Battery Blair

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Battery Blair (1903-1943) - Battery Blair was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Williams (1), Cumberland County, Maine. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903, after Major General Frank P. Blair, U.S. Volunteers, who served with distinction during the U.S. Civil War and who died 9 Jul 1875 at St. Louis, Missouri. Battery construction started in 1901, was completed in 1903 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 31 Jul 1903 at a cost of $ 127,845.44. Deactivated in 1943.

Battery Blair Gun Emplacement #2
Battery Blair Upper Level Room
Battery Blair

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Portland, Maine.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with two 12" M1895 guns mounted on M1897 Disappearing carriages. This was a two story battery with the guns located on the upper level and the magazines below. Shells were moved from the magazine level to the gun loading platform by two Taylor-Raymond shell hoists. No powder hoists were provided. Electrical power was furnished by the emplacement power plant and the central power plant.

Battery Blair Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 14 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #33, Midvale 1903-1943 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 442.56" M1895 11 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #32, Midvale 1903-1943 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 31 May 1919, CDSG, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 148-149
Note 1: Guns transferred to Watervliet 1 Mar 1944, carriages ordered scrapped 10 Feb 1944. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Blair Plan


World War I (1917-1918)

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 Blair were not affected by the World War I redistribution or the following 1920 disarmament program.

World War II (1941-1945)

Battery Blair was a part of the Harbor Defenses of Portland plan until 31 Dec 1943 and was ordered salvaged on that date. The guns were transferred to Watervliet 1 Mar 1944, the carriages were ordered scrapped 10 Feb 1944.

Current Status

Part of Fort Williams City Park. No period guns or mounts in place. Battery Blair emplacement #1 is totally buried with only traces of the concrete showing. Emplacement #2 is buried up to the gun loading platform level, completely covering the magazine level.


Location: Fort Williams, Cumberland County, Maine

Maps & Images

Lat: 43.622287 Long: -70.210013

Sources:

  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of Portland, Maine, (HDPB-AN-45), 11 Apr 1945, CDSG

Links:

Visited: 15 Jun 2012



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