Fort Adams comes alive with the sounds of jazz and folk music for two weekends every summer. We think of all this musical activity at the fort as a more recent thing, but music has been a part of life at the fort since the mid 1800s. Hear some music written about the fort and music performed in Fort Adams in the 1800s! (The main photos comes from the Providence Public Library Digital Archives)

The Fort Adams March

William Schultze composed the Fort Adams March in 1857. It was performed by the Germania Musical Society in Newport.


The march was dedicated to Lt. Col. John Magruder, who was the commanding officer of the First Light Artillery, stationed at Fort Adams. Magruder, born in Virginia, would resign his commission and rise to the rank of Major General in the Confederate Army.

The Bands of the Fort

Fort Adams was the home to a number of military bands from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. Most of the units stationed at the fort had their own ensembles.

Here we see a list of musicians assigned to the Fort from the mid 1800s.

From the Fort Adams logs kept at the National Archives in Washington D.C.

The Fort concerts were a social occasion for all of Newport. Below is a program given by the Fifth Artillery Band from August 26, 1873.

From the Newport Daily News Archives

Included on the program was the Light Artillery March of J. Heine. This march was dedicated to Lt. E.L. Zalinski of the Fifth Artillery Company.

The Band of the 7th Coastal Artillery Company

Pictured below is the band of the 7th Coastal Artillery Company, probably from the WW1 era.

From the Providence Public Library Digital Archives

Below is the program the 7th C.A.C. Band gave at Morton Park, on July 6, 1912.

From the Newport Daily News Archives

Auber’s Crown Diamonds was included on this program. Hear it below:

Chief Musician John T. Freeman was one of the conductors of the 7th C.A.C Band and his final resting place is the Fort Adams Cemetery.


He is just one of many musicians whose final resting place is Fort Adams.


William G. Hammond

Discover the life of William G. Hammond, organist, choirmaster, and composer, and his life in Newport and beyond.

Read More »

The City Drummer

Read the story of City Drummer Benjamin Lawton’s Revolutionary War service in his own words!

Read More »

Historic Music of Newport is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Help support our mission to preserve Newport’s rich musical heritage!

P.O. Box 539
Newport, RI 02840

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
%d bloggers like this: