New Castle, New Hampshire

Battery David Hunter stands as a testament to a pivotal period in coastal defense history, located in the Fort Stark Historic Site in New Castle, New Hampshire.

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Tom Riley (GoXplr Account)

About This Location

Battery David Hunter: A Piece of Coastal Defense History

Battery David Hunter stands as a testament to a pivotal period in coastal defense history, located within the Fort Stark Historic Site in New Castle, New Hampshire. This abandoned reinforced concrete coastal gun battery was constructed during the Endicott Period, a time of significant coastal defense fortifications in the United States. This battery, which was equipped with two 12-inch M1895MI guns mounted on M1897 Disappearing carriages, serves as a window into the nation's past military preparedness.

Establishment During the Endicott Period

The Endicott Period of Coastal Fortifications, spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries, saw the construction of coastal defenses along the U.S. coastline. Fears of foreign invasion, particularly by European powers, prompted the development of these defenses. Named after Secretary of War William C. Endicott, this era led to the creation of coastal gun batteries at strategic locations, including Battery David Hunter.

Battery David Hunter was established on Fort Stark, located on the southeastern tip of New Castle Island. This strategic location played a crucial role in safeguarding the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the city. The construction of this battery commenced in 1901 and was completed in 1904, with the Coast Artillery assuming control in the latter year.

Armed with Mighty 12-Inch Guns

Upon its commissioning on December 31, 1904, Battery David Hunter boasted two 12-inch M1895MI guns mounted on M1897 Disappearing carriages. These formidable guns were capable of firing 1,000+ pound projectiles about 10-15 miles. The battery was divided into two levels: the upper level housed the guns, while the lower floor contained magazines for shells and powder, along with rooms for personnel. Taylor-Raymond back delivery shell hoists facilitated the movement of massive shells and powder up to the guns.

World War I and Beyond

During World War I, many coastal gun batteries in the United States were disarmed, with their guns sent overseas to assist the Allies in their fight against the Central Powers. Battery David Hunter, however, remained untouched by this disarmament program. It continued to stand as a vital part of the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth.

Disarmament and Abandonment During World War II

By World War II, the necessity of Battery David Hunter was once again under scrutiny. As the war progressed, it was deemed less critical to the harbor's defense. On January 18, 1945, the military declared the battery surplus. Subsequently, both guns were removed on February 23, 1945, and sent to the Watervliet Arsenal in New York. The M1897 carriages were also removed, marking the end of an era for Battery David Hunter.

What Remains Today

Today, Battery David Hunter stands as a historical relic within the Fort Stark Historic Site, its guns and mounts long gone. However, the structure remains an intriguing piece of military history, open for exploration. Visitors can peer into the old magazines and admire the emplacements that once held the mighty guns. Accessible within the Fort Stark Historic Site, it is a short walk from the parking area located at the end of Wild Rose Lane.

A Visit to Fort Stark Historic Site

The Fort Stark Historic Site also features walking trails with informative guides, a small beach, and kayak access to the ocean and Little Harbor. While there are no restrooms, visitors can enjoy free parking for approximately three dozen cars. Although pets are not permitted in the park, donations are welcome to support its preservation. Additionally, the Ordnance Machine Shop Museum and Visitor Center, open to the public on Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day (or by appointment), adds depth to the visitor experience. This small museum showcases military artifacts and information about the 22nd Coastal Artillery during World War II.

Battery David Hunter at the Fort Stark Historic Site offers a glimpse into a bygone era of coastal defense, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking to connect with America's military past.

Location Features

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211 Wild Rose Lane, New Castle, New Hampshire

GPS Coordinates:
43.057000, -70.713000
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There is a parking lot for the Fort Stark State Historic Site is located at the end of Wild Rose Lane. The lot can hold about 3 dozen cars and parking is free. Battery David Hunter is located just a short walk from the parking lot.


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