Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Mason: Point
San Jose Batteries
West Battery, Point
San Jose, October 2000
As an emergency response to the Civil
War, the United States Army built a twelve-gun, two battery fortification
at the Point San Jose Military Reservation (also known locally
as Black Point) in 1864. These two batteries, known as East and
West Batteries, Point San Jose, served as a back up to fortifications
at Fort Point and Alcatraz.
Each battery was to have six guns. By
the end of May 1864 the batteries were considered complete and
ready for armament. Six 10-inch Rodmans were mounted in West
Battery by June 30, 1864, and six 42-pounder banded rifles were
mounted at East Battery, shortly after that date. Mounted on
wooden platforms behind brick and earth walls, the 10-inch Rodmans
could fire a 124 pound cannonball up to two and a half miles.
In 1869 the U.S. government approved a
plan to build a permanent fortification at Point San Jose. The
plan called for a large fortification, enclosed by an earthen
parapet that included the existing batteries. However, this plan
was never a high priority and appropriations were curtailed before
construction on the fortification could begin. The "temporary"
East and West batteries continued to be the point's only defense
for the next 30 years, and rifled Rodmans were emplaced at these
batteries during the Spanish American War of 1898.
East Battery was partly demolished in
1911 when the San Francisco Fire Department pump station was
built at the foot of the bluff below it. It is estimate about
60% remains buried in the backyard of Fort Mason's Quarters 4
while the West Battery was covered with earth and plantings and
lay hidden for 70 years. In 1982 the,
donated funds and community support enabled the National Park
Service to undertake the excavation and restoration of the West
Fort Mason, Circa 1899-1901,
Fourth of July salute from two 8-inch Muzzle Loading Rifles located
at Battery West. Lucinda and Danielson Photographic Collection.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Archives, San Francisco,