Battery Sumner

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Battery Sumner (1899-1917) - Battery Sumner was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 8 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Totten (3), New York. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903, after BG Jethro Sumner, Continental Army, who served in the Revolutionary War and who died about 1790 in Warren County, North Carolina. Battery construction started in 1897, was completed on 4 Mar 1900 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 4 Mar 1900 at a cost of $ 45,000.00. Deactivated in 1917.

Fort Totten, Battery Sumner Gun Emplacement #1
Fort Totten, Battery Sumner Gun Emplacement #1 Entrance
Fort Totten Battery Sumner Gun Emplacement #1

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Eastern New York.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with one 8" M1888MI gun, mounted an M1894 disappearing carriage and one 8" M1888MII gun, mounted an M1896 disappearing carriage.

Battery Sumner, Battery Mahan and Battery Graham formed a single battery as far as construction was concerned and they formed the main gun line at Fort Totten (3). Battery Sumner's two 8" gun emplacements were place at either end of the main gun line. All six of the gun emplacements of the main gun line were originally known as Battery Mahan, and so named in 1900. In 1903 the main gun line was administratively divided into the three named batteries.

Battery Sumner was a two story battery with the guns on the upper level and the magazines on the lower level. Two back delivery Taylor-Raymond shell hoists were provided to move the shells from the magazine level to the gun loading platform. No powder hoists were provided. Electric power for the lights and shell hoists was provided by the post power plant.

Battery Sumner Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 8" Rifle 278.5" M1888MI 30 Watervliet Disappearing, M1894, #12, Morgan 1899-1917 See note 1
2 8" Rifle 278.5" M1888MII 51 Watervliet Disappearing, M1896, #5, Pond 1899-1917 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 15 Apr 1920, 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 108-111, 207
Note 1: Guns transferred to Watervliet 12 Dec 1917, carriages scrapped in May 1918. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA

World War I

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. Both of Battery Sumner's guns were ordered dismounted for use abroad 24 Aug 1917 and by 18 Jul 1918 they were reported transferred. The guns were actually transferred to Watervliet 12 Dec 1917. Gun # 51 ended up in Canada but gun # 30 did not make it overseas. Battery Sumner was not rearmed. Both carriages were scrapped in May 1918.

Current Status

No period guns or mounts in place.

Location: Fort Totten, Queens County, New York

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.79591 Long: -73.778021

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Elevation: Gun #1=81.917', Gun #2=81.474'



Visited: 21 Aug 2010

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