Military activity began on this site as early as the 18th century with the British, French and Americans occupying "Dumpling Rock at various points until abandoned in 1779.
In 1798, the US Army began construction of a new fort that, while officially called Fort Louis, and later Fort Brown, would always be known simply as Fort Dumpling.
In 1899, just over 100 years later, the government purchased additional land, and destroyed the original fort. In its place was constructed many concrete gun emplacements for modern rifled guns.
A new battery was added in 1901, and an additional six batteries by 1910.
Five companies of Rhode Island National Guard garrisoned the fort during World War I, but after that only one person looked after it and other facilities. In 1940, however, with the American involvement in World War II, the fort was reactivated and new facilities were constructed.
Military operations ended at the fort in 1946, and it was abandoned until 1972. At that time, the State of Rhode Island took over the property, adding it to the National Register of Historic Places.
Armaments were as follows:
Battery Dickenson: 2 6-inch M1900 guns.
Battery Crittenden: 2 3-inch M1903 guns.
Battery Wheaton: 2 12-inch M1888 guns.
Battery Varnum: 2 12-inch M1888 guns.
Battery Walbach: 3 10-inch guns.
Battery Zook: 3 6-inch guns (until 1918)
Battery Cooke: 2 3-inch guns (until 1920)
In addition, Battery 923 consisted of two 90mm guns served as a Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat (AMTB) Battery.
When we arrived and discovered that, like Fort Foster before, this area was a national park, we became somewhat dismayed. However, our feelings would be short-lived. A quick scoot past the fence netted us bunkers and tunnels in the dark, graffiti-covered depths of this large old fort.
It seemed to stretch on and on, and something different to see after each turn. We were accompanied from a distance by a group of young teenage girls who appeared scared of their own shadows, and whose frequent screams shattered the silence. Too funny.
As we left, we were quite happy to have stopped.