California State Military Department
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Preserving California's Military Heritage
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Fort Miley: Battery James Chester
by Gordon Chappell
Regional Historian, Pacific West Region
National Park Service
 

On September 23, 1899, an engineer lieutenant cleared and graded a road into the new Point Lobos Military Reservation (later Fort Miley), began clearing the ground, and soon had laid out a battery for two 12-inch guns on Buffington-Crozier 'disappearing' carriages. He also supervised erection of construction buildings and shops.

The two 12-inch rifles, mounted in emplacements 1 and 2 in 1901, were Model 1895 tubes manufactured by Watervliet Arsenal, Serial Numbers 17 and 40, and they were mounted on Model 1897 Buffington-Crozier 'disappearing' carriages Serial Numbers 26 and 27, manufactured by Watertown Arsenal. The new battery was turned over to the Coast Artillery Corps on September 24, 1902. That same year, construction of a third emplacement, this one for a single 12-inch gun on a 'non-disappearing' or barbette carriage, was begun on the south flank of the two -'disappearing' gun emplacements. Completed in 1903, it mounted a Model 1888 Mark II 12-inch tube manufactured by Bethlehem Steel, Serial No. 3, which was carried on a Model 1892 Watertown Arsenal barbette carriage, Serial No. 28. The three emplacements were named on December 27, 1904 "Battery James Chester" in honor of a 3rd Artillery major and Civil War veteran who had died in 1903.

Battery Chester had one gun removed in 1918. It was replaced by a gun from Battery Spencer in 1918. In 1943 the guns at Battery Chester were removed and the battery abandoned. Today, it is opened to the bublic as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is one of the best preserved batteries in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 
 

 
Layout of Battery James Chester, 1919
 
 
Drawings Courtesy of Mark Berhow

 
Battery Chester Today
 

 
 Emplacement1. May 2001

 
Emplcement 2, May 2001

 

 Emplacement 3, May 2001

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