Going Coastal

Copyright 2015, Scott D. Murdock


For the first time, I participated in the annual conference and tours of the Coast Defense Study Group (CDSG).  I've enjoyed the organization's publications, and the itinerary of this year's conference looked fun. The program had me retracing my steps on Fort DuPont and Fort Miles, but this time I had much better access thanks to CDSG.  I tried not to duplicate effort from my visit of the previous fall, so the photos you see here are all new and different from my Destination Dover report.  In addition to CDSG publications, John Stanton's Fort Wiki was very helpful for understanding coastal batteries.  I added two days after the conference to explore some other places of interest.

Wednesday, 29 Apr 2015

The flight from DEN to BWI was uneventful.  I picked up a Nissan Versa Note as my rental vehicle.

Friendship International Airport MD  (3753)  39-10-30, 76-40-10     In the mid-1950s, Friendship International Airport was used by the Air Research & Development Command.  The airport was jointly used with airlines during this time.  Long after USAF use, the airport was named Baltimore-Washington International, and is now called Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).  As I departed the airport, I saw no clues of the Air Force's past use.  Air Mobility Command currently operates a Passenger Terminal in the airport.

I stopped for the night in Middletown, Delaware.  This was conference headquarters for the first two nights.

Thursday, 30 Apr 2015

After a night in Middletown, the group ventured out of state for two visits.  One of the long-time members  was kind enough to let me ride with him, allowing good conversation about the conference and the CDSG.

Fort Mifflin PA  39-52-30, 75-12-47   Fort Mifflin was acquired in 1795, and was named for Major General Thomas Mifflin, Continental Army, first Governor of Pennsylvania.  It was declared to be a national monument in 1915.  It was still used by the Army, Navy, and Air Force into the early 1960s, and still has an Army National Guard presence.
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Fort Mott NJ  39-36-14, 75-33-10   The fort was acquired in 1837, with additional land acquired in 1901.  It was designated in 1897 for Major General Gershom Mott.  It was declared surplus in late 1944.
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(Fire control tower and magazine)
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(Magazine and fire control tower)
(Latrine)

Battery Arnold NJ  36.6040, 75.5528   In use from 1899 to 1943; three 12" gun emplacements.  It originally included the three 10" gun emplacements that were redesignated for Battery Harker in 1902.  Named for Brigadier General Lewis G. Arnold, U.S. Volunteers.
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Battery Edwards NJ  39.6043, 75.5541   In use from 1902 to 1920; two 3" gun emplacements.  Named for Captain Robert Edwards, 17th U.S. Infantry.
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Battery Gregg NJ  39.6034, 75.5505   In use from 1901 to 1913; two 5" gun emplacements.  Named for Captain John C. Gregg, 12th Infantry.
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Battery Harker NJ  39.6037, 75.5515   Separated from Battery Arnold in 1902, in use until 1941; three 10" gun emplacements.  Named for Brigadier General Charles G. Harker, U.S. Volunteers.
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Battery Krayenbuhl NJ  39.6044, 75.5540   In use from 1900 to 1917; two 5" gun emplacements.  Named for Captain Maurice G. Krayenbuhl, U.S. Volunteers.
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With the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sites out of the way, we returned to Middletown for a second night.

Friday, 1 May 2015

From Middletown, the group checked out of the hotel and drove to Delaware City.  From there, we boarded the Delafort for a short ferry to Pea Patch Island.

Fort Delaware DE  39-35-21, 75-34-03   The 178 acre property was acquired in 1813.  It was declared surplus in 1945.
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Battery Alburtis DE  39.5896, 75.5669   In use from 1901 to 1920; two 3" guns.  Named for 1st Lieutenant William Alburtis, 2d U.S. Infantry.
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Battery Allen DE  39.5892, 75.5677   In use from 1901 to 1920; two 3" guns.  Named for 1st Lieutenant Robert Allen, Jr., 1st U.S. Cavalry.
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Battery Dodd DE  39.5883, 75.5680   In use from 1899 to 1917; two 4.72" guns.  Named for Captain Albert Dodd, 17th U.S. Infantry.
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Battery Hentig DE  39.5886, 75.5677   In use from 1901 to 1942; two 3" guns.  Named for Captain Edmund C. Hentig, 6th U.S. Cavalry.
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Battery Torbert DE  39.5893, 75.5672   In use from 1901 to 1940; three 12" guns.  Named for Major General Alfred T.A. Torbert, U.S. Volunteers.
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Once we were back on dry land, it was just a few minutes drive to our next destination.

Fort DuPont DE  39-34-15, 75-35-10    The fort was first used as Ten Gun Battery in 1863, acquired by the War Department in about 1871, and established in 1898.  It was officially named on 13 July 1899, after Rear Admiral Samuel F. DuPont, USN.  The fort continued to serve through WWII, and was declared excess on 4 May 1946.  Much of the property is still in use by various government and military activities.
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(Fire control tower, repurposed as guard tower)
(Fire control tower, repurposed as guard tower)
(Fire control tower, repurposed as guard tower)

Battery Clermont Best 39.5720, 75.5820 and Battery Rodney DE  39.5714, 75.5815    This 12" mortar battery was named Battery Rodney in 1902 after Caesar Rodney, major general of the Delaware Militia and signer of the Declaration of Independence.  The battery originally had 16 mortars, four in each of four bays.  In 1906 the battery was administratively split in in half, with half named Battery Best after Major Clermont L. Best, Artillery Corps.  In 1914 and 1918, half the mortars were removed, to relieve crowding in the mortar bays.  The remaining mortars and carriages were scrapped during WWII.
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Mortar bay)
(Battery Clermont Best - Data booth)
(Battery Clermont Best - Data booth)
(Battery Clermont Best - Generator entrance)
(Battery Clermont Best - Generator entrance)
(Battery Rodney - Mortar bay)
(Battery Rodney - Mortar bay)
(Battery Rodney - Mortar bay)
(Battery Rodney - Mortar bay)
(Battery Rodney - Data booth)
(Battery Rodney - Data booth)

Battery Gibson DE  39.5682, 75.5784   Two 8" rifle positions flanked by the guns of Battery Read in the same structure.  In use from 1899 to 1917.  Named for Colonel James Gibson, 4th Rifle Regiment.
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Battery Read DE 39.5682, 75.5784   Two 12" gun positions, one on either side of Battery Gibson's guns in the same structure.  In use from 1899 to 1918.  Named for Senator George Read, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
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Battery Samuel Elder DE  39.5712, 75.5787   In use from 1904 to 1942; two 3" guns.  Named for Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Samuel S. Elder, U.S. Army.
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I settled into lodging in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  This was conference headquarters for the next two days.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

After the first night Rehoboth Beach, we hit the road for more exploring.

Fort Saulsbury DE  38-56-05, 75-19-52   The property was acquired in 1917 and declared surplus in 1946.  It was used as a prisoner of war facility from 1943 to 1945.  The fort was named for the Honorable Willard Saulsbury, Attorney General and U.S. Senator.
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Battery Hall DE  38-56-06, 75-19-50  In use from 1920 to 1944; two 12" guns.  Named for Colonel David Hall, Continental Army.
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Battery Haslet DE  38-55-58, 75-19-53   In use from 1920 to 1943; two 12" guns.  Named for Colonel John Haslet, Continental Army.
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Fort Miles DE  38-46-15, 75-05-15      A portion of land was set aside as U.S. Fort Reservation in 1873, and a six-inch gun battery was operational during WWI.  But, the installation came into its own for WWII.  Established as Cape Henlopen Military Reservation in 1938, it was renamed Fort Miles on 7 Aug 1941 for General Nelson Miles.  Fort Miles had a number of gun batteries, listed separately below.  It also had a number of observation, or fire control, towers supporting the batteries.  Most of the fort was declared excess by the Army in 1961, and it was discontinued as a Department of the Army installation on 27 Feb 1970.

Battery 222 Hunter DE  38.7883, 75.0888     Construction on this six-inch gun battery started 15 Apr 1942 and completed 29 Oct 1943.  It was named for Colonel Charles H. Hunter on 17 Sep 1942, and was deactivated in 1947.  Navy use began as early as 1949, and the land was formally acquired by the Navy in 1964.  The Naval Radio Station was activated here Jun 1963, though this was short-lived as the radio station relocated to Battery 519 in 1964.  Navy use ended in 1981 when the land was returned to the State of Delaware.
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Battery 519 DE  38.7768, 75.0871     Though originally intended for 16 inch guns, this battery was built for two 12 inch guns instead.  Construction began 15 Nov 1942 and completed 31 Aug 1943.  The battery was deactivated in 1948.  In the late 1950s, the top of the battery was home to BA-34R, a TPS-1D radar installation in the Baltimore defense area. In 1964 the Naval Radio Station relocated here from Battery 222 Hunter.  The land remained under Army control for many years (until either 1980 or 1991) as part of the First Army Recreation Area.
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(BA-34R Nike radar support structure)
(BA-34R Nike radar support structure)
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(Turkies Old and New (L-R): M. Berhow, M. Morgan, S. Murdock, D. Larsen [Larsen photo])

Battery 519 Plotting Room DE  38-46-42, 75-05-55     The below-ground plotting room received inputs from fire control towers and determined the firing solution for the nearby gun battery.  In use from 1943 to 1948.
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Fort Miles Mine Casemate DE  38-47-09, 75-05-58     The below-ground casemate was used to control the command-detonated mines in the harbor during WWII.
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Departing Fort Miles, we detoured in the town of Lewes to see a fire control tower.

Fort Miles Fire Control Tower 13 DE  38-46-46, 75-07-11    One of several towers (on and off the post) used during WWII to take azimuth readings of potential targets in the harbor.  This tower is 92' tall.
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Rehoboth Beach was home for a second night.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

We started our day by returning to Fort Miles.

Battery 118 Smith DE  38-46-13, 75-05-10     Construction on this sixteen-inch gun battery started 24 Mar 1941 and completed 31 Oct 1942.  It was named for Major General William R. Smith, U.S. Army.  It was transferred to the Coast Artillery for use on 21 Dec 1943, and was deactivated in 1948.  It became in integral part of Naval Station Lewes in 1962, with the battery called the Auxiliary Service Building. Navy use ended in 1996 with the closure of the Naval Reserve Training Center and return of the land to the State of Delaware.
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Battery 118 Smith Plotting Room DE  38-46-06, 75-05-14    The below-ground plotting room received inputs from fire control towers and determined the firing solution for the nearby gun battery.  In use from 1943 to 1948.
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Battery 221 Herring DE  38-45-55, 75-04-58     Construction on this six-inch gun battery started 15 Jan 1942 and completed 31 Aug 1943.  On 17 Sep 1942 it was named for Lieutenant Colonel Ralph E. Herring, Coast Artillery Corps, U.S. Army.  It was deactivated in 1948.  The battery structure was taken over by the Navy in 1962 as part of Naval Station Lewes, and a Terminal Equipment Building was constructed adjacent to the front of the battery (since removed).  Navy operations ended 30 Sep 1981.
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Fort Miles Harbor Defense Command Post DE  38-46-30, 75-06-03    The below-ground command post coordinated harbor defense during WWII.
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Battery 20 DE  38-46-49, 75-05-39     A series of four horseshoe-shaped earthen berms sheltered eight-inch guns on railway carriages.  This was a temporary battery used early in WWII.  Portions of the berms were constructed with concrete-filled sandbags, some of which were still noticeable.
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Fire Control Towers 5 and 6 DE  38-44-54, 75-04-52     This property for two towers was acquired 1 Jun 1943.  Tower 5 stood 58' tall and Tower 6 stood 75' tall.  Leases were terminated in 1954 and 1959.
(FC Tower 5 - General view)
(FC Tower 5 - General view)
(FC Tower 5 - General view)
(FC Tower 6 - General view)
(FC Tower 6 - General view)
(FC Tower 6 - General view)

I returned to Rehoboth Beach for a third night.

Monday, 4 May 2015

I checked out of the hotel in Rehoboth Beach and set forth on my own adventure.

Fire Control Towers 3 and 4 DE  38-40-46, 75-04-16     This property for two towers was acquired 1 Jun 1942, and was transferred to the Navy on 3 Nov 1952.  Tower 4 stood 67' tall.  Disposal date unknown.
(FC Tower 3 - General view)
(FC Tower 3 - General view)
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(FC Tower 4 - General view)
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(FC Tower 4 - General view)

Fire Control Tower 2 DE  38-35-19, 75-03-40     This property for a single 57' tower was acquired on 7 Apr 1943, and was transferred to the Navy on 3 Nov 1952.  Disposal date unknown.
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Bethany Beach Fire Control Station #1 DE  38-30-21, 75-03-14     This property for a single 49' tower was acquired on 10 Jul 1943 and used until probably 1948.
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Cape Charles Seaward Extension Shore Station Receiver VA  37-20-48, 75-54-10    From the late 1950s until approximately 1965, this facility received high frequency radio communications from Naval radar picket ships.  A companion transmitter site (not visited) was located several miles away.
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Fort John Custis / Cape Charles AFS VA  (2175, DBFH)  37-08-03, 75-57-20    The coast defense fort was acquired in 1940, and named on 1 Oct 1942 for Captain John Parke Custis, U.S. Army.  In 1950, the Army transferred most of the property to the Air Force, and it served as a long-range radar station until about 1980.  Some Air Force buildings remain, as does the six-inch Battery 228, but my request for access to those areas was denied.

Battery 122 Winslow VA  37.1309, 75.9616   This sixteen-inch gun battery was designated in 1942, for Brigadier General E. Eveleth Winslow, U.S. Army.  It was operational from 1943 to 1948, with two casemated guns.  I was delighted to find a sixteen-inch gun and some projectiles on display in one of the casemates.
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Langley AFB VA  (2164, MUHJ)  37-05-00, 76-22-00   This base has been serving continuously since 1916!  Originally known as Langley Field, in honor of Professor Samuel P. Langley, Regular Army, it was redesignated an Air Force Base on 13 Jan 1948.  Since it's still active I didn't take any photos.  But I did visit the Base Exchange, of course!

Langley Missile Site VA  (2168, SRJZ)  37-05-56, 76-28-42   The BOMARC missile complex was built on part of the former Oyster Point Back-up Ammunition Storage Depot.  As early as 1942, Langley Field used part of the depot for ammunition storage, and in 1950 the entire depot was transferred to Langley AFB control.  In 1959, the ammunition storage function ended and a BOMARC missile site was built.  The missile site operated until about 1972.
(Facility 710 - Assembly and maintenance shop)
(Facility 710 - Assembly and maintenance shop)
(Facility 710 - Assembly and maintenance shop)
(Facility 710 - Assembly and maintenance shop)
(Facility 720 - Heat and power building)
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(Gate leading to launcher area)

I made it to Williamsburg, Virginia, for the night.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

After a night in Williamsburg, I headed out to see two forts.

Fort Hunt VA  38-42-55, 77-03-10    The property was acquired in 1863.  The fort was designated in 1899, in honor of Brevet Major General Henry J. Hunt, U.S. Army.  It was abandoned in 1931.  The Army reused the fort as a Prisoner of War camp during WWII.
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Battery Mount Vernon VA  38.7150, 77.0519   In use from 1900 to 1917; three 8" guns.  Named for the nearby home of President George Washington.
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Battery Porter VA  38.7149, 77.0508  In use from 1902 to 1917; one 5" gun.  Named for 1st Lieutenant James E. Porter, 7th U.S. Cavalry.
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Battery Robinson VA  38.7155, 77.0473   In use from 1902 to 1917; one 5" gun.  Named for 1st Lieutenant Levi H. Robinson, 14th U.S. Infantry.
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Battery Sater VA  38.7154, 77.0481   In use from 1904 to 1920; three 3" guns.  Named for 1st Lieutenant William A. Sater, 18th U.S. Infantry.
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Fort Washington MD  38-42-51, 77-01-36    Acquired in 1808, this was initially Fort Warburton.  It was renamed in 1813, after General George Washington, first President of the U.S.  It was disposed of in 1940, reacquired in 1941, and last used in 1946.
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Battery Andrew Humphreys MD  38.7075, 77.0290   In use from 1899 to 1928; two 10" guns.  Known as Battery "D" until 1900 when it was named for Major General Andrew A. Humphreys, Chief of U.S. Army Engineers.
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Battery Decatur MD  38.7132, 77.0327    In use from 1899 to 1918; two 10" guns.  Known as Battery "B" until 1900 when it was named for Commodore Stephen Decatur, U.S. Navy.
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Battery Emory MD  38.7095, 77.0320    In use from 1899 to 1929; two 10" guns.  Known as Battery "C" until 1900 when it was named for Major General William H. Emory, U.S. Volunteers.
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Battery Joseph Smith MD  38.7055, 77.0293    In use from 1903 to 1920; two 3" guns.  Named for 2d Lieutenant Joseph P. Smith, 5th U.S. Infantry.
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Battery Meigs MD  38.7097, 77.0257   In use from 1902 to 1913; eight 12" mortars.  Named for Brevet Major General Montgomery C. Meigs, U.S. Army.
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Battery White MD  38.7119, 77.0356   In use from 1899 to 1921; two 4" guns.  Named for Major William J.H. White, U.S. Army.
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I stopped for the night in La Plata, Maryland.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

From La Plata I had a two-hour drive north to the airport.   I turned in the rental at BWI, after driving a mere 698 miles on this eight-day adventure.  By dinner time I was home in Denver.


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