Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Rosecrans: Battery John White
An M1890M Seacoast Mortar being delivered to Battery John White
Battery John White
by Justin M. Ruhge

To protect the west side or ocean side of Point Loma from enemy attack, two mortar batteries were planned north of Battery Wilkeson but on the east side or bay side. At the end of 1915 work began on two mortar batteries of four mortars in two pits each. The design was somewhat similar to Battery Howe at Fort Funston. Battery White was constructed in a deep ravine called "Power House Canyon" behind the post and Battery Whistler was constructed near the northern boundary of the reservation.
For Battery John White the 4 12-inch mortars were Model 1890M Nos. 3, 4, 9, and 27. The first three were made by BIF, Providence Rhode Island and the fourth by Bethlehem Iron. The carriages were Model 1896M Nos. 56, 76, 83, and 87 and made by R. Poole and Son.
Battery White was named in honor of Colonel John Vassar White, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and a veteran of the Artillery Corps.
Although the engineers completed construction in 1916, the mortars and their carriages were delayed in arriving. They were mounted on December 31, 1917. The mortars were proof-fired at the end of 1918. The batteries were officially transferred from the engineers to the commanding officer of the Coast Defense of San Diego in August 1919.
Corps of Engineers drawing for Battery John White, 1915. National Archives, RG 77, Fortifications Files, Drawer 102, Sheet 54-3.
Construction of Battery White shown Here on 4-17-1916. Note horse drawn scrapers in background and Model T Truck in lower left.
Completed emplacements awaiting guns on October 25, 1916. Note Powerhouse at lower right. Photographs courtesy of the Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District.

A 1930s aerial photograph of Battery White. Courtesy of the Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District.
Loading the 12-Inch Mortars. Image courtesy of Mr. Joseph Janesic
Target Practice At Battery White, July 22, 1936. Courtesy of the San Diego Historical Society, San Diego, NT-4281.
Aerial view of Battery John White (top right) and Batteries Calef and Wilkeson (Bottom) during World War II. California Military Department Collection.
Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Coast Defense Study Group
Additional Reports of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Other Online Histories
Posted 2 December 2016
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Updated 23 June 2017