Battery Spencer

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Battery Spencer (1897-1942) - Battery Spencer was a reinforced concrete Endicott Period 12" gun battery located on Fort Baker (1), Lime Point, Marin County, California. Named in G.O. 16, 14 Feb 1902, after Maj. Gen. Joseph Spencer, a Revolutionary War hero who died 13 jan 1789. Battery construction was begun in 1893, completed in 1897 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 24 Sep 1897 at a total cost of $110,352.70. Deactivated in 1942 during World War II.

Battery Spencer Gun #2
Battery Spencer Gun #3
Battery Spencer Gun Emplacement #2
Battery Spencer BC Station

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of San Francisco. Battery Spencer was a concrete coastal gun battery with three M1888 12" guns mounted on long range Barbette M1892 carriages. It was constructed on top of the five front emplacements of Battery Ridge.

Battery Spencer Outbuildings

Emplacements #1 and #2 were separated by a magazine with two shell rooms, a powder room and a shell hoist room. Emplacement #3 had its own shell room, powder room and hoist room. This was a two story battery with the magazines on the lower level and the gun emplacements on the upper level. The projectiles were originally moved from the magazine level to the loading level with hand powered projectile hoists. These were replaced in 1908 with electric Taylor-Raymond front delivery hoists. The new hoists were accepted for service 30 Sep 1908. There were no powder hoists.

North of Emplacement #1, along the access road, was the BC Post and a separate building that had four rooms, a CO room, a guard room, an oil room and a large 12' by 43' plotting room. On the other side of the road were two other buildings, one housing the tools and rammers and a latrine building with separate facilities for officers and enlisted.

In 1910 the BC post and the plotting room were modified and updated. The work was accepted for service on 5 Aug 1910 at a cost of $ 1680.68.

Battery Spencer Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 12" Rifle 436" M1888 10 Watervliet Barbette Mounts, M1892,
#4, Watertown
1897-1942 See note #1
2 12" Rifle 436" M1888 16 Watervliet Barbette Mounts, M1892,
#1, Watertown
1897-1942 See note #1
3 12" Rifle 436" M1888MI 17 Watervliet Barbette Mounts, M1892,
#5, Watertown
1897-1918 See note #2
Source: RCW Form 1, 1923, CDSG, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, page 136-137, 215
Note #1: Guns and carriages salvaged 19 Nov 1942, CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note #2: Gun transferred to Fort Miley, Battery Chester Carriage ordered salvaged 10 Jan 1927, CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Spencer Plan

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. One gun was removed from emplacement #3 in 1918 and sent to Battery Chester at Fort Miley, it was not replaced and the emplacement was considered abandoned. The carriage remained in place until it was ordered salvaged on 10 Jan 1927.

In 1921 the abandoned emplacement #3 magazine powder room was converted to a power room, with two 25 KW motor-generator sets. The abandoned shell room was converted into a fire control switchboard and the hoist room became a radiator room for the motor generator sets. This work was accepted in July 1921 at a cost of $2,311.50.

World War II (1941-1945)

The remaining two guns and carriages were ordered scrapped 19 Nov 1942 in conjunction with the first large scale scrap drive of World War II.

Current Status

Part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area (GGNRA) administered by the National Park Service. No period guns or carriages are in place. One of the very best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

Location: Fort Baker (1), Lime Point, Marin County, California

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.827894 Long: -122.481913



Visited: 18-20 Aug 2009

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