About This Location
Battery Cogan is an Endicott Period coastal gun battery in Phippsburg, Maine. It helped protect the coast and focused on securing the Kennebec River during the early 20th century. The historic military structure now sits abandoned. It is one of three coastal gun batteries located in the Fort Baldwin State Historic Site. To learn more about the 8-acre historic site, please visit our page on Fort Baldwin.
The history of Battery Cogan
Battery Cogan was built in 1908 and was named after Patrick Cogan who was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolution. The coastal gun battery was constructed during a time known as the Endicott Period. The Endicott Period began in 1890 and was led by Secretary of War, William C. Endicott. Endicott sought to increase the harbor defenses of the United States and had tens of millions of dollars spent to construct cannons, mortars, coastal gun batteries, submarine mines, and more at nearly three dozen locations along the coast of the US.
Battery Cogan was constructed to secure the mid-coast section of Maine and most importantly to defend the Kennebec River. The Kennebec River was important for many reasons. Firstly, major cities can be found along it including Bath and, the state capital, Augusta. Additionally, Bath Iron Works is a major shipyard located a few miles up the river. It was established in the late 1800s and continues to produce world-class iron ships, including many for the United States military.
Battery Cogan was equipped with two 3-inch M1903 guns mounted on M1903 Pedestal mounts. It was strategically built on Sabino Hill in Phippsburg and has sweeping views of the Kennebec River and the Atlantic Ocean. The battery is also completely hidden from the view of any vessel traveling on the surrounding waterways.
During World War 1 (from 1914 to 1918) the battery was staffed. It is unknown how many people worked at Battery Cogan, but there were about one hundred artillerists stationed throughout Fort Baldwin during WW1. Thankfully, the battery never had to fire a single shot. After World War 2 ended, Battery Cogan was deactivated and the guns and mounts were transported to Fort Preble in Portland, Maine. Once shut down, the structure was sold to the state of Maine and then abandoned.
More developments occurred nearby during World War 2, but you can read more about that on our Fort Baldwin page. Battery Cogan was not involved.
What remains today
Today, Battery Cogan sits abandoned and is slowly falling apart. After being acquired by the state of Maine following WWI, it was unclear what to do with the military structure. For many years, nothing was done. During WW2, the military took control of Fort Baldwin, but no changes occurred to Battery Cogan. In 1949, following WW2, the land was turned back over to the state of Maine.
On August 3, 1979, the battery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a huge honor and it means that the site will be preserved for years to come. Visitors were soon welcomed to explore the abandoned remains of the once-active military fort. A parking area was paved on Fort Baldwin Road and a trail was mapped out to lead visitors up to see the structure. Additionally, several informational signs were added to allow people to learn the fascinating history of the area.
Visitors can explore all around Battery Cogan. It is fun to check out the gun emplacements where the M1903s were once mounted. There is also a small observation post and several different rooms on the main level. Some of them even have fireplaces! It is a super fun structure to explore and it will surely have you imagining what life was like for the people stationed there many decades ago.
The trail to Battery Cogan
The hike up to the battery is quick and easy. Parking is available right at the trailhead on Fort Baldwin Road. The hike up to the fort is only 0.10 miles and takes about 5 minutes. Round trip, the trail is 0.20 miles and the elevational gain is 33 feet. The trail is rated as easy and dogs are welcome.