Battery Torbert

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Battery Torbert (1901-1940) - Battery Torbert was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Delaware, New Castle County, Delaware. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903, after Capt. Alfred T.A. Torbert (Cullum 1697), 5th U.S. Infantry, major general, U.S. Volunteers, who served with distinction during the U.S. Civil War and who was drowned at sea 8 Aug 1880. Battery construction started 11 Dec 1894, was completed 19 Oct 1900 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 18 Apr 1901 at a cost of $ 350,000.00. Deactivated in 1940.

Fort Delaware, Battery Torbert

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of the Delaware.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with three 12" M1895 guns mounted on M1896 disappearing carriages. This was a three story battery built within the walls of the old Third System fort. The guns were mounted on the upper level and the magazines were located below. Three Hodges back delivery electric shell hoists brought the shells from the magazine level to the gun loading platform. No powder hoists were provided. Electric power for the shell hoists, gun retraction motors and lighting came from a power plant in Battery Torbert.

The gun tubes were all mounted in March 1900.

Battery Torbert Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 15 Watervliet Disappearing, M1896,
#13, Watertown
1901-1940 See note 1
Mounted 14 Mar 1900
2 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 18 Watervliet Disappearing, M1896,
#14, Watertown
1901-1940 See note 1
Mounted 24 Mar 1900
3 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 20 Watervliet Disappearing, M1896,
#15, Watertown
1901-1940 See note 1
Mounted 5 Mar 1900
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Sep 1922, 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, 208
Note 1: Guns transferred to Watervliet 7 Dec 1940, carriages ordered scrapped 28 Jan 1941. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Torbert Plan

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. The guns of Battery Torbert were not affected by either the World War I redistribution or the following 1920 disarmament program.

The Hodges back delivery shell hoists were replaced in 1919 by three Taylor-Raymond electric front delivery shell hoists that were accepted for service on 18 Jun 1919. The shell hoists were also modified for the newer long point shells.

World War II

The guns were transferred to Watervliet Arsenal on 7 Dec 1940 and were later shipped to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The carriages were ordered scrapped 28 Jan 1941 but were actually scrapped in March 1943.

Current Status

Battery not open to the public. No period guns or mounts in place.

Location: Fort Delaware, Pea Patch Island, New Castle County, Delaware

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.589311 Long: -75.567194

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  • Elevation: 50.11'

Recent Blog Posts:


  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of The Delaware, (HDDEL-AN-45), 1 Jul 1945, CDSG


Visited: 6 Aug 2010

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