Battery Greene-Edgerton is a reinforced concrete coastal gun battery on Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island. The battery was built during the Endicott Period when the United States sought to increase its coastal defenses in case of a war. In order to boost the Harbor Defenses of Newport, Battery Greene-Edgerton was established. Construction on this coastal gun battery began in September 1896 and was completed in June 1898. The Coast Artillery for use in May 1898 and it costed the government $ 63,350.00. It was originally just named Battery Greene.
The layout of Battery Greene-Edgerton was very unique. It was equipped with fifteen 12-inch M1890MI mortars and one 12-inch M1890 mortar. All of these guns were mounted on M1896MI mortar carriages and arranged into four mortars pits. Each pit had four mortars. Magazines which held shells and powder were located in front of the guns behind concrete walls.
Each mortar pit included a telephone data booth at the back to relay azimuth and elevation information to the gunners from the plotting room. The gunners adjusted the mortar settings and fired on command as the shooting data was scrawled on blackboards with chalk and then lifted out of the data booth into their line of sight.
In 1906, the army decided that it would best to split the battery in half and have two separate batteries. Both of these batteries were administered separately and they both had two mortar pits. Battery Green had pits A and B. Battery Edgerton managed pits C and D.
The battery was originally named Battery Greene and this was in honor of Major General Nathaniel Greene. Greene served in the Continental Army and was a well-known citizen of Rhode Island. He worked closely with General Washington and played a key role in the Carolinas during the Revolutionary War. In 1906, when a new section of the battery was established, it was named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Wright P. Edgerton. He was a professor at the United States Military Academy and he passed away on June 24, 1904.
Battery Greene-Edgerton During World War 1
When World War 1 began, the US Military began to brainstorm ways to help allies overseas. One strategy was to remove guns mounted at US coastal gun batteries and ship these overseas. They could then be mounted in Europe at forts or even on mobile carriages on railcars. In 1918, the military ordered for one of the mortars and accompaining carriage from Battery Edgerton be shipped to the Sandy Hook Proving Ground in New Jersey. Here, the military tested if the mortar could be mounted on a railway car and be used overseas. The following year, in May of 1918, seven more mortars were removed from Battery Edgerton and Greene. These were sent to Morgan Engineering Company in Ohio to be modified. Following these shipments, each of the mortar pits at Batteery Edgerton and Greene had two guns.
Battery Greene-Edgerton During World War 2
During World War 2, the remaining guns and mounts at the battery were removed. Orders for them to be salvaged came on November 14, 1942. This was part of the first large scale scrap campaign of World War 2.
What Remains Today?
Today, the abandoned gun battery can be found in Fort Adams State Park. It is located along Fort Adams Drive right across the street from the Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center. In fact, the sailing center actually currently uses some of the battery as storage for its equipment. For this reason, the battery is not open to the public for exploring. That said, visitors can admire the old structure from behind the fences.
The battery is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Fort Adams State Park.
- Year Established: 1898
- Year Abandoned: 1942
- Original Function: Endicott Period coastal gun battery equipped with fifteen 12-inch M1890MI mortars and one 12-inch M1890 mortar
- National Register of Historic Places: #70000014
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