Fort Duvall

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Fort Duvall (1917-1974) - An World War I Coastal Fort first established in 1917 as Hog Island Military Reservation on Little Hog Island (now Spinnaker Island), Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Named Fort Duvall in G.O. 12, 1922, Major General William P. Duvall (1847-1920). a graduate of West Point, he was a principal assistant to the Army Chief of Artillery, and served two tours of duty in the Philippines (the second as commander of all Army troops there), where he distinguished himself for his even-handed administration of the islands. Post deactivated in 1974.

Fort Duvall Aerial View May 1924

World War I (1917-1918)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Boston, Massachusetts.

Construction began on the 8.55 acre post in 1919, with the construction of a wharf on the west end of the Island. The wharf was built by contractors starting on 22 Sep 1919 and completed on 4 Feb 1920. The Island was purchased in 1917 along with four existing cottages and a boat house. The engineers used these cottages as quarters and storage while constructing the 16" gun battery, Battery Long. With the completion of the wharf, work started on Battery Long.

Battery Long was completed and the battery accepted for service in 1927. Originally, the battery mounted two M1919 16-inch guns, one MII and one MIII, both on open (surface-mounted) M1919 barbette carriages. There was considerable indecision by the Army about whether Battery Long should receive 12-inch (like Battery Gardner at Fort Ruckman) or 16-inch guns, and in fact both Battery Long and Battery Gardner had both types of base rings built into their concrete work.

All of the existing post structures were also transferred to the quartermaster on 10 May 1927. No additional military construction was done on the post except for a submarine cable terminal building. One of the cottages was set aside as housing for one NCO family that would act as the caretaker. Except for the drill season, the fort remained in the hands of the NCO caretaker.


Fort Duvall World War I Battery (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Long 2 16" Casemated Barbette 1927-1948 $ ? Casemated 1942
Source: CDSG
Fort Duvall Plan


World War II (1941-1945)

Before the beginning of World War II construction started on Battery Long to casemate both of its surface-mounted 16" guns. The construction was completed in 1942. It appears that Battery Long's guns were only fired on two occasions, in August and September, 1942. On the first occasion, the Boston Globe reported that 3,000 residents of Hull were evacuated during the test firing (to avoid the possibility of injury to them). The second firing lead to the reported evacuation of only 2,000.

Cold War (1947–1991)

In 1948 Battery Long was deactivated and processed for salvage. Between 1952 and 1955, Fort Duvall was the site of a 90mm Anti-Aircraft battery protecting Boston. Between 1956-1974 the post was an Army NIKE missile control site B-36 C. Deactivated in 1974.

Current Status

On Spinnaker Island, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Battery Long is built over by a condominium development but one casemate is exposed. This is a private Island with no public access, invitation only.

Location: Spinnaker Island, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.300294 Long: -70.896063

Sources:

  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 398
  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of Boston, Massachusetts, (HDB-AN-45), 31 Jan 1945, CDSG

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