Fort Terry (1898-1946) - An Endicott Period Coastal Fort first established in 1898 on Plum Island, Suffolk County, New York. Named in G.O. 134, 22 Jul 1899, after Major General Alfred H. Terry, U.S. Army. Abandoned in 1946.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Long Island Sound.
Land for the Military Reservation at Plum Island was purchased in two sections, the first section of 193 acres was acquired on 24 Feb 1897 and the second section of 647 acres was acquired on 24 Jun 1901.
The first four Endicott Period gun batteries, Battery Stoneman, Battery Steele, Battery Bradford and Battery Kelly, were started in 1897-1898 on the initial section of land and were completed in 1900-1901. The second set of seven Endicott Period gun batteries was begun in 1902-1903 after the second parcel of land was acquired. Battery Floyd, Battery Dimick, Battery Hagner, Battery Eldridge, Battery Dalliba, Battery Greble, and Battery Campbell were completed in 1905-1906.
Post construction followed battery construction and the first set of post buildings was completed in 1899 for a very small garrison. The initial set of buildings included two duplex officer quarters, two duplex NCO quarters, one 65 man enlisted barracks, an admin building and a guard house. As the second set of batteries came on line the capacity of the post increased proportionally and by 1912 five more enlisted barracks were constructed with a capacity of 744 enlisted personnel. Officer housing expanded from two duplex units to eight units and a four family apartment building. Married NCO housing expanded from two units to ten units most of which were duplex units.
With the increased post population additional support buildings were required. A post exchange, a new bakery and hospital were among the new buildings added. By 1912 the post was essentially complete and very few permanent buildings were added after that.
In May of 1918 four of Battery Stoneman's mortars were ordered dismounted and prepared for shipment. This left each mortar pit with the two rear mortars, reducing crowding in the pits and the manpower required to salvo the battery.
A number of Fort Terry structures were damaged by the Great New England Hurricane on 21 Sep 1938. This hurricane killed over 600 people on Long Island and rolled right over Long Island Sound. Most of the Quartermaster records for post buildings are annotated with "9 21 1938 Damaged by storm" and several permanent buildings, including one barracks, disappear from the records at this point in time. Battery Eldridge was severely damaged and approved for abandonment on 12 May 1939 with the guns to be kept in storage.
By June 1940 the Quartermaster reports most of the post buildings as "Habitable only after the expenditure of considerable funds for rehabilitation." Many of the support buildings were listed as unusable. One year later, in Jun 1941, the report shows all the permanent barracks in good condition and the addition of eleven temporary WWII type 63 man barracks. Five temporary mess halls, four admin buildings and numerous support and recreation buildings also appear, all in preparation for the coming war.
At the beginning of World War II there were only five operational Endicott Period batteries, all of them were obsolete and two of them were quickly scrapped. Battery Steele was the first to go followed by Battery Stoneman and later Battery Bradford. Even the two 3" batteries, Battery Eldridge and Battery Dalliba did not make it all the way through the war. By the end of the war all of the Endicott Period batteries had been removed from the Harbor defense project.
Two new batteries were added to modernize the Fort's defenses, Battery 217 and Battery AMTB 911, both designed to combat small high speed motor torpedo boats and smaller craft that might get past the larger batteries at the harbor entrances. Both of these batteries were completed in 1943 and along with the two existing 3" batteries made up Plum Island's defenses until the end of the war.
The temporary post construction in 1940-1941 had built out the capacity of the fort so that it could support 51 officers, 16 NCOs and 1471 enlisted men.
During the war the post functioned as a training camp, and supply depot for submarines and patrol craft in addition to its harbor defense role. After the end of the war the post became a temporary demobilization center for returning troops and was finally abandoned by the Army in 1946 and declared surplus in 1948.
Now designated Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) operated by U.S. DHS. No period guns or mounts in place.