several have already fallen. All of the

stone lintels supporting this gallery (balcony) must

be carefully inspected for fractures. At least one

is broken and should be shored.

7. Treat all unpainted structural wood with preservative

to inhibit rot and to retard fire. This includes the

columns, beams, and plank flooring on the west front.

The areas already damaged by fire should be sealed off

because of insta~bility. Ultimately, this burned area


may be restored but this would not appear urgent.

The structural work, with its beaded edges, supporting

the second tier on the west sea front Is a th!ini of

beauty and should be cared for.

8. Point up all exterior masonry; particularly urgent

is the parapet along the west front, In places along

the curtain and the left face and flank of the

northwest bastion the top course of granite has

loosened and moved out appreciably. The joint from

which the flashing has been removed also needs

attention. All stairs should also be inspected.

The stair in the northeast bastion, right flank,

needs repair and stabilization.

9. Point up interior masonry. 'The gates and posterns,

particularly the one on the east, should receive

priority. At this time, repair the stucco on the

parade-face ends of the casemate vaults.

10. To minimize the possibility of further loss, a system

of fire extinguishers, or other fire protection, should

be installed.

Most of the above items for stabilization should be completed

before restoration of the spaces proceeds. The following are

important but can proceed along with other work.

11. Clean the paint, etc. from the faces of the granite.

12. Renovate cobblestone paying, flagging, and brick

paying, inside and out.

13. Waterproof the casemate vaults on the exterior. Water


percolating through the masonry is dissolving the

lim~e in the mortar (as can be appreciated by

observing the calcium deposits on the interior

masonry). In many places, the erosion of joints

has penetrated deeply--further deterioration should

be prevented. It would be desirable to restore at

least the terreplein of the west front and part of

the south interior fronts, at which time the casemates

could be waterproofed. The method of sealing these

should receive careful study.

14. Renovate arches and vaults which have partially or

wholly collapsed.


The priorities of the research and survey project

must develop according to restoration urgency and, at the

same time, conform to the best Historic American Buildings

Survey practice. In connection with the former requirement,

the first goal of the team should be the preparation of an

overall map of the fort with a grid superimposed and

coordinated for use by the intern program in identifying

the locations of artifacts. This can be done by using

progress drawings from the National Archives, which should

be quite accurate. This drawing need not become a part of

KA~BS records, although it should be done on the standard

sheets for uniformity and in case it should be later decided

to include it. All artifacts found outside the roofed spaces

should be located on the grid and labeled accordingly. Those

found in the interior spaces should be identified with

another system which is more finite. The identity of these

interiors should be based on the structural geometry of the

work--thus each casemate and each tunnel should receive a

separate designation. In the long run, the advantages of

this will become apparent; through restoration some of the

spaces may change, but the structure will not. If there are

numerous divisions within a structural bay, as in the officers'

quarters, secondary designations should be assigned.

Another overall map of the fort, which should become

a part of the KrABS record, should be prepared to identify

with correct nomenclature the various components of the

works. This should be a simple line drawing showing only

the trace of the various fortifications. Prints of this

drawing should be sent to all agencies having an active

role in the development of Por-t Adams S-tate Park~.

Next in priority for the research~ and survey project

should be the recording of the redoubt-jail, since it will

probably be the first work to be completely restored for

active use. Comparison of the existing structure with

nineteenth-century drawings show the modifications and

additions that have been made since the date of original

construction, all of w~hichi will be indicated on the HAiB5

dr awings .

Following this, the stables and warehouse should be

recorded, as these also will also play a role in the early

development of the restoration program.

Located in the east front, the officers' quarters

are next in importance, since they will follow in the

sequence of restoration--with these drawings completed,


planning can commence for the use of this area, which will

evidently be the first to be opened within the enceinte of

the fort. The spaces in the casemates along this front are

numerous and the detail is variable, hence a substantial

block~ of time will be required to complete mleasurementss and

drawings. After these spaces are measured and numbered--

according to the archaeological diagramn previously prepared--

typical profiles such as holdings, window anid door jambs,

heads, and sills should be recorded. Details of shutters,

transoms, and fireplaces (where sufficient evidence remains

for recording) should also be included. Then, after giving

each profile and detail a reference key, the finish and

decoration of each space can be identified on a schedule,

which Will also be useful in planning and realizing


Next in priority should by the 1906 brick barracks.

Although these will not be restored, deterioration is

occurring rapidly and they should be recorded before they might

bc lost. Significant aspects include the facade, with its

pilasters and ornamental brickwork, stamped metal ceilings,

and iron stairs.

At the time the team is recording buildings with

drawings, continuing research on the history of the present

P'ort Adams and previous works at the East Passage mnay be

pursued by the supervisor. The possibility of allowing

one of thle studen-ts to participa-te occcasionally in this


phase of the program may be considered by the supervisor.

The above represent realizable and important goals

for the 1972 project. The following summer, the bastions

and curtains on the west, north and south fronts as well as

the exterior fronts and their adjunct works can be recorded.

Consideration should also be given to recording the redoubt

located. to the south, in Brenton Village.



Before the countermining galleries are opened to the

public, several precautions need to be taken in the interest

of safety. Both artificial lighting and mechanical

ventilation will be required, with care taken to make these

as unobtrusive as possible. The conduit for lighting may

be easily installed under the earth floors of the galleries.

At convenient locations, fixtures furnishing indirect light

can be installed on the valls, just below the spring line

of the vaults. It is suggested that this would be visually less

obtrusive than a conduit running continuously down the crown

of the vault and this type of light would be less harsh than

tha~t fromr overhead. Also, headroom is low and this would

preserve what there is.

Frost treatises on military architecture recommended

that the listening galleries not exceed forty-five yards

in length, without venting, because of retardation of

respiration. At Fort Adams, several of these galleries

exceed this length and are imperfectly vented. In addition,

these galleries were intended to be occupied by only

several men; heavy public use will increase the problem

of ventilation. Therefore, to reduce the possibility of

injury to those with marginal health conditions, it is

recommended that all the tunnels which will be opened to

the public be supplied mechanically with fresh air. At

points along the galleries, air can be forced in by fans,

which should be located in concealed positions in th~e

overhead ditches. Air should be exhausted out the entrances

to the tunnels.- The countersearp gallery is accessible

only from the reverse fire gallery---the access tunnnel runs

under the exterior ditch. Since this access tunnel is over

250 feet long, it will also require forced ventilation.

In addition to making respiration easier, mechanical

ventilation should also help decrease thie dampnosL7s o-F

all the galleries.

WBR 6-9-72















& OF








WBR 6-IO*72

1906. BARAC
















-Prepared by

Willard b. Robinson


June, 1973









Contained within this report are recommendations

for the 1973 and 1974 development of Fort Adams. These

recommendations are presented in greater detail than in

my 1972 report and, in general, concentrate primarily on
areas of work projected for the immediate future. For

the overall viewpoint, I should like to refer to the

earlier study--the current report is intended to expand

and update sections of the first work, not supersede them.


1 97 4

Years after the sounds of the mason's trowel were to

longer heard at Fort Adams, an eminent military engineer,
John B~arnard, eulogized the late Joseph G. Totten who frd

a decade had supervised construction on the fort and then

had been promoted to Chief of the United States Army

Engineers. While noting that Fort Adams was a monument to

Totten's genius as an engineer, Barnard wrote that the design

of the fort had "...called for the application of most of

those rules of the art and many of those special arrange-

ments which form the themes or treatises upon 'fortification',...

On the significance of the monumental work, he then concluded:

"In these respects, it has no parallel with uis.," thereby

attesting to the importance and unioueness of this work--no

fort in North America is more complex and no work possesses

more architectural interest.

These aspects, as noted in my 1972 report, contribute

to providing Fort Adams with the potential to become the

finest military restoration on the continent. Although

drastically in need of stabilization, the structure is

basically sound and, unlike many American forts of the

early nineteenth century era, most of the components of
the original concept are fortunately yet intact. But
the full potential of the fort can only be realized if
restoration is based upon sound and thorough research

and is done with the highest standards of historical

integrity. That work which is accomplished in stages over

the years should always be done well, without sacrifice to
Late in 1973 or early in 1976, work should cormmence

on further site improvlembat, restoration, and stabii~stion

programs, giving top priority to those sectionswhich first
will be opened to the public. Particularly urgent, of

course, is public safety. In the areas scheduled for 1974

opening, there are numerous hazards, ranging from litter
to falling masonry. To assure safety and attractive

appearance, considerable renovation, cleaning,and grading
must be done. Both the interior and exterior ditches must

be~ cleaned from coal, broken metal, wire, etc., and grubbed.
As the outworks of any fort were always maintained completely

free of any obstructions which might conceal an enemy, this

is essential to the historical integrity of the work. But,

in addition, this will facilitate maintenance.

Also important to the historical setting is the
reestablishment of the original levels of the ditches and

the restoration of the earth parapets of the caponniers.

After excavating the ditches to their former levels, the

original drainage systems should be restored--bowveer,

before any grading commences, all of the fallen cordon

stones should be located, identified, and removed until

they can be restored to their proper positions. This

spring, after the project archaeologists establish the

historical levels, it will be possible to accurately
estimate the volume of material to be moved and then

contract the work. The debris and excavated material can

be used for partial restoration of the coverface near the

right flank of the northeast bastion.

As it is out of historical context, the asphaltic

paying on the interior ditch should be removed with the
ditch restoration. After visitors establish the natural

routes of foot traffic, sand and gravel paths should be

To render the west sections of the exterior ditch

accessible to restoration operations, it may be necessary

to fill the east caponnier. If this is done, it would be

desirable to record the present profile and to fill with

contrasting material such as the coal which covers the

ground nearby. This will facilitate restoration of the

profile,which should be done as soon as work is finished
in the western section of the ditch.

As a part of the cleaning operations, there are several

items which should be removed and placed in storage.

The iron stairs attached to the ditch side of the interior

fronts should be detached and saved. In addition, the
stone grinding wheels and the heart now located in the

exterior ditch should be stored.

Also included as a part of the restoration of the

outworks should be the cleaning and renovation of the

tunnels, galleries, casemates, and magazines of the bkbOerior

fronts. This includes cleaning and draining the tunnels

extending under the southeast postern from the interior

ditch. However, as it furnishes access to the interior

of the enceinte, the tunnel under the ditch should be

temporarily blocked.
The floors of the casemates in the south bastion and

in the flank of the vest bastion of the exterior fronts

also should be drained and cleaned. Since seepage is

deteriorating the masonry as well as contributing to the

wetness of the floors, the earth should be removed from

atop the vaults, waterproofing applied, and the earth
It will probably be necessary to install light fixtures

in the dark tunnels, galleries, and magazines. Rowveer, a

part of the mystery and fascination of these interior spaces
is to experience them as the soldiers saw them., Until the

conduit and fixtures can be installed, it is recommended that

visitors be allowed to enter,if equipped with flashlights

(vbich might be rented at the visitors center).

Safety also necessitates work on the ramps and ramparts

of the exterior fronts. The granite blocking courses

(curbs) on the four ramps should be stabfiied or

repositioned where they are out of line. On the terreplein

and ramparts, all of the vents which rise from the casemates

and magazines should be found and fenced--every casemate

was vented in some manner.

Coincident with this phase of development of the

outworks should be reconstruction of missing features.

Stairs to the tenaille flank casemates should be fabricated;

the doors and hardware which are now missing should be

reconstructed; and the wooden floors to .the powder magazines

should be reinstalled. Archival documents will furnish

the designs for the various details.

After work is completed on the interiors of the outworks,

the ditches should be resodded. According to reports, salt

marsh was the original sodding, A type of grass which is

similar in color and texture should be used in the restoration--

even the smallest detail of authenticity is of utmost

importance to the integrity of the work.

As soon as the exterior fronts are opened to the public,

grounds maintenance should be extended to moving the grass

on the terreplein, ramparts, and covered ways.

Outside the enceinte on the north and west, it may

be necessary to do some grading to facilitate maintenance.

This should not disturb the historical potential of the

site. However, before grading commences, it would be
desirable to cheek a cross section of the soil for

possible remains of early works.
As a part of the early phases of restoration, it is

fervently urged that an apartment be provided for a Full-

time caretaker. Without constant supervision, vandalisrm

is certain to continue, hence this must be a top priority

project. Even while this report was in progress additional

wanton damage occurred at the fort. Although the gates

were looked, manry unofficial visitors were observed and

damage to the new steel gate on the west front occurred.


1 97 4

Early stabilization will provide long-term economy.
Each year witnesses further deterioration, necessitating

additional expenditures in future years to repair the
massive works.

History furnishes background for the operations which

are currently urgent. Early reports on the forts dispersed

along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts contained

many references to the repointing of the masonry in the

scayps and countersearps, as well as efforts to waterproof
casemate vaults. During the first years of construction on

Fort Adams, lime mortar was employed. Later, based on

knowledge obtained from tests, the quality of the mortar

was improved with the use of "hydraulic lime". Over the

years, as a result of this development, the early construction

has probably required the most maintenance, but 811

of thie masonry occasionally has needed repointing and repair,

Today, after many years of neglect, these operations are

To prevent further deterioration from organic growth,

which separates the masonry, and from moisture, which

damages the masonry when it freezes, the exterior of the
entire fort should be repointed. At places where the mortar

has been eroded by the elements, the joints should be

picked and cleaned from earth, moss, and decayed mortar.

The stones should then be damped, the interstices filled

with mortar, and the jointstooled to match the original

technique. Although a Portland cement, lime, and sand

mixture should approximate the original mortar, a premixed

mortar would be acceptable. If any variation in color

results between the new mortar and the original, mortar

coloring should be added to match the historic material.

Commensurate with the repointing should be the

restoration of sections of the cordon which already have

fallen or threaten to fall. Public safety absolutely

requires this. In fact, areas adjacent to the searp near
the salient of the east demi-bastion and near the left face

of the south bastion of the exterior front should be roped

off at this time because of overhead danger. The restoration

of the cordon also should include installation of lead

flashing similar to the original method.

Repointing and cordon restoration should commence on
the areas vbich will first be opened to the public and

should move section by section around the entire work. As

repointing progresses, the stucco faces of the brick arches

should be patched to prevent further spelling. Based

upon public use and the present stage of deterioration, the

following priorities are recommended for repointing and

cordon restoration:

1. East demi-bastion of the enceinte and east

demi-bastion of the exterior fronts (these scarps

were among the first sections of masonry to be

set up).

2. Interior faces of the tenailles. At the time this

work is done, the stairs of the tenailles also

should be repaired.

3. ountersearp of the exterior fronts. h eann

walls of the parapets on the reentering places of

arms, as well as the stairs and ramp, should be

repaired at the time the countersearp is repointed.
Stones which have fallen should be reinstalled or

replaced--further collapse of several sections of

masonry is imminent in the near future unless repairs

are made. This phase of work should include the

reconstruction of the "pas de souris".

4.Searp of the faces and flanks of the bastions of

the exterior fronts, curtains of the exterior fronts,

remaining sections of the tenailles.

6.Countersearp of the interior front. Particularly

in need of attention is the face of the arch on

the southeast postern of the exterior front.

6. Also urgent is the repointing of thp interior

face of the parapet on the upper tier of the sea

fronts. Then the top of this parapet should be

waterproofed with silicone.

7. North front of the enceinte.

8. East front of the enceinte.

9. Repair stairways. Especially urgent is the repair

of the stair in the northeast bastion.

10. Parade face of the enceinte.

11. Repair chimneys over the officers' quarters. The

flues should be opened and then temporarily capped.

It will be desirable to restore the use of the

fireplaces in the officers' quarters.

The above work may be undertaken on a single or multiple

contracts. If awarded in multiples, the individual numbered

priorities may comprise separate contracts. If financing is

limited, the repointing of the scarp and parade face of

the enceinte, with the exception of the left face of the

southeast demi-bastion, could be delayed for several years.

However, all growth on these walls should be destroyed as

soon as possible.

Following stabilization of the exteriors, work should

commence on repointing the soffits of the casemate vaults.

Although they could proceed immediately in the dry areas,

operations should await restoration of the terreplein in

those places where seepage has damaged the masonry.

Throughout the history of the development of the

permanent forts in the coastal system of defense, casemate
waterproofing ranked among the most difficult problems.

At Fort Adams, the earliest reports indicated that lead

linings were installed over the casemate roofs. Circa

1840 the waterproofing technique was changed to the use

of asphalt. However, it appears that some of the casemates

may not have been waterproofed.

In numerous vaults, water seepage is eroding the mortar,

requiring stabilization and repair. Before complete

renovation of all the interiors of the casemates, however,

it will be necessary to waterproof and restore the terreplein

overhead'. Particularly urgent are repairs and repointing in

the northeast bastion and the southeast demi-bastion. On

these structures, the surface is concrete which is badly

fractured, allowing water to penetrate. As early as Dossible,

these areas should be waterproofed, but it should be done

as a part of the preparation of this level for public use.

Also in need of attention are the casemate vaults of the

eastern section of the southeast interior front, which were

exposed by the 1947 fire in the barracks overhead. Preliminary

examination of the vault roofs has failed to indicate any

waterproofing. As in the Bastions, wJater is percolating

through the masonry, resulting in vet interiors and erosion

of the mortar. These exposed casemate vaults should be

cleaned and waterproofed, and the terreplein either restored

or developed into exhibits.

Since the removal of debris from these casemate vaults

will leave them completely exposed, there will be good

potential for the development of architectural exhibits.
One display could show the external form of the vaults and

roofs. A second could show the method of application of

lead and asphaltic waterproofing, and a third could

demonstrate the method of forming the terreplein and the

banquette, both of which were a part of the original work
at this location.

From various points along the top tier of the east front

are vistas which help explain the functions of the various

elements of the fort and w"ich provide dramatic views of

Newport. Consequently, this area should be prepared for

public use. Located above the officers' quarters, the

terreplein should waterproofed with an impervious layer

or membrane, then paved with bricks, the historic surface.

However, before this work on the east front is completed,

careful study should be made to determine the condition of

the waterproofing of the sections of the vaults which are

directly below the earth ramparts. Seepage does not appear

to be a problem at this time, but it could develop. If

repairs will be needed, they should be made during the

terreplein restoration.

Inspection reveals that the casemates of the north and

west fronts are mostly dry. The built up roofing over these

ZI w
I, ZT,





sections appears to be in fair condition, hence with the

exception of minor repairs, little needs to be done at this

Following the restoration of the terrepleins, repairs

and repointing should be completed on the vaults in the

bastions of the east front. ELarly action is required since

bricks and stones are continually falling from the wet

vaults. Work should begin in the southeast bastion, where

deterioration is greatest, then proceed to other sections.

Before opening the parade to the public, repairs must

be made 6n the structural work of the continuous balcony

along the sea fronts. Growth must be removed, loose lintels

stabilized, and fallen lintels reinstalled. The several

broken lintels, along with the broken flagging of the overhead

floor, should be shored with brick columns supported on

concrete footings. This work is high in priority and should

be done at the time the exterior masonry is repointed. To

complete this section of the work, a protective railing

should be installed along the balcony.

One other area needs attention immediately. The ceiling

rosettes in the officers' quarters should be checked for

stability. At least one appears in danger 7f falling and

should be supported until restoration can begin.

As a part of the stabilization program, a log of notations

and photographs should be maintained on the condition of the

fort. Points where deterioration begins should be

recorded as they develop.

To complete the preparation of the parade for public

use, the unstable section of the brick barracks, all the unstable
iron stairs and balconies should be removed.

In all the contracts for stabilization and restoration,

specifications should call for the work to be done according

to the highest standards of historic restoration. The express

intent of all work should be to restore the fort to its

original first-class condition. The acceptable standards

of workmanship should coual the best extant work at the

fort. If questions arise concerning any detail, either

archival documents or other similar conditions at the

fort should be used as directives --there should be no

arbitrary decisions.



To justify the fu~ll development of the restoration

potential, it is mandatory that the many possible uses

of Fort Adams be fully exploited and that its capacity

for educational as well as recreational development be

fully realized. However, while active public use is

important, care should be exercised to allow only those

activities wh ch are appropriate for the historical setting.

functions requiring permanent installations, such as seating,

stages, and obrusive artificial lights, any of which would

detract from the historical character of the fort, absolutely

should be prohibited. Groups which are to be encouraged to

use the fort for mass meetings and activities should be only

those qualified by cultural, patriotic, or educational motives,

who can adapt to the historical setting without interfering

with or changing it.

To develop appreciation and stimulate public interest in

the development of Fort Adams, it is imperative that an

interpretive program be commenced as soon as the fort is


opened to the public. Those sections of the fortifications

which will be open should be explained to visitors--wh~ile

the magnitude and craftsmanship alone are impressive, the

works become infinitely more fascinating when the functions

and forms of the various components are illuminated in the

context of the period of military architecture which they

represent. Therefore, it is recommended that a visitors'

center be developed as a part of the 1974 program. Within

the center should be a scale model of the entire fort

complex, including the south redoubt and the turn-of-the-

century fortifications. This would help orient the visitor

and provide an appreciation of the overall scale and complexity

of the works. To insure permanence, this model should be

constructed according to rigid specifications on materials

and workmanship. As soon as the visitors' center is

completed, either a full-time director or coordinator

should be. appointed to administer the programs involving

the fort.

At the visitors' center, an interpretive brochure providing

a history of the fort, and the background on the theory of

design of the various elements of fortification should be

made available for optional purchase or loan. By numbering

various positions and keying these to explanations~in the

brochure, the visitor would be able to understand the

significance of the various features. At first the printed

matter could be relatively simple, then later revised in


stages to correspond wr~ith the development of the restoration.
Although development must await restoration and

waterproofing of the terreplein over the officers'

quarters, it is not too early to begin planning for the
various exhibits which may be included--these would be in

addition to a preliminary display in the visitors' orientation

center. It now appears appropriate to expand the preliminary

ideas on exhibits contained in the 1972 report. As a point

of departure for planning, the following categories of

exhibits are suggested:

1. TheqrV Rt military architecture. The display

should focus upon the French school of R~enaissance

fortification, the theory embodied in Fort Adams. The

origination of the form of the fort might be diagramed

and compared with F~rench prototypes--as is done with civil

architecture in colonial WLilliamsburg. Material relating

to Simon Bernard, the French military engineer who developed

the concept for the fort should also be included in this

section. All of this would tell Eki ~the fort was built.

2. Fort_ Adams AA a center of history for seacoast

defenses. Since Fort Adams was a headquarters for the

Corps of Engineers, it would be appropriate to tell the

story of the national system of defense there. The fort was

a most important link in a chain of defenses which extended

along the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico Coast, and

then finally reached the Pacific. Illustrations of other


selected forts could be included, such as: Fort Warren,

George's Island, Massachusetts; Fort ~i~chmond and Fort
Hamilton, the Narrows, New York; Fort Monroe, Old Point

Comfort, Virginia; and r'ort Morgan, Mobile Point, Alabama.

The exhibit should also include the story of the projected

internal system of transportation which was an integral

part of national defense. Finally, material on the

superintending engineers of the fort, especially Joseph

G. Totten, should be presented.

3. Consstruction 21 the f221. The monumental aspect

of the fort, its structural strength, the variety of

vaulting techniques used there, and the study of technology
which was conducted during its erection all would form

interesting features for a series of exhibits and would

contribute to the interpretation of its significance.

Perhaps a small section of the foundationscould be exposed

to show their great load-bparing capacity, The method of

turning the vaults could be exhibited by displaying an

example of the type of wooden centering on which the vaults

were turned. The system of fu~rring from the vaults is

likewise interesting. As mentioned in the section of this

report dealing with stabilization, several casemates under
the section of the burned barracks might be developed into

construction exhibits, Consideration also should be given

to the reconstruction of a blacksmith sh~p, mortar mill,

and lime kiln.

The wide variety of types of masonry used at the

fort provides good potential for developing further interest

A geological exhibit of the various kinds of stones and

bricks, and their places of origin would contribute to

the educational value of this section of-the exhibits.

Then, examples of the tools used in the construction of

the fort could be displayed.

4* ea& exhibit. Since the importance of Fort Adams

hinged on the excellent harbor which it defended, and

since the main objective of the fort was national coastal

defense, it would be appropriate to develop an exhibit

which would focus upon the warships it use at the time the

fort was designed. Other phases of the exhibit could show

the evolution of naval vessels, with corresponding changes

in armament.

$*Life at- Akg fort. Several apartments of the

officers' quarters and soldiers' barracks should be restored

as living museums to indicate the quality of life during

the early years of occupancy after completion. An officers'

kitchen, enlisted mens' kitchen, and bakery should be

furnished as they were when occupied. To fulfill the total

idea of a living museum, the fireplaces should be restored

to operable condition. Continuously playing recordings

of sounds which were heard at the fort would expand

impressions of life.

As a part of this exhibit, the excellent Greek Revival

details in the interior spaces shoulld be dramatized.

Without question, they are among the finest in the country

to be found in a federal fort.

6. Military attire. Another section of the restored

officers' quarters could be used to display the evolution

of military dress during the years when the fort was

active. Included should be other accouterments, such as

musical instruments, flags, etc.

7. cannon exhibits. In the casemates and upon the

terreplEein should be an artillery exhibit. It should feature,

first, the types of cannons which the fort was designed to

contain. Then it should show the different types of cannons

that were developed during the years of occupation on the

work--from relatively smaall smoothbores to the powerful

I'ifles--and show how modifications were made in the

architecture to accommodate them. It would be impressive

if one tier of an entire front could be armed. Archival

drawings showing modifications of architecture, the use

of various tynes of cannons, and details of carriage design

are available for use in the development of this phase of


8. United States Naaval Academy (al the fort.

This phase of exhibits should center upon the Civil War

period, when the Naval Academy was moved to the fort.

Significant events in the role of the fort in coastal

defense during this period should also be included.

9* Adaotjve RA& peri94 QC fLA 122-* This exhibit

should illustrate the events which made the fort obsolete

and the changes in function of some of the key areas.

In this display, the turn-of-the-century concrete and

earth works can be interpreted.

As soon as serious planning for the exhibits begins,

an advisory panel should be appointed to consult upon

development. To insure accuracy and authenticity,

the panel should include representatives of each field

or specialty which will be interpreted.



On May 22, John Senulis, Pat Adams, and I visited

Fort Adams and surveyed the potential of both the interior

and exterior areas for 1973 archaeological work. In

addition, projects for subsequent years were discussed.

It was agreed that the immediate priorities should be

based upon the anticipated development of the restoration

operations and interpretation programs, with future seasons
concentrating on eighteenth-century fortifications.

It was further agreed that the 1973 program would

be most advantageously directed to the general testing of

numerous areas which should produce artifacts, rather than

intensive investigation of a few areas. Based on the yield

of this testing, future concentrated digging can then be


However, before the testing program begins,

archaeological work should be done on the interior and

exterior ditches, as well as exterior areas which need to be

graded to facilitate maintenance. Before any grading is

done, the area should be checked by the project

archaeologists for possible remnants of early fortifications.

The ditches will be the first to be developed for

public visitation and will require excavation and grading.

Preparatory to this work, the original levels of the ditches

should be established by studies of cross sections of the

soil at the east, south, and west extremities of each.

These investigations also will reveal whether any of the

original open or blind drains are in tact for use in the

restoration of the historic drainage system. Included in

this chase of work should be the establishment of the

original slopes and profiles of the caponniers. As a

result of observations on restoration work at other forts

and on the condition of the ditches at Fort Adams, it

should be noted that considerable excavation may be

necessary in some sections.

Following completion of this work, the program on

testing can begin. First in priority should be the areas

which will produce artifacts useful for interpretation and

exhibition in the areas where interior restoration will

commence, Any extensive dismantling that may be required

to allow for intensive digning can most economically be

done in conjunction wi~th restoration, thus eliminating

the necessity of undoing work in ~future years. Since it is

anticipated that the officers' quarters will be among the

first spaces scheduled for interior restoration and

exhibits, testing should commence in these areas.

Based upon the order of importance of the information

they may yield, the following is a recommended list of areas of

1. One of the four known cisterns in the northeast

bastion should be investigated. Located in the

kitchens, the cisterns should produce artifacts

which would contribute to the interpretation of

the life style of the period. The north cistern

is suggested.

2. Because of its artifact potential, the officers'

latrine, located near the shoulder of the right face

of the northeast bastion, should rank next in


3. Spot investigations of crawl spaces under the

floors of the officers' quarters also should be

included in this category of investigations. The

areas under the floor near the locations of the

floor vents would appear to be good possibilities.

Particularly important will be the discovery of

artifacts which would be indicators of the uses of

the various spaces.

The above investigations should reveal something about

the life style of the officers. Other testing should center

upon producing information which would be helpful in

interpreting the life style of the enlisted men:

4. A study should be made of the south latrine in

the southeast demi-bastion and its adjunct cesspool,

the latter of which is located outside the scare.

The potential here is uncertain, as it appears

that the original latrines were modified with the

addition of the cesspools. At the time of

modification, they may have been cleaned. It also

appears that use of the original latrines was

discontinued shortly after the Civil W~ar.

5. While working in the southeast demi-bastion, the

bakery cistern should be checked.

Next in priority should rank investigations which

should reveal materials relating to the military function

of the fort. Since this testing probably will not interfere

with early restoration, they are not high in priority.

6. Some part of the area under one of the main magazines

located in the northeast bastion should be tested.

7. A check should be made of an area under the wooden

floor in the casemates of the right face of the

northwest bastion.

8. An investigation should be conducted on the possible

site of a hotshot oven, near the northwest

bastion. However, this project must await archival

work to establish an approximate location.

The last category of recommended investigations relates

to construction, although these might produce items related also

to life at the fort. This testing could produce items

dating from the 1825-1849 period, since activity on the

sites was intense at that time. All locations are outside

the permanent architecture, and positions, as well as

dates of the structures, can be established from study of

copies of archival progress drawings, most of which appear
to be quite accurate.

9. The site of the blacksmith sh~p, which could

produce articles for exhibit, should be investigated.

10. The site of the temporary offices and storerooms

should be tested.

11. The site of either the east or north mortar mill

should rank next in importance.

12. Several miscellaneous locations on the terreeleins

of the exterior fronts could be included in the

testing program. One of these locations should be

near the bombproof located near the salient of the

south bastion of the exterior fronts.

1.3. The site of the early whiarves in Brenton Cove, where

building materials were unloaded, would seem to be

productive. H~o::over, the difficulty of excavation

may preclude its inclusion in the program.

The above priorities are not intended to exclude other

areas which might be investigated. For examnle, if maps

are discovered which would indicate the location of fortifications

dating from the Revolution, the investigation of areas


outside the enceinte and outworks of Fort Adams could be

included. This area of testing could be very significant

in the development of the Bicentennial program.

Finally, 1973 archival research may reveal other

areas which should be tested.



Since many researchers and historians certainly will

become involved with Fort Adams over the years, it is

important that a systematic and flexible method of

recording information be adopted from the very beginning.

The system should enable one to readily retrieve available

information on any given aspect of the fort with a minimum

of laborious searching. In addition, it should include an

organ-ized listing of sources searched to eliminate the

possibility of unknowing repetitions investigation by other
researchers in future years.

During the summer of 1973, a researcher will work in

Washington, D. S., in the National Archives and in the Library

of Congress. The efforts in the Archives should center first

upon the textual records of the Corps of Engineers; material-

from this source will be useful in planning various phases of

the restoration and exhibits. A basic list of entries,

which may serve as points of departure, is included in my

1972 report. Other correspondence and reports can be located

vith the assistance of an archivist. This search also

should include material on the first Fort Adams and other

fortifications on Brenton Point and Brenton Neck, which

preceded the present work.

It will be important to discover information not only

about the construction of the fort, but also about the life

style there and about interesting events. The records of

the Quartermaster General as well as those of the Surgeon

General likewise should be searched. Then, archival work

should include information pertaining to anty of the engineers

associated with the project, particularly Simon Bernard,

the French consulting engiLneer, Joseph Totten, who perfected

the details of design of the fort, and Anne Louis de Tousard,

the engineer of the 1799 Fort Adams. In addition, information

on the various craftsmen who were employed at the fort would

be valuable.

There areseveral types of records which need 821; be

included in the 1973 search: information in print which

can be obtained on loan should be bypassed.~ The

Cartographic Archives also may be excluded since Gerron

Hite has reviewed and catalogued drawings dating prior to


In the Library of Congress an effort should be made to

locate both textual material and graphical works, but not

until work is well along or complete in the National Archives.

All of the records which are deemed pertinent by the


researcher should be microfilmed and codes should be

deposited in the Fort Adams resource center. As the

researcher investigates the various documents, card files

cataloging information and references should be assembled.

Information for the files will be of two basice types:

informational and bibliognaphical. Facts about the fort

should be categorized according to specific operations,

events, personalities, architectural features and components,

work progress, geographical features, life styles, etc.

Whenever practical, the information should be cross-referenced.

It is suggested that 4" by 6" cards be used. They are

sufficiently large to contain adequate information, yet are

small enough to be easily manageable in field work. Each

informational card should identify the subject of the data

and provide adequate bibliographical information to relocate

the source. The following are examples of workable forms

of data recording:

FOR~T ADAMS,.I.Sau of Work 1841
J. G. Totten, 1841 report.
p.' 116. This work is so far advanced as to leave no doubt
of the entire completion this year of the main work,
with the exception of some trifling matters; there
will then remain but the redoubt, the sodding of the
caponnier, and the sodding of the breast-height walls
of the re-entering place of arms of the east front,
to complete.


Details which appear most important and which will

immediately aid restoration and interpretation should be

copied. However, many categories of information, particularly
those which do not momentarily appear useful but which

later may be applicable, may be simply referenced, as in

the following example from another project:


See Def~ussy.

Library at.

"Semi-Annual Return," 1821.


Since complete source information will be contained on

separate cards, only enough data to locate the

bibliogrpahical card is needed--this will conserve time,

since bibliographical data is often very extensive and

since various types of information may be contained in a

single source, requiring numerous fact cards.

Complete information identifying each source checked
should be recorded on the bibliogrpahical cards.


"Report of the Chief Engineer,"
U. S., Cong., Senate, Rep979 pAt th Chief E~ngine~er,

Sen. Doc. 1, 27th Cong., 2d Sess.,

1841, pp. (serial 39ej).

"SemicAnnual Returns of Public Works,"

1 December 1821. National Archives, Washington,
D. C., Record Group 77, Entry 1237.

(include location of source; i. e. National
Archives, and city).

Data on the compilation of the research should be also

recorded. On the back of each card should be stamped the
name of the researcher and the date of the research

(only one side should be used to record information).
Whenever groups of reports, volumes of letters, etc.,

are investigated, the entire series should be listed on one
or more cards--in addition to the bibliographical cards.

As a particular report or item is searched, it should be

so noted on the cards, similar to the example below:'



18 22







OF ENGINEERS, Annual Reports, Cong. Does. 1

Serial Doc.

78 39 s kM~e-d /,;/7
144 1 .. ~ -- --- s;5rL~~i~j?

163 1
181 1

192 1
Am. State Papers




The above system should provide a workable method of

systematizing information. However, in this, as any system,
ultimate success depends upon consistency with all contributors;

throughout the development of the project in future years,

all research must be recorded in the same pattern.




The overall development of the Fort Ad~ams project

should include planning for the acquisition, use, and

interpretation of the advanced redoubt located on the

eminence south of the main fortifications, and should

include the study of fortifications which both preceded

and followed the construction of the main works. The story

of Fort Adams will be incomplete without the redoubt and

other fortifications: the redoubt was an integral part of

the fort and certainly would add interest to an already

fascinating monument, while works dating from other eras

complete the history of military architecture around the

Narragansett .

As previously reported, the redoubt is in excellent
condition and with some cleaning and relatively minor

restoration could be opened immediately to the public.

Like the main works of the fort, this outwork is characterized

by complex and interesting casemates, tunnels, and counter-

scarp galleries. The granite walls and brick vaults are

superb in form and, in sophistication of execution of

detail, surpass the main work. Further contributing to the

interest of the advanced redoubt is a fine central double

spiral stair with granite treads and drawbridges which
provided for communication across the two ditches. As a first

step in its preservation, this handsome work must be

nominated to the National Register.

At different periods in history, a variety of

fortifications have appeared on Brenton Point and in the

vicinity. While Fort Adams represents a superior degree of

development in military architecture, many earlier works were

primitive earthworks or batteries, thrown up in response to

immediate urgencies. Others, such as the 1799 fort, were

set up in response to longer-range needs for defenses and

were considered more permanent than these early strongholds.

In addition to Brenton Point, then, a number of other

positions overlooking the water were fortified. Extending

southwesterly along the neck, nature did not fortify these

sites against land attack so strongly as-she did the point,

which was washed by the waters of the Narragansett on three

sides. But the East Passage is more confined to the southwest,

thus making the eastern shore a desirable location for batteries.

Available early maps indicate some approximate locations

of eighteenth-century works. As soon as convenient, an

exhaustive search should be made for drawings of pre-

nineteenth-century regional fortifications--including those of the

first Fort Adams. Work on developing the history of those

fortifications connected with the Revolutionary War would

be appropriate for the Bicentennial Selebration. WJith

continuing research and archaeology in future years,

the sites may be located, the traces established and


Also as a part of the long-range program for the

development of Fort Adams, consideration should be given

to the interpretation of the reinforced concrete fortifications

erected in the 1890s near the southwest corner of the

outworks. A part of the regional system at the inlet to

the bay which included Fort Wetherill on the west, they comprise

the final episode of the story of military architecture

around the bay.

In conclusion, then, it is strongly recommended that

as much shoreline as may become available be acquired and

incorporated in Fort Adams State Park.


0 F THE 1 9 73


The 1972 Historic American Buildings -Survey program

produced an excellent series of measured drawings. With

the exception of several details, the plans, parade-face

elevations, and interior details of the officers' quarters

were measured and recorded with drawings, along with two

outbuildings. However, due to the magnitude of the fort,

considerable surveying and drawing remain.

It is recommended that the priorities of 1973 be

consistent with those established in 1972: they should

continue according to restoration urgency, yet conform to the

besttSABS practice. FPirst in priority in the summer of 1973

is the completion of the plans of all levels of the entire

enceinte. Throughout the years of development of the fort,

these will be vital to planning restoration, exhibits, and

adaptive uses.

Following in priority is the recording of the stable-

warehoutse--building .93. This structure will have

a role in the overall development of the project.

Upon completion of the above work, plans should be

prepared of the interior spaces of the exterior fronts.

These will include service magazines, casemates, and short

segments of the countersearp galleries of both the interior

and exterior ditches.

As they will be useful in the restoration of doors and

windows, completion of the parade-face elevations is next in

priority. Included with this phase of the work should be

door and window details of the north and west fronts.

Although th~ey do not rank so high in importance as

the above, aumorous other elevations will be necessary to

complete the record. A characteristic segment of a sea

front and an interior land front should be drawn. Other

elevations may include the interior face of a tenaille

and a segment of an exterior land front. Small- scal e

elevations of the entire west front and a section-elevation

of an entire exterior front would add interest to the

drawings and would furnish a graphical image of the overall

scale of the fort.

The goals for the 1973 survey must also include

several details of items which are threatened by loss or

deterioration. The ceiling rosettes should be drawn--at

least one is precariously attached and in danger of falling.

In the restoration of the fort, it may be impossible to

save the rusty iron stairs of the 1906 barracks, hence these

also should be recorded.

Other details should include a schedule of the

different types of embrasures and loopholes. Each type

of opening can then be keyed to the plans. Additional

details of merit and interest may be selected as the

project progresses.

It is hoped that time may allow the recording of the

advanced redoubt located on Navy property, Although

smaller, the redoubt is equally as complex as the main

works and will require a substantial amount of time

to record. Moreover, it is badly infested with poison

ivy and the only tunnel furnishing access to the outer

countersearp gallery is filled with water, all of which

would retard progress. should the scope of the recording

to be done on the main works preclude inclusion of the

redoubt in the 1973 RABS project, it is recommended that

another survey be organized for the summer of 1974 or

a later year.

BUDGET 1 97 4



1. Cleaning and excavating ditches $2 5,000 .

2. Sodding of ditches 40,000.

3. Waterproofing casemates and tunnels,
south bastion, exterior fronts 5,ooo.

4. Cleaning and waterproofing casemates
of southwest demi-bastion, exterior
front 4,000.

$.Reconstruction: tenaille stairs, doors,
hardware, magazine floors 5,000.

6. Caretaker's apartment 20,000.

7. Repointing and repairing scarps and
countersearps 60,000.

8. Waterproofing and restoration of
terreplein of east front 70 000.

9. Lintel repairs, parade face, sea fronts 1,000.

10. Repainting and repair of casemates 15,000.


11. Restoration of east redoubt and/or
building 74 for visitors' center 20,000.

12. Model 4,000.

13. Development of brochure (writing,
preparation of illustrations) 4,000.
14. Publication of brochure (cost to be
recovered through sales of 10,000 cooies)2,000\.

The costs of the extensions of utilities for the

development of the visitors' center, caretaker's

apartment, the lighting and ventilation of the tunnels

are not included in the above estimates. Moreover,

these estimates include only work for the immediate

future. At this time, no estimates are included for the

interior spaces of the enceinte, the restoration of which

must await the work specified in this report.


15. HABS3 for redoubt
(contingent upon 1973 accomplishment) 12,000.

16. Archaeology 20,000.

17. Archival research
(contingent upon 1973 work) 5,~00.



University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs