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Fort Winfield Scott: Battery Godfrey
by Gordon Chappell
Regional Historian, Pacific West Region
National Park Service
 
Beginning at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza and extending southward along the bluffs at the northwestern edge of the Presidio of San Francisco are five post-Endicott Board (1885) seacoast defense batteries. They include some of the earliest Endicott-type artillery defenses of San Francisco Bay. When begun, and for some time after completion, these batteries remained unnamed, and during construction were known simply by emplacement numbers assigned by the New York Board of Engineers in preparing the first Endicott-type plan for San Francisco Bay in 1890. The defenses of San Francisco were nationally second in priority, preceded only by those of New York Harbor. Sequentially the first five emplacements were to be five 10-inch guns mounted on the bluff above Fort Point. These were never built.
 
Early in 1892 excavation began for emplacements 14, 15 and 16 of the 1890 plan, to mount three 12-inch rifles on barbette carriages. Three old magazines of Battery West dating from the 1870s were broken up to be embedded in the new concrete, but four others were left intact Battery Godfrey was finished in 1896, the first Endicott-type battery to be completed in the defenses of San Francisco Bay. It was transferred to the heavy artillery on August 19, 1896. Its Model 1888 breech-loading rifles were all manufactured at Watervliet Arsenal, serial numbers 9, 6 and 4, and were mounted on Watertown Arsenal non-disappearing or 'barbette' carriages serial numbers 6, 3 and 2, respectively. The battery was named on February 14, 1902 in honor of Captain George J. Godfrey, 22nd Infantry, killed in action at Cavite on Luzon in the Philippine Islands in 1899. Like Battery Cranston's 'disappearing' guns, the guns at Battery Godfrey were in place throughout World War I, two decades of peace, and over a year of World War II before being removed in 1943.
 
For more information on Battery Godfrey, CLICK HERE
 
 

 Battery Godfrey's Gun Number 1. Photgraph courtesy of Craig Hegdahl
 

  Battery Godfrey's gun number 2 and crew. Photgraph courtesy of Bolling Smith
 

  Gun number 2 firing. Photgraph courtesy of Craig Hegdahl

 
Layout of Battery Godfrey, 1919
 
Drawings Courtesy of Mark Bernow
 

Battery Godfrey Today
 
 

 Gun 3's emplacement undgoing restoration. October 2000
 

 Emplacement for guns 2 (foreground) and 1 (background). October 2000
 

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