Battery Rodney-Best

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Battery Rodney-Best (1900-1942) - Battery Rodney-Best was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal mortar battery on Fort DuPont (1), Delaware. The battery was first named in G.O. 16, 14 Feb 1902 after Caesar Rodney, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, major general of Delaware Militia, and delegate to the Continental Congress. The battery was administratively split in 1906 with half of the battery retaining the Battery Rodney name and the other half renamed by G.O. 20, 25 Jan 1906, after Major Clermont L. Best, Artillery Corps, who served with distinction during the Spanish-American War, and who died 14 Apr 1903. Battery construction started 30 Jul 1897, was completed in August 1899 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 2 May 1900 at a cost of $ 217,721.31. Deactivated in 1942.

Fort DuPont, Battery Rodney-Best Pit Entrance now an Operations Center
Fort DuPont, Battery Rodney-Best Magazine Entrance
Fort DuPont, Battery Rodney-Best Data Booth

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of the Delaware.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal mortar battery with sixteen 12" M1890MI mortars mounted on M1896 mortar carriages. The battery was built as a single battery with sixteen mortars configured into four mortar pits (A,B,C,D) with four mortars in each pit. Originally named Battery Rodney in 1902, the battery was administratively split in 1906 into two batteries named Battery Best and Battery Rodney, each having two mortar pits (A,B) with four mortars in each.

Battery Rodney-Best Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
Battery Rodney (1910)
A1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 30 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896, #84, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
A2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 27 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896, #83, Robert Poole 1900-1918 See note 2
A3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 13 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #58, Southwark 1900-1941 See note 1
A4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 9 Builders Mortar, M1896, #56, Robert Poole 1900-1918 See note 2
B1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 10 Builders Mortar, M1896, #88, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
B2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 3 Builders Mortar, M1896, #76, Robert Poole 1900-1918 See note 2
B3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 6 Builders Mortar, M1896, #89, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
B4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 4 Builders Mortar, M1896, #87, Robert Poole 1900-1918 See note 2
Battery Best (1910)
C1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 96 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #59, Southwark 1900-1941 See note 1
C2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 92 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #103, Providence 1900-1914 See note 3
C3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 94 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #90, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
C4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 98 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #107, Providence 1900-1914 See note 3
D1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 118 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #108, Providence 1900-1941 See note 1
D2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 119 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #118, American Hoist 1900-1914 See note 3
D3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 75 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #105, Providence 1900-1941 See note 1
D4 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 62 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #106, Providence 1900-1914 See note 3
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Sep 1922, RCB, 31 Dec 1903, 31 Dec 1910, 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, 208
Note 1: Carriages ordered scrapped 4 Nov 1942, guns ordered scrapped 13 Apr 1943. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Shipped to Fort Rosecrans 1918. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 3: Shipped to Fort Ruger in Hawaii 1914. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Best Plan
Battery Rodney 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. No indication that the remaining eight mortars were considered for overseas deployment or that they were involved in the 1920 disarmament program.

The mortar battery configuration was further complicated when each mortar pit was reduced to two mortars to reduce crowding and manpower requirements. Four mortars were sent in 1914 from Battery Best to Fort Ruger in Diamond Head Crater, Hawaii and four more were sent to Fort Rosecrans in 1918.


Battery Rodney-Best Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
Battery Rodney (1922)
A1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 30 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896, #84, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
A3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 13 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #58, Southwark 1900-1941 See note 1
B1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 10 Builders Mortar, M1896, #88, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
B3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 6 Builders Mortar, M1896, #89, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
Battery Best (1922)
C1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 96 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #59, Southwark 1900-1941 See note 1
C3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 94 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #90, Robert Poole 1900-1941 See note 1
D1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 118 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #108, Providence 1900-1941 See note 1
D3 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 75 Watervliet Mortar, M1896, #105, Providence 1900-1941 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Sep 1922, RCB, 31 Dec 1903, 31 Dec 1910, 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, 208
Note 1: Carriages ordered scrapped 4 Nov 1942, guns ordered scrapped 13 Apr 1943. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA

World War II

By the start of World War II, the mortar batteries were obsolete but they remained in place until the first large scale scrap drive of World War II in the fall of 1942. The mortar carriages were ordered scrapped on 4 Nov 1942. The gun tubes were first ordered scrapped on 13 Apr 1943 but that may not have happened until 4 Jul 1945.

Current Status

No period guns or mounts in place.


Location: Fort DuPont, New Castle County, Delaware

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.5713508 Long: -75.5814528

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 6 Aug 2010



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