Battery Osceola

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Battery Osceola (1900-1943) - Battery Osceola was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Taylor (2), Florida. The battery was named in G.O. 43, 4 Apr 1900 after Osceola, the Seminole Indian chief who Zachary Taylor battled in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. Battery construction started Jun 1898, was completed Aug 1899 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 3 Feb 1900 at a cost of $ 112,951.48. Deactivated in 1943.

Battery Osceola Armed 1930s U.S. Navy photo from Monroe County Library
Battery Osceola Emplacement #1
Battery Osceola

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Key West.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with two 12" M1888MI1/2 guns mounted on M1892 Barbette carriages. The Battery was a two story battery with the guns located on the upper level and the magazines below. The weight of the 12" shells require that shell hoists be used to transport the shells from the magazine up to the guns. The shell hoists originally provided were electric motor driven chain hoists manufactured by Ellicott Machine Company.

Battery Osceola Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 439.92" M1888MI1/2 23 Watervliet Barbette, M1892, #11, Morgan 1900-1943 See note 1
2 12" Rifle 439.92" M1888MI1/2 39 Watervliet Barbette, M1892, #10, Morgan 1900-1943 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 30 Sep 1921, 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 136-137, 211
Note 1: Guns and carriages salvaged 11 Dec 1943. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Osceola 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. Battery Osceola's guns were not affected by the World War I redistribution.

Battery Osceloa Shell Hoists

The original shell hoists were replaced in 1918 with Taylor-Raymond back delivery electric hoists. The battery was also modified to handle the newer long point shells. The new hoists were accepted 31 Jan 1918.

In 1921 a splinterproof room was added to the platform between the guns and a reserve power plant was added to the power room. The changes were accepted in June 1921.

World War II

The 12" guns of Battery Osceola were obsolete by the time World War II began and late in 1943 the guns and carriages were scrapped.

Current Status

No period guns or mounts in place.

Location: Fort Taylor, Key West, Monroe County, Florida

Maps & Images

Lat: 24.5474355 Long: -81.8099231

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  • Elevation: 33.35'

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Visited: 27 Dec 2009

Battery Osceola Picture Gallery

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