Battery Reynolds (1898-1920) - Battery Reynolds was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal mortar battery on Fort Hancock (2), New Jersey. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 may 1903, after Col. John F. Reynolds (Cullum 1084), 5th U.S. Infantry, Major General, U.S. Volunteers, who served with distinction during the Mexican War and who was killed 1 Jul 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennysylvania. G.O. 20, 25 Jan 1906, renamed half of the mortar battery, Battery McCook, for MG Alexander McCook, U.S. Army, who served with distinction during the U.S. Civil War, and who died 12 Jun 1903. Battery construction started in 1891, was completed in 1894 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 22 Mar 1898 at a cost of $ 138,371.50. Deactivated in 1920.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Southern New York.
Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal mortar battery with sixteen 12" M1896M mortars mounted on M1891 carriages. This was a one story mortar battery with four mortar pits (A-D) with four mortars in each pit. The battery was administratively divided into two batteries in 1906. Pits B and D became Battery McCook and pits A and C remained Battery Reynolds pits A and B.
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. None of the mortar tubes at either Battery Reynolds or Battery McCook was listed for service abroad but four of them (one from each mortar pit) were designated and transferred to the new mortar battery at Navsink in the New Jersey Highlands Military Reservation.
All of the Mortars and carriages were ordered scrapped on 26 May 1920 as a part of the 1920 disarmament program. This included the four mortars on the Highlands Military Reservation.
In 1921 a protected fire control switchboard was built into the corridor leading to the old powder magazines of the abandoned Battery McCook. The switchboard was transferred for service 2 Sep 1922 at a total cost of $ 14,189.07. This installation was further upgraded in 1936 and in 1943.
In 1943 the battery structure and the protected fire control switchboard were altered to house a Harbor Defense Command Post (HDCP) at a cost of $ 41,626.27. The HDCP grew to occupy the complete corridor between Battery Reynolds and Battery McCook and included the corridor between pits A and B in old Battery McCook.
Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Hancock Unit. No period mortars or mounts in place and the two B mortar pits remain accessible to the public.
Visited: 14 Aug 2010