Spanish American War Emergency 8-Inch Seacoast Batteries

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Fort Popham Endicott Period 8" Battery.
Fort Adams Endicott Period 8" Battery.

While the construction of many Endicott Period gun batteries was well underway in 1898 the number of operational batteries was not deemed sufficient to deter an attack by the Spanish fleet as war with Spain approached. From the emergency funds appropriated in the National Defense Act of 9 Mar 1898, the U.S. Army Engineering Department was allotted $ 5,585,000 to prepare temporary and permanent gun batteries and torpedo (mine) defenses against the Spanish threat.

Among the emergency projects was one to install 26, 8-inch breechloading M1888 guns along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Of that number, 21 were to be mounted on modified 15" Rodman carriages and 5 were to be mounted on the more current 8-inch barbette carriages, M1892. The urgency of the situation apparently precluded the use of the then state-of-the-art disappearing carriages.

The list of batteries contemplated for construction is below. Some reached the point of having guns mounted before work was halted in January 1899. Some of the battery structures can still be seen while others no longer exist. The St. John's Bluff 8" Battery still exists and has been turned over to the National Park Service but is not yet open to the public (2021).

Spanish American War M1888 8-inch BL Rifle Batteries
Fort Location State No. Carriage Notes
Fort Popham Near Bath, ME ME 1 Rodman 15" SN 15
Fort Adams (1) Newport RI 1 Rodman 15"
Fort Slocum (2) Davids Island NY 1 Rodman 15" Battery Practice
Fort Clinch (1) Amelia Island FL 1 Rodman 15"
Fort Sabine MR Sabine Pass TX 1 Rodman 15"
Fort Stark Jerry's Point MR NH 2 Rodman 15"
Fort Tyler (1) Gardiners Point Island NY 2 Rodman 15"
Fort Wadsworth (1) Staten Island NY 2 Rodman 15"
Fort Fremont Port Royal SC 2 Rodman 15"
St. John's Bluff 8" Battery St. John's River, Jacksonville FL 2 Rodman 15" St. John's Bluff 8" Battery
Fort Dade (3) Tampa Bay FL 2 Rodman 15"
Fort Gaines (1) Dauphin Island AL 2 Rodman 15"
Fort Jackson (2) Triumph LA 2 Rodman 15" Water Battery
Fort Monroe Old Point Comfort VA 4 M1892 Barbette Battery Parapet
Fort Pulaski Cockspur Island GA 1 M1892 Barbette


  • Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 3rd Edition - PDF, CDSG ePress, McLean, VA, 2012, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, page 214, 182-183.
  • Report of the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War With Spain, Vol. 7 of 8, U.S. Senate Document 221, 56th Congress, 1st Session, GPO, Washington, 1900, pages 3777-3781. (Google Books)
  • Preservation Efforts - Spanish-American War Battery at St. John's Bluff, Jacksonville, Florida, Coast Defense Study Group News, Vol. 2, No. 4, May 1988, page 4.

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