Battery Lancaster

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Battery Lancaster (1901-1918) - Battery Lancaster is a reinforced concrete Endicott Period 12" gun battery located on Fort Winfield Scott (2), California. Named in G.O. 16, 14 Feb 1902, for Lt Col. James M. Lancaster, 3rd U.S. Artillery, who died at Fort Monroe 5 Oct 1900. Battery construction for gun emplacement #3 started Oct 1896, was completed in 1898 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use Jun 1899 at a total cost of $75,000. Battery construction for gun emplacements #1 and #2 started in Sep 1898, was completed in 1900 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use Apr 1900 at a cost of $ 107,409.04. Battery deactivated in 1918 when the guns were removed.

Battery Lancaster Emplacement #1
Battery Lancaster Emplacement #1
Fort Winfield Scott Battery Lancaster Looking North Over Emplacement #1

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of San Francisco.

Battery Lancaster

Battery Lancaster was a concrete gun battery with three 12" guns, two M1895 guns and one M1888MI1/2 gun. The two M1895 guns were mounted on M1897 disappearing carriages while the M1888MI1/2 was mounted on an M1896 disappearing carriage. Gun emplacements #1 and #2 did not require shell hoists because the ammunition was stored on the loading level of the guns. Emplacement #3 was a two story gun battery and required a shell hoist but had no powder hoist.

In 1899, a plotting room was built behind the traverse between gun emplacements #1 and #2. It was accepted 14 Jun 1899, modified, and accepted again 27 Apr 1900. In 1911, a BC Station was built atop the traverse between gun emplacements #1 and #2 and accepted for service 7 Mar 1911.

In 1908, the manual shell hoist in gun emplacement #3 was replaced with an electric Taylor-Raymond front loading shell hoist and the hoist mechanism was modified for the newer long point shells. The new hoist was accepted for service 30 Sep 1908. By 1909 each of the carriages had been fitted with one, four horsepower, electric motor for elevating, depressing and retracting the gun. Gun emplacement #1 was also fitted with a four horsepower electric traversing motor.

Battery Lancaster Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 5 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897,
#7, Robert Poole
1900-1918 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 8 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897,
#6, Robert Poole
1900-1918 See note 1
3 12" Rifle 440" M1888MI1/2 40 Watervliet Disappearing, M1896,
#23, Morgan
1899-1918 See note 2
Source: Form 1, 1 Mar 1920, 1 Sep 1923, RCB, 31 Dec 1903, 31dec 1909, CDSG, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 138-139, 148-149, 215
Note 1: Guns removed 15 May 1918, carriages salvaged 8 Mar 1933, CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Gun transferred to Fort Miley, Battery Chester, 26 May 1918, carriage salvaged 8 Mar 1933, CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Lancaster Plan 1919

World War I (1917-1918)

On 26 May 1918 the two M1895 guns were reported shipped to the Watervliet Arsenal for modifications necessary for service overseas. Both guns arrived at Watervliet but the war ended before the guns could be modified and shipped overseas, they were not returned to Battery Lancaster. The third gun, M1888MI1/2 was shipped to Fort Miley, Battery Chester where it remained until it was ordered salvaged on 24 Jul 1943. The battery was deactivated and used for wartime reserve ammunition storage for active gun batteries.

About 1935-36 the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza resulted in the destruction of most of the battery and required the relocation of the wartime reserve ammunition. In 1938 the Bridge Authority built a central magazine on Rob Hill for the Army to replace the lost storage capacity.

Current Status

Part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area (GGNRA) administered by the National Park Service. Gun emplacement #1 is visible and incorporated into the pedestrian walkway by the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. Gun Emplacement #2 was destroyed and the remains are covered by the toll plaza. Gun emplacement #3 has some of the west side of the battery showing on the west side of the toll plaza but it is mostly destroyed and buried. No period guns or carriages in place.

Location: Fort Winfield Scott, California

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.8080717 Long: -122.4761626

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  • Elevation: #1 178', #2 184', #3 194



Visited: 22 Aug 2009

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