Battery Ernst (1899-1900, 1911-1946) - Battery Rudolph Ernst was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period, 3 inch, rapid fire, coastal gun battery on Fort Travis (2), Texas. The battery was named in G.O. 194, 27 Dec 1904 after 2nd Lt. Rudolph F. Ernst, 6th U.S. Infantry, who died 22 Sep 1847, of wounds received in action during the Mexican-American War. Battery construction started in January 1899, was completed 25 Nov 1899 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 31 Mar 1900 at a cost of $ 30,000. The Battery was damaged by the 1900 Galveston hurricane and was rebuilt between 1901 and 1907 and was accepted for service 21 Aug 1911 at a cost of $ 38,566.36. Deactivated in 1946.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Galveston.
Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with three rapid fire 3" M1898 Driggs-Seabury guns mounted on M1898 balanced pillar carriages. The 1900 Galveston hurricane damaged the battery and the guns and mounts were replaced with three rapid fire 3" M1903 guns mounted on M1903 Barbette carriages.
At the time of the 1900 Galveston hurricane the battery was complete and accepted for service. The hurricane damaged the battery and left it suspended on its pilings. The battery was repaired and the sand ramparts restored between 1901 and 1906 and the guns replaced. Fort Travis (2) was not re-garrisoned until 1911 when instability in Mexico made Fort Crockett a major staging area. The battery was not accepted for service until 21 Aug 1911.
The U.S. entry into World War I resulted in a widespread removal of large caliber coastal defense gun tubes for service in Europe. Many of the gun and mortar tubes removed were sent to arsenals for modification and mounting on mobile carriages, both wheeled and railroad. Most of the removed gun tubes never made it to Europe and were either remounted or remained at the arsenals until needed elsewhere. The gun tubes at Battery Ernst escaped both the redistribution during the war and the disarmament program following the war.
Battery Ernst remained active during World War II but the guns and carriages were declared obsolete 18 Nov 1945 and were processed for salvage 27 May 1946.
Part of Fort Travis Seashore Park, a Galveston County Park. The battery structure survives, no period guns or mounts in place.
Visited: 12 Nov 2009