Dutch Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island

The abandoned Battery Mitchell, nestled on the secluded Dutch Island off Jamestown, Rhode Island, stands as an enigmatic relic of the Endicott Period.

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About This Location

Battery Mitchell, nestled on the secluded Dutch Island off Jamestown, Rhode Island, stands as an enigmatic relic of the Endicott Period, a time when America's coastal defenses underwent a revolutionary transformation. This abandoned battery, named in honor of Captain David D. Mitchell, a hero who fell in the Philippine-American War, is a testament to a bygone era of military innovation and coastal fortification.

Constructed as part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay, Battery Mitchell was integral in safeguarding the strategic Newport Harbor, as well as the Providence River. This transformation in coastal defense was a response to advancements in military technology during the Civil War, which rendered traditional masonry forts and smoothbore cannons obsolete. The United States, recognizing the need for a more modern defense system, convened the Endicott Board in 1885, leading to the creation of fortified batteries equipped with the latest artillery.

Battery Mitchell was equipped with three 6-inch M1903 guns, each mounted on M1903 disappearing carriages – a marvel of engineering at the time. These formidable weapons, manufactured at the Watervliet Arsenal and mounted on carriages from the Morgan Engineering Company, were capable of launching projectiles several miles into the sea. The battery itself was a two-story structure, with the guns positioned on the upper level and the ammunition stored in magazines below.

The onset of World War I marked a significant chapter in the battery's history. In the widespread mobilization of artillery for the war effort in Europe, all three guns at Battery Mitchell were dismounted in 1917 and sent to France. The ensuing disarmament program after the war led to the scrapping of the carriages and the eventual deactivation of the battery.

Today, Battery Mitchell lies within the Dutch Island State Wildlife Management Area, a shadow of its former self. Accessible only by boat, the journey to this secluded historic site is an adventure, requiring a departure from nearby Fort Getty State Park and a trek through dense, overgrown vegetation. The isolation of the battery has helped preserve its structural integrity to some extent; however, nature is steadily reclaiming the once formidable fortification.

For the intrepid explorer, a visit to Battery Mitchell is a journey back in time. Walking through the rooms and tunnels, where soldiers once stood guard over Narragansett Bay, one can almost hear the echoes of history. The battery, though now empty and void of its formidable guns, still holds the stories of a time when coastal defense was a matter of national security and technological prowess.

Visitors to Battery Mitchell should be prepared for a rugged experience. The terrain is unmanaged, and the remnants of the battery are slowly crumbling under the relentless forces of nature. Caution is advised when exploring the site, as the structure is not maintained and can be hazardous. Despite these challenges, Battery Mitchell offers a unique opportunity to connect with a pivotal era in America's military history, to stand where soldiers once stood, and to ponder the ceaseless march of time that turns even the mightiest of structures into ruins.

Location Features

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Dutch Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.503639, -71.401222
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
Battery Mitchell is located on Dutch Island off Jamestown, Rhode Island. The only way to access this abandoned coastal gun battery is by boat. Kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes can be launched from nearby Fort Getty State Park which charges an entrance fee during the summer. After reaching the island, a lot of bushwhacking is required to reach Battery Mitchell. It is not an easy structure to reach!


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