Battery Potter

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Battery Potter (1898-1907) - Battery Potter was a masonry and reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Hancock (2), Monmouth County, New Jersey. Originally known as Gun Lift Battery 1. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903, after Brigadier General Joseph H. Potter (Cullum 1188), who served with distinction in the Mexican War and the U.S. Civil War and who died 1 Dec 1902, at Columbus, Ohio. Battery construction started in 1890, was completed in 1894 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 22 Mar 1898 at a cost of $ 357,100.00. Deactivated in 1907.

Fort Hancock, Battery Potter Covered Gun Emplacement #1
Fort Hancock, Battery Potter BC Posts Ruins
Fort Hancock, Battery Potter Entrance

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Southern New York.

Fort Hancock Battery Potter Gun Loading Platform

Originally built as an Endicott Period masonry and concrete coastal gun battery with two 12" M1888 guns mounted on M1891 Gun Lift carriages. The gun lift carriages were the first operational attempt by the U.S. Army to field a disappearing gun carriage. This carriage was a massive steam powered hydraulic ram that raised the gun to the firing position and lowered it into a protective well for loading.

The battery was a three story battery with the gun lift mechanism on the first level along with the magazines. The second level was the gun loading level where the gun was locked and lowered into the protective well, aligned with the loading platform. Shells and powder were brought up to the loading level still on the carts by an elevator system and were then wheeled to the gun breech. After loading, the gun was raised to the firing level, unlocked, aimed and fired.

Fort Hancock Battery Potter Tower Gatling Gun Mounts and Rifle Slits

The complexity and low firing rate of the gun lift carriages proved to be too limiting and the new Buffington-Crozier type gun carriage became the standard disappearing carriage. Battery Potter was the only gun lift battery built. Battery Arrowsmith was started in 1905 to provide bay side coverage previously provided by Battery Potter and even before it was completed the guns and lifts were removed from Battery Potter. After Battery Arrowsmith was completed in 1909, the remaining machinery was removed from Battery Potter and it was listed as abandoned.

This battery was one of the last to use masonry in its construction and to provide for a land side defense structure. The rear entrance to the battery is a castle like structure built of stone taken from the original Third System Fort and it includes internal mounts for Gatling guns and slits for rifleman that sweep the ditch. Endicott Period batteries that followed Battery Potter did not have these features.

Battery Potter Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 440" M1888 2 Watervliet Gun Lift, M1891, #2, Watertown 1898-1907 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 440" M1888 11 Watervliet Gun Lift, M1891, #1, Schneider 1898-1907 See note 1
Source: RCB, 31 Oct 1903, Coast 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 130-131, 207
Note 1: CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Potter Plan

Current Status

Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Hancock Unit. No period guns or mounts in place.

Location: Fort Hancock, Monmouth County, New Jersey

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.466864 Long: -74.0018919

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Visited: 14 Aug 2010

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