Battery De Russy

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Battery De Russy (1904-1944) - Battery De Russy was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Monroe, Virginia. The battery was named in G.O. 105, 9 Oct 1902 after Colonel René Edward De Russy, U.S. Corps of Engineers, superintending engineer of the construction of Fort Monroe and Fort Calhoun (1), Hampton Roads, Virginia, between 1838 and 1854 and who died on 23 Nov 1865 at San Francisco, California. Renamed Battery G.A. De Russy in G.O. 15, 1909, for Colonel Gustavus A. De Russy, son of Colonel René Edward De Russy. Battery construction started on 20 Jul 1898, was completed in May 1903 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 7 Jun 1904 at a cost of $ 142,348.08. Deactivated in 1944.

Fort Monroe Battery De Russy BC Station
Fort Monroe Battery De Russy Power Room
Fort Monroe, Battery De Russy

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Chesapeake Bay.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with three 12" M1895 guns mounted on M1897 disappearing carriages. This is a two-story battery with the guns mounted on the top level and the magazines located on the lower level. Projectiles and powder were moved from the magazines on the lower level to the loading platform on the upper level by a separate powder and shell hoist for each gun.

The shell hoists were electric motor driven Taylor-Raymond back delivery hoists accepted in 1904. The three type B powder hoists were accepted for service in 1911 but were removed in 1933. The shell hoists were modified for the newer long point shells in 1913-14.

Power for lighting and electric motors was furnished by a power room in the back of emplacements 2 and 3. The power room with two 25KW motor-generator sets was accepted for service 25 May 1905. Two additional auxiliary generator sets were added apparently when retraction motors were added to the disappearing gun carriages.

The battery was modernized in 1908 to widen the platforms and add a BC Station and plotting room in the rear of emplacements 1 and 2.

During a target practice demonstration on 21 Jul 1910, there was a premature explosion in gun #3 before the breech was closed that killed 11 members of the gun crew and wounded 5 others. Among the wounded was Lt. George L. Van Dusen. Some sources indicate that it was the #1 gun but the New York Times indicated that it was the #3 gun.

Battery De Russy Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 444" M1895 37 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #19, Bethlehem 1904-1933 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 444" M1895 35 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #20, Bethlehem 1904-1932 See note 2
3 12" Rifle 444" M1895 36 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #17, Bethlehem 1904-1932 See note 3
Replacement Gun Tubes 1932-1933
? 12" Rifle 444" M1895 35 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #?, Bethlehem 1933-1944 See note 4
? 12" Rifle 444" M1895 29 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #?, Bethlehem 1932-1944 See note 5
? 12" Rifle 444" M1895 38 Watervliet Disappearing, M1897, #?, Bethlehem 1932-1944 See note 6
Source: RCW Form 1, 16 Mar 1938, Coast Defense Study Group, 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, 209
Note 1: Gun transferred to Watervliet 12 May 1933, carriages ordered scrapped 23 Jun 1944. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Gun transferred to Watervliet 16 Mar 1932, carriages ordered scrapped 23 Jun 1944. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 3: Gun transferred to Watervliet 15 Sep 1932, carriages ordered scrapped 23 Jun 1944. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery De Russy 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 De Russy were not included in in the World War I redistribution plans. The gun tubes were all transferred to Watervliet in 1932-33 and two of them were sent to Fort Miles, P.I. Gun tube #35 was relined and sent back to Fort Monroe. Two additional tubes were sent as replacements, it is unclear which gun tube went to which emplacement.

World War II

All of the disappearing carriages were ordered scrapped 23 Jun 1944 and all of the Battery De Russy structures were designated storage areas in December 1945.

Current Status

No period guns or mounts in place. The structures are deteriorating and off-limits to all personnel.

Location: Fort Monroe, Virginia

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.012414 Long: -76.3004002

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  • Elevation: 33.95'

GPS Locations:



Visited: 22 Jul 2010

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