Willard B. Robinson
June 1 972
ARCHIVAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL VORK
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
PRIORITIES IN STABILIZATION
GOALS OF THE RESEARCH AND SURVEY PROJECT
NOTES ON THE GALLERIES
INTR 0DUCTI 0N
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
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
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.
AND ARCHAEOL 0GICAL
'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
"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.
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.
AND DE VELOPMENT
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
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
PUBLIC TOUR ST U DY- 1974 -75
ORT ADAMS STATE PARK:
ARROWS INDICATE KEY VISTAS-+
PUBLIC TOUR STUDY-1976
ARROWS INDICATE KEY VISTAS---
INTE RIOR---- -
FORT ADAMS STATE PARK:
El MORTAR MILL
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
IN S T AB IL I Z AT I 0 N
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
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
GOALS OF THE RESEARCH A2ND SURVEY PROJECT
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.
N 0 TES~ ON
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.
PLAN DIAGRAM: NOT TO SCALE
IING PLACE OF ARMS
THE EXTERIOR FRONTS
NORTH AND WEST FRONTS ARE SEA FRONTS
EXTERIOR FRONTS ARE LAND FRONTS
RIGHT OR LEFT HAND IS DETERMINED BY STANDING IN
FORT, LOOKING OUT
FORT ADAMS = NOMENCLATURE
F OR T A DA MS: NOMENCLATURE PROFILE DIAGRAM: SOUTH AND EXTERIOR FRONTS
OPENING FOR BRANC
Willard b. Robinson
CO NTENT S
UTSE AND INJTERPRETATION
GOALS OF THE 1973 SURVEY
INTR 0DUCT 0 R N 0TE
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
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.
STABILI ZATI 0N
1 97 4
Early stabilization will provide long-term economy.
Each year witnesses further deterioration, necessitating
additional expenditures in future years to repair the
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
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
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
Inspection reveals that the casemates of the north and
west fronts are mostly dry. The built up roofing over these
STUDY OF THE DEVELOPMiliT OF ARCH)TECTURAL EXCIIBTS
5[~ INTERIOR FRONT wn a
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
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
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
$*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
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
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
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,
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:
FORT MORGAN, ALA.
"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.
TOTTEN, JOSEPH G.
"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).
DeRUSSY, R. E.
"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:'
OF ENGINEERS, Annual Reports, Cong. Does. 1
78 39 s kM~e-d /,;/7
144 1 .. ~ -- --- s;5rL~~i~j?
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.
0 N ADJ UNCT
F 0RTIFICATI 0 S
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
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.
G 0 ALS
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
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
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
PR 0 0SED
RESTO RATI ON
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
$.Reconstruction: tenaille stairs, doors,
hardware, magazine floors 5,000.
6. Caretaker's apartment 20,000.
7. Repointing and repairing scarps and
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.
SURVEY, ARCHAEOLOGY, AND REjEARCH
15. HABS3 for redoubt
(contingent upon 1973 accomplishment) 12,000.
16. Archaeology 20,000.
17. Archival research
(contingent upon 1973 work) 5,~00.
CONTINGENCIES 30 000.