Battery Caswell

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Battery Caswell (1899-1926) - Battery Caswell was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Caswell, Brunswick County, North Carolina. The battery was named in G.O. 134, 1899 after Col. Richard Caswell, first Governor of North Carolina and Revolutionary War veteran. Battery construction started in Apr 1898, was completed in Feb 1899 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 22 May 1899 at a cost of $ 125,993.19. Guns removed in 1926.

Battery Caswell Gun Emplacement #1
Battery Caswell Gun Emplacement #2

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Cape Fear River.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with two 12" M1888MII guns mounted on M1892 Barbette carriages. The battery also contained an emplacement for a single 4.72" rapid fire gun, this emplacement was later renamed Battery Mason (1). Battery Caswell was built into the structure of the old Fort Caswell and as a result much of the old fort was destroyed.

25KW Motor Generator Set Pads for Power Plant in Old Fort Casemate

The battery was a two story battery with the guns on the upper level and the magazines and support rooms on the lower level. The weight of the 12" shells required shell hoists to raise them from the lower level to the loading platform. Two Taylor-Raymond back delivery electric motor driven shell hoists were installed in 1907 replacing the earlier mechanical hoists. Electricity was originally supplied supplied to the battery from a storage battery installed near the central plant and later from an electric plant located in the battery.

Battery Caswell Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 12" Rifle 440" M1888MII 29 Watervliet Barbette, M1892, #15, Morgan 1899-1926 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 440" M1888MII 27 Watervliet Barbette, M1892, #16, Morgan 1899-1926 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Nov 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 136-137
Note 1:
Battery Caswell 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. Battery Caswells gun were not affected by the World War I redistribution. On 22 Jun 1926 both guns were transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground and the carriages were abandoned at Fort Caswell 30 Aug 1926.

Gun Emplacement #2 Swimming Pool Walls

In 1937-38 the 12" gun emplacements in Battery Caswell were sealed and walls built along the open back side of the gun platform to totally enclose the gun platform. These enclosed areas became swimming pools filled with 92 degree mineral water from artesian wells that had been drilled and abandoned 30 years earlier. This was a part of the attempt to make the abandoned fort property into a resort property and the mineral hot springs became quite popular. These pools were in use as late as 1968.

Current Status

On the property of the North Carolina Baptist Assembly. No period guns or mounts in place.


Location: Fort Caswell, Brunswick County, North Carolina

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.892594 Long: -78.016834

Recent Blog Posts:

Sources:

  • Herring, Ethel and Williams, Carolee, Fort Caswell in War and Peace, 2nd Ed., NC Baptist Assembly, Oak Island, NC, 1983-1999, ISBN - 0-9671897-1-3, page 62-63, 91, 106

Links:

Visited: 27 Jan 2010

Battery Caswell Picture Gallery

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