Battery Center (1901-1920) - Battery Center was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 3 inch coastal gun battery on Fort McRee, Escambia County, Florida. The battery was named in G.O. 16, 14 Feb 1902, after Lt. John P. Center, adjutant, 6th U.S. Infantry, who was killed in the battle of Okechobee, Florida, 25 Dec 1837, during the Second Seminole War. Battery construction started in 1899, was completed in 1901 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 12 May 1901 at a cost of $ 20,603.84. Deactivated in 1920.
Endicott Period (1890-1910)
Part of the Harbor Defense of Pensacola.
Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with four 3" M1898MI guns mounted on M1898 Masking Parapet mounts. 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 hand No shell or powder hoists were provided. Electrical power was furnished by the emplacement power plant.
A killer hurricane struck the post in September 1906 with 85 mile per hour winds and a surge 12' above the normal high tide, covering Fosters Bank. Several military members and several dependents were swept away and lost their lives. Survivors were forced to cling to roof tops and a disintegrating water tank overnight. Battery Center had damage to three of the four gun emplacement, emplacement #4 had to be rebuilt and the others were repaired. The engineers took the opportunity to expand Battery Center and move the emplacements further apart. The rework of Battery Center was completed in 1910. The difference can be seen in the two plans below.
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 Center were not affected by the World War I redistribution but the following 1920 disarmament program declared the battery obsolete and the guns were transferred to Watervliet 20 Aug 1920 and the carriages ordered scrapped 20 May 1920.
Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Perdido Key. Open access to all of the Fort McRee area. The ruins of Battery Center can be seen but are mostly buried in sand, two of the four emplacements are visible above the sand but most of the battery is buried. Normal access to the site is by boat but it is possible to hike along Perdido Key to the fort site. The fort is about five miles from the end of the nearest park road. No period guns or mounts in place.
Recent Blog Posts:
Visited: 26 Apr 2013