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.
The Chief of Engineers alloted on March
10, 1891 the sum of $201,000 for emplacements 12 and 13 and construction
began about June 2, 1891, on this first Endicott-type battery
to be begun in San Francisco's defenses. Ten old 15-inch gun
platforms of Battery West had to be removed. Construction proceeded
to a point where pouring of further concrete was held up pending
determination of which competing type of 'disappearing' carriage
the government would adopt, losing this battery its chance to
be the first completed. A third emplacement, number 11, separate
from the first two, was soon added to the south. By the end of
1896 two of the gun tubes and all three carriages had been received,
and all the guns and carriages were installed by the and of 1897
although the battery was not officially completed until 1898,
and was transferred to the heavy artillery on April 14, 1898.
The three 10-inch breechloading rifles were Model 1888, serial
numbers 5, 15 and 18, all manufactured by Watervliet Arsenal.
The 'disappearing' carriages in emplacements I and 3, all Model
1894, were manufactured by Watertown Arsenal and were serial
numbers 27 and 34; the carriage, also Model 1894, in emplacement
2 was manufactured by William Cramp & Sons. This battery
was treated for some years as part of Battery Cranston, and for
awhile was called "Battery Cranston 2," but that terminology
proved unsatisfactory and in October 1907 the three emplacements
were designated a separate battery and named in honor of Brigadier
General Marcus Miller, a West Point graduate and veteran of the
Civil War and the Modoc and Nez Perce Indian Wars who had commanded
the Presidio of San Francisco in 1898. Like Battery Lancaster,
Battery Miller was regarded as obsolete and its guns were removed
For more information concerning Battery
Marcus Miller, CLICK
Miller's Gun Number 3.
of Battery Godfrey, 1919
Courtesy of Mark Bernow
does a Disappearing Gun Disappear?
When a lever is pulled, a lead counterweight
drops and the aimed barrel rises to the firing position. After
the gun is fired, its recoil drops the gun below the parapet.
This feature made the gun invisible to enemy ships and protected
the crew during loading. But, while it was an effective weapon
against ships, it had no protection from what its designer could
not have foreseen, the airplane. Batteries designed after World
War I were casemated, providing their crews a large degree of
overhead protection. Below are some rare color photographs showing
the battery's gun in action.