Battery Kearny-Chase

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Battery Kearny-Chase (1901-1942) - Battery Kearny-Chase was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal mortar battery on Fort Preble, Cumberland County, Maine. The battery was originally named Battery Kearny in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903 after Brevet Major Stephen W. Kearny, U.S. Army, who served with distinction in the Mexican-American War and who died 31 Oct 1848, at St. Louis, Missouri. The battery was administratively divided into two batteries by G.O. 20, 25 Jan 1906, which named mortar pits A-C as Battery Constantine Chase after Lt. Colonel Constantine Chase, Artillery Corps, who served with distinction during the U.S. Civil War, and who died 20 Sep 1902. Mortar pits B-D retained the Battery Kearny name. Battery construction started in 1896, was completed in 1901 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 8 Mar 1901 at a cost of $ 226,205.37. Deactivated in 1942.

Battery Kearny-Chase Aerial View

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Portland, Maine.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal mortar battery with sixteen 12" M1890MI mortars mounted on M1896MI mortar carriages divided into four mortar pits (A-D) with four mortars in each pit (1-4). The battery was administratively divided into two batteries in 1906.

Each mortar pit had a data booth at the rear that conveyed azimuth and elevation information to the gun crews and directed the firing. The data booth was connected to the plotting room via telephone. Behind the mortar pits was a concrete magazine that stored the shells and powder. The magazine was protected with a 20' covering of earth. Shells and powder were wheeled from the magazine to the mortar loading platforms on shot carts.

The New York Times, 24 Nov 1901 reported that test firings that week were a "remarkable success" and that local buildings were damaged by the concussion.

Battery Kearny-Chase Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
Battery Kearny Original 16 Mortar Configuration
A1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 30 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #36, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
A2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 33 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #69, Robert Poole 1901-1918 See note 3
A3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 26 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #40, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
A4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 17 Builders Mortar, M1896MI, #57, Robert Poole 1901-1918 See note 3
B1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 34 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #30, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
B2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 44 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #38, Robert Poole 1901-1911 See note 2
B3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 38 Builders Mortar, M1896MI, #14, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
B4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 24 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #43, Robert Poole 1901-1911 See note 2
C1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 19 Builders Mortar, M1896MI, #77, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
C2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 36a Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #72, Robert Poole 1901-1918 See note 3
C3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 37 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #78, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
C4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 20 Builders Mortar, M1896MI, #73, Robert Poole 1901-1919 See note 4
D1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 47 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #33, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
D2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 10 Niles Mortar, M1896MI, #32, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
D3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 45 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #49, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
D4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 36b Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #31, Robert Poole 1901-1918 See note 3
Battery Kearny Final 4 Mortar Configuration
A1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 30 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #36, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
A2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 26 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #40, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
B1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 19 Builders Mortar, M1896MI, #77, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
B2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 37 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #78, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
Battery Chase Final 2 Mortar Configuration
A1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 47 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #33, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
A2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 45 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #49, Robert Poole 1901-1942 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1,1 Dec 1920, RCB, 31 Dec 1903, 1 Dec 1910, 1 Dec 1916, CDSG, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 140-143.
Note 1: Guns and carriages ordered scrapped 15 Dec 1942. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Guns and carriages removed to West Point 18 Jan 1911. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 3: Guns and carriages removed to Morgan 24 May 1918. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 4: Guns and carriages removed to Morgan 14 May 1919. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Kearny Plan
Battery Chase 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. Six mortars (4 from Battery Chase and 2 from Battery Kearny) were ordered dismounted and prepared for shipment on 3 May 1918. Five of the mortars were transferred to Morgan on 24 May 1918 and one was transferred to Morgan on 14 May 1919.

World War II

The remaining mortars in Battery Kearny and Battery Chase were obsolete at the beginning of World War II. The mortars and carriages were ordered scrapped on 15 Dec 1942.

Current Status

Now on the campus of Southern Maine Community College. These batteries are buried under new construction. No period guns or mounts in place.


Location: Fort Preble, Cumberland County, Maine

Maps & Images

Lat: 43.64724 Long: -70.227882

Sources:

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

Links:

Visited: No



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