Battery Talbot 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. Newport Harbor was a key place to protect, hence the establishment of Battery Talbot. Construction on this coastal gun battery began in April of 1898. On January 17, 1899, the Coast Artillery acquired the structure and put it into service.
Due to this being one of the earliest gun batteries in Rhode Island, it was built in a complex formation. It consisted of two stories with guns on the upper level and magazines below. The guns mounted on the upper floor of the battery were two 4.72-inch Armstrong guns placed on Armstrong Pedestal carriages. On the lower level, the magazine held shells and powder. No shell or powder hoists were installed at Battery Talbot and this meant that all transporting had to be done manually.
Battery Talbot was originally unnamed, but it was named Talbot on March 19, 1902. The name Talbot is to honor Lieutenant Silas Talbot of Rhode Island. He served with distinction in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
Battery Talbot During World War 1
During World War 1, many of the coastal gun batteries in the United States were modified. In many cases, the guns were removed to be sent overseas to aid allies. Additionally, some were mounted on train carriages to be more mobile. It was reported that Battery Talbot received orders to have its guns removed to be sent overseas, but this was quickly retracted and the guns were remounted. A few years later, Battery Talbot was deemed unnecessary due to its outdated guns and lack of threats in the nearby area. Official orders for the guns and carriages to be removed on July 22, 1919 and destroyed on May 26, 1920. The guns were removed, but were not destroyed as planned. Instead of being scrapped, the guns were relocated. One gun was given to the city of Westerly, Rhode Island and the other was given to the city of Newport, Rhode Island. At Newport’s Equality Park, the Newport gun #12123 from Battery Talbot is still on display.
What Remains Today?
The gun battery was deactivated in 1919 and abandoned in 1920. It has been slowly decaying and being reclaimed by nature since then. In 2019, a big cleanup event occurred to help make the structure more viewable. Tons of vines and trees were removed.
Sadly, the structure is in poor condition and is flooded. For this reason, Fort Adams Trust, which watches over the structure, has installed fencing around the entire plot. Visitors today must admire the old gun battery from behind the fence today.
- Year Established: 1899
- Year Abandoned: 1920
- Original Function: Endicott Period coastal gun battery equipped with two 4.72-inch Armstrong guns
- National Register of Historic Places: #70000014