Battery Ogden

Dutch Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island
The abandoned Battery Ogden is an old coastal gun battery on Dutch Island at the former site of Fort Greble off Jamestown, Rhode Island.
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About This Location

Nestled within the tranquil yet untamed landscapes of Dutch Island off Jamestown, Rhode Island, lies the forgotten relic of coastal defense, Battery Ogden. This hidden gem, now part of the Dutch Island State Wildlife Management Area Park, offers a haunting glimpse into a bygone era of military fortifications and the relentless passage of time.

Constructed as part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay, Battery Ogden was an integral component of the Endicott Period (1890-1910), a time marked by significant advancements in coastal fortification in response to evolving warfare technology. Named in honor of 1st Lieutenant Frederick C. Ogden, a U.S. Civil War hero who fell at Trevillian Station, Virginia, the battery was a testament to the evolving military strategies of the early 20th century.

The construction of Battery Ogden commenced in May 1900 and was completed by October of the same year. It was equipped with two 3″ M1898MI guns mounted on M1898 Masking Parapet mounts, a design typical of the period’s coastal defenses. This two-story structure housed the guns on the upper level while the magazines were located below. However, in a reflection of its time, it lacked modern conveniences like shell or powder hoists, and relied on an external emplacement power plant for electricity.

The onset of World War I marked a shift in the United States’ military focus, leading to the redistribution and repurposing of many coastal defense guns. While Battery Ogden was spared during this upheaval, it couldn’t escape the sweeping disarmament program of 1920. The guns were removed and transferred to the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal in New York, and the carriages were ordered scrapped, signaling the end of its active military life.

Today, Battery Ogden stands as a shadow of its former self, slowly being reclaimed by nature. The cracked concrete and overgrown vegetation offer a somber reminder of the impermanence of human endeavors. The small rooms that once buzzed with military activity now stand empty, with only remnants of the past lingering in the air.

For the intrepid explorer, reaching Battery Ogden is an adventure in itself. Accessible only by boat, the journey requires launching from Fort Getty State Park, followed by navigating the waters to Dutch Island. The trek to the battery involves bushwhacking through dense vegetation, an endeavor that demands preparation. Visitors are advised to don protective clothing, arm themselves with bug spray, and carry ample water to guard against the island’s natural challenges, including the notorious deer ticks and prickly underbrush. If you are kayaking to the island or taking a boat, there is a small cove to land at which is about a quarter-mile from the gun battery.

A visit to Battery Ogden is more than just an exploration of an abandoned military site; it is a walk through history, a chance to stand where soldiers once stood, guarding the shores of Narragansett Bay. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the ever-changing tides of human history, set against the backdrop of Rhode Island’s serene yet wild natural beauty.

Location

Address: Dutch Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island
Place GPS Coordinates: 41.500850, -71.402880
Parking GPS Coordinates: 41.500850, -71.402880
Parking Notes: Battery Ogden 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 Ogden. It is not an easy structure to reach!

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