Battery Sedgwick

Dutch Island, Jamestown, Rhode Island
Battery Sedgwick is an abandoned coastal gun battery on Dutch Island at the former site of Fort Greble off Jamestown, Rhode Island.
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Dutch Island, off the coast of Jamestown, Rhode Island, harbors the haunting remnants of Battery Sedgwick, an impressive testament to America’s coastal defense history. Abandoned and embraced by nature’s reclaiming touch, this battery stands as a relic of a bygone era of military strategy and architectural prowess.

Named after Major General John Sedgwick, a distinguished soldier from the Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War, Battery Sedgwick was part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay at Fort Greble. It was constructed during the Endicott Period, a time when advancements in warfare technology rendered traditional masonry forts and cannons obsolete. This period saw the U.S. government’s effort, initiated by the Endicott Board in 1885, to overhaul coastal defenses using contemporary armaments. Battery Sedgwick was a product of this massive modernization effort, operating from 1901 to 1942.

The battery was originally equipped with eight massive 12″ M1890MI mortars mounted on M1896MI mortar carriages, capable of hurling thousand-pound projectiles nearly 10 miles. This formidable firepower was housed in a single-level structure with two mortar pits, each containing four mortars. The intricate design included adjacent concrete shelters for the magazines, safely ensconced under an earthen covering. The operation of this battery was a marvel of military engineering, with mortar shells and powder transported to the loading platform on shot carts, powered by an internal emplacement power plant.

However, the winds of change brought by World War I saw the removal of many large-caliber coastal defense guns for service in Europe, with four mortars from Battery Sedgwick ordered dismounted and shipped out in 1918. The onset of World War II marked the end of Battery Sedgwick’s active service, as the remaining mortars and carriages were scrapped in 1942 during a significant World War II scrap drive.

Today, Battery Sedgwick lies within the Dutch Island State Wildlife Management Area Park, a silent guardian of history surrounded by the wild beauty of Dutch Island. Accessible only by boat, adventurous souls can embark from Fort Getty State Park, navigating the waters to this secluded isle. The journey to the battery is not for the faint-hearted; it demands bushwhacking through dense undergrowth, home to prickly bushes and a population of deer ticks. The reward, however, is a rare glimpse into a piece of military history.

The interior of Battery Sedgwick, surprisingly intact for its age, is devoid of the modern graffiti that often marks such abandoned places, likely due to its isolated location. Explorers can wander through the numerous rooms that once stored projectiles, powders, and sheltered soldiers. The connecting tunnels and deep, circular gun pits, now filled with water and burgeoning with vegetation, offer a tangible connection to the past. The elements have taken their toll on parts of the battery exposed to the open sky, leaving a landscape slowly being overtaken by nature.

Battery Sedgwick is more than just an abandoned military site; it’s a journey into the past, a physical reminder of the changing tides of warfare and defense strategies. Its secluded location and challenging access only add to its allure, making it a hidden treasure for those seeking the thrill of exploring the obscure and forgotten corners of our history.


Address: Dutch island, Jamestown, Rhode Island
Place GPS Coordinates: 41.505528, -71.400139
Parking GPS Coordinates: 41.505528, -71.400139
Parking Notes: Battery Sedgwick 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 Sedgwick. It is not an easy structure to reach!

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