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Battery Godfrey


Was named in GO 16 February 14 1902 in honor of Capt. George J. Godfrey, 22nd US Infantry who was killed in action at Cavite Island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands in June 3 1899. Graduated from west point 1886. 2nd Lieutenant 12th Infantry , July 1 1886. 1st Lieutenant 22nd Infantry, 1 February 1 1893. Captain March 2 1899. Born in New York, Appointed from New York


This battery was armed with three 12-inch guns breech loading rifles, Model 1888, nos 4, 6, and 9, and were manufactured at Waterviet Arsenal. The gun cost $36,300.00, there were 66 manufactured.

These guns were mounted on Watertown Arsenal Barbette Carriages Model 1892: # 2 and 3 and 6. The carriage cost $15,400.00.


As to ammunition storage and service, this battery had a Shell Room and a Powder Room. The movement of ammunition must be very rapid and it is the duty of the Engineer Department to so design it emplacement that each and every step of the ammunition service may be performed with such speed that the ammunition can be carried to the breech of the gun at least as rapidly as it can be loaded into the gun and fired; and so the rate of fire which can be obtained from the gun be limited by consideration other that the functioning of the portion of the ammunition service for which the Engineer Department is responsible. The form of a trolley used in this battery are four wheeled travelers, running on the lower flanges of I-beams suspended from the ceiling of the shot room and passages, each trolley carried a half ton Yale-Weston triplex block, the shells were then taken to the hoist, and unloaded on to the receiving table, where they were taken on a truck furnished by the Ordnance Dept that carried the projectiles from the hoist to be loaded into the gun.. As to vertically movement of the shell, an appliance for seizing hold of the shell, they used a tongs, which looked like a pair of ice tongs, except there were three rather they two, two on one side and one on the other. These tongs are used with the Yale-Towne block and the Ordnance shell tongs which the standards, As far as Powder Service, the powder was shipped to the battery in metal cases and stored in racks, that they were shipped in, in most cases, there ends projecting into the passageway. When a cartridge was desired the solder strip was to be pulled of without moving the cartridge case from the rack, this loosens the top of the case and the cartridge is then pulled out, leaving the case still fastened in it proper place, the powder is carried in a handbarrow, by four men, and is taken to the breach of the gun. The ammunition supply for this battery was stored in the shell room which was 11 x 19'-6" (there were 3 of them) and held 132,in each room, The size of the powder magazine was 8' x 19'-6" and held 105 charge capacity rounds. The battle allowance for this battery was 300, and it's war reserve was 300. Larger amounts could be put in the shell and power rooms, by stacking higher or closer together.


In the allotments for the year 1892, the working drawings for this battery were given to the Corps of Engineers for the construction to start.

The site was graded and clear in a few days and then the excavation started for the foundation and the gun blocks, approximately 5,500 cu yd of dirt and sand were removed, most of it was a yellow clay, which yields readily when wet. Owing to this condition particular care was used to drain the foundation.

As the excavation proceeded the forms were constructed for the battery, I have been told that the piles for the gun block had to be driven because of the unstable earth and clay at the site.

Before the concrete can be poured all the iron and steel, must be placed in the forms, I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting ceilings, for reinforcing concrete, they used wire mesh, steel bars, trolley tracks. The masonry contains several tons of street-car rail, arranged in circular folds and old street-car rails disposed in horizon, over 17,000 lbs of reinforcing bars were used.

The circumference of the lower plane of the concrete was surrounded by an open drain of concrete covered with gravel which removed any water that might, if not removed, impair the resistance of the ground. This battery required nearly 10,800 cu yd of concrete. As the excavation began on three emplacements 14, 15 and 16 for the three 12-inch guns, three old magazine of Battery West dating from the 1870s were broken up and embedded in the new concrete, but four others were left intact.
In fiscal year 1895, the first platform for a 12-inch gun anywhere in the nation was constructed on the left flank of Battery Godfrey. This was the second and largest of all the gun batteries to be constructed in the United States.

The neck of the roller path was filled with concrete, giving additional power of resistance, and relieving to a certain extent the hold down bolts pf aluminum bronze. The connection of this concrete with the mass of the platform was strengthened by placing of two old gun pintles vertical, and facing them with an iron plate. It was the intention to give this platform all the strength obtainable at no great expense.

During the year drawings of the platform for emplacement #16 were received, which enabled the emplacement to be finished. In detail, the following work was done: The gap left in the parapet was filled in with 157 cubic yards of concrete, a circular recess 2'x6" having been first cut away to receive the platform. A concrete landing 6'x8' was built in front of the magazine door. The floor of this landing is 1 foot below the level of the terreplein and divided from it by retaining walls 1 foot high. A curved ramp4 feet wide, slope 1/10, connects the landing with the terreplein, up which the shot truck will pass. A concrete foundation averaging 8" thick was laid upon the superior slope for a distance of 25 feet from the muzzle of the gun and between the limiting horizontal angles of fire On #14 and #15 where changed after the experience with the apron on #16, that it might safely be reduced in extent to 15 feet from the muzzle of the gun between the horizontal limits of fire and are 2 feet thick immediately under the muzzle, diminishing to one foot at the edges.

The terreplein was filled in to grade and cover about 6 inches of macadam. A ramp of 1/8 and 8 feet wide was built around the left end of the terreplein, connecting it with the road in the rear of the emplacement. In this fiscal year 1895, one emplacement and the platforms are essentially completed, and the gun mounted. An ammunition hoist and conveyor are to furnished. The second emplacement and it platform will be finished in the coming fiscal. The gun and carriage for this platform are on the ground, the construction for the rest of the battery awaits the testing of the platform already built, which is the first one of it class which has been constructed

During the early part of 1896 the authority for the construction of the two remaining platforms of this battery was obtained, and they were accordingly constructed. That in # 14 rest on a clay foundation and is 17 feet high that in #15 rest on a foundation of soft rock and is 141/2 feet high.

These platforms are built similarly in all respects to the one built in emplacement #16, the year before. Radiating bars of flat railroad iron are placed in layers at vertical intervals of 2 feet with spiral coils of old cable alternating with layers of rails. The lower portion of the platforms was made a 12-sided polygon changing to a circle of required radius 2 feet from the top. The concrete used in these platforms is a little richer than that used in the mass of the parapet and was laid with care. The lower roller path was set on it platform in emplacement #15, after which the artillery of the Presidio mounted the carriage and gun.

The terrepleins of emplacement #14 and #15 were filled in, chiefly with borrowed earth, and macadamized with 6 inches of broken stone. The slopes were all sodded, a set of concrete steps were built in emplacement 14 and 15, connecting the roadway and terrepleins, a ramp 8 feet wide, slope 1 on 6, was also built in #15 connecting the road and terreplein. With .the masonry completed, and the platforms built, and there parapets, aprons and magazines of all three emplacement were covered with a 3" layer of asphalt.

A second 12" gun has been mounted, and the 12" mounted last year has been fired 17 times. The magazines have been covered with asphalt, the installation of the ammunition conveyors and hoist were installed in all three emplacement during this year completed. This battery used over 9899 cu yds of backfill and top fill All the engineering work of the 12-inch emplacement is complete, except setting the base ring in #14, which can not be done until the carriage is received. In 1897 , the macadam terrepleins were removed and concrete pavement substituted. A guard and relocator room with observation station, speaking tubes, and is in the process of construction and nearly completed at Emplacement #14.

This two story battery was 490 ' across, and 68 ' deep and there was 165 ' between the guns, there was an angle in this battery, also beside the Shell and Powder Rooms, this battery had 3 Hoist Rooms 2 were 17' X 38 and the one in emplacement #3 was 16' X 38", these rooms were where the shells and powder can from the shell and powder room to be loaded on to the hoist which was in the middle of the room, there was also a Power Room 15' X 20' and an Oil Room that was 14' X 16, under and in the left side of emplacement # 1, was a room called the Telephone booth which was 1' X 12' and behind the Oil Room was a Latrine that was 21' X 10', and behind the Engine Room was the Radiator room that was 6' X 6' and one small Store Room near # 1. This battery was completed in, 1896, and transferred on August 19 1896 a cost of $299,661.53.


This battery was electrified around December of 1904, it required 5.1 kw for light and 16.8 for the hoist and motors. It had two 25 K.W., 235-volt, a standard Engineer Department gasoline sets: one set intended for use and one as a reserve unit, the two to be used alternately: were to be installed in a new engine room constructed in the traverse at the left flank of Emp #3, of Battery Boutelle: to supply current to Battery Godfrey, including B' Godfrey. In 1910 there was a central power plant installed in a new concrete building on the site of the old Battery Dynamite.


It's B.C. and B1 was a double concrete station, located near the left flank of the battery, with an elevation of 275 feet, constructed in 1909. There was also a station B2S2 dug in at Tennessee Point at an elevation of 88 feet (former B2 Battery Mendell), (constructed March 1909) and an S station at Fort Point constructed by the Golden Gate Bridge Company in 1934, to take the place of a Battery Godfrey station destroyed to make way for the bridge. Height of the Axis of Telescope above M.L.L.W.=142.3 ft, and had 1- Lewis D.P.F. 1907, Class DMM, #242, with limiting Azimuth of field of view= 3o-178o, and having an elevation of 142 feet, and a wooden station B3 S3 at Baker Beach, Height of Top of Pier above M.L.L.W.=35.604 ft, Height of Axes of Telescope above M.L.L.W.=40.000, Height of Axes of Telescope above Top of Pier=4.396 ft, and had the following equipment: 1 only Lewis D.P.F. Model 1898 # 75, 1 Wood Bench ( to be built at Point Lobos in case of war ) the B.C, The height of top of pier above M.L.L.W=270.55, Height of Axes of telescope above M.L.L.W.=275.30, .Height of Axes of Telescope above Top of Pier=4.75. This station is normally used as a B.C. Station, but is used as a base end station on the short base of the battery when required, it had Lewis D.P.F. Class C M.M. Model 1907, #103, and circular wood bench. The Plotting Room had the following equipment, 1 only Pratt Range Board, Model 1905, # 297, 1 Deflection Board. Gun Model M1905 # 326, 1 Targs, 1 Wind Comp Indicator. # 31, ! fire Adjustment Board. # 21and 1 Cloke Plotting Board, Model 26 #63.


This battery was salvaged by the Commanding General , Fort Winfield Scott and Sub-Post under directive contained in Secret letter, Office of the Chief of Ordnance, file 0.0 400.93/28 (S) SPOFX5 to the CG Ninth Service Command, Dated January 23 1946, Subject; "Salvage of Obsolete Armament". The guns of Battery Godfrey were in place throughout W.W.1, two decades of peace and over a year of WW 11, before being removed in 1943. But still today it is nice to walk around this nice old battery which is still in good condition.