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Battery French (1908-1917) - Battery French was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 6 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Kearny (3), Washington County, Rhode Island. The battery was named in G.O. 194, 27 Dec 1904, after Major General William H. French, U.S. Volunteers (Colonel, 4th U.S. Artillery), who served with distinction during the Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War. Battery construction started in April 1904, was completed in November 1906 and transferred to the Coastal Artillery for use 7 May 1908 at a cost of $ 102,427.64. Deactivated in 1917.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay.
Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with four 6" M1905 guns mounted on M1903 Disappearing carriages. This was a one story battery with each pair of the four gun emplacements sharing a common magazine. The gun loading platforms were slightly raised from the magazine level and reached by a short flight of stairs. No shell or powder hoists were provided. Electric power was provided from an internal power plant in a central set of rooms dividing the two sets of gun emplacements, a latrine was furnished at the rear of emplacement #4.
|1||6" Rifle||302.9"||M1905||25||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1903, #9, Watertown||1908-1917||See note 1|
|1||6" Rifle||302.9"||M1905||24||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1903, #10, Watertown||1908-1917||See note 1|
|1||6" Rifle||302.9"||M1905||26||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1903, #69, Watertown||1908-1917||See note 1|
|1||6" Rifle||302.9"||M1905||23||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1903, #70, Watertown||1908-1917||See note 1|
|Source: RCW Form 1, 15 Jun 1925, Coastal Defense Study Group, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 98-99, 205|
Note 1: CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
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. Battery French was completely disarmed during the World War I redistribution. All four of the guns were ordered dismounted for use abroad 24 Aug 1917, but the carriages were retained. On 4 Dec 1917 all four of the guns were transferred to the Watervliet arsenal. Three of the guns eventually made it to France in 1918 but the fourth remained stateside. All four of the guns were eventually used during World War II in 200 series batteries. All four of the carriages were ordered scrapped on 26 May 1920 as a part of the World War I disarmament program. Battery French remained unarmed until the fort closed.
Part of the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus on Narragansett Bay, Washington County, Rhode Island. No period guns or mounts in place.
Location: Part of the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus on Narragansett Bay, Washington County, Rhode Island. Some emplacement map points approximate.
Maps & Images Lat: 41.490461 Long: -71.422736
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