coast defense

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Fort Andrews Gun Batteries

In 1904, shortly after the fort's 12-inch mortar batteries were completed, its three gun emplacements followed. It is not clear whether Battery Rice, the westernmost emplacement, planned for a pair of 5-inch guns, ever received these; it may have simply been an empty battery. Battery McCook, the next in line to the east, received two 6-inch guns, M1900, on barbette carriages. Finally, Battery Bumpus, on the eastern end of the line, was fitted with two 3-inch guns M1902, on pedistal mounts.

These guns, at an elevation of about 100 ft., looked down over Nantasket Roads, the southern approach to Boston Harbor, and across towards Ft. Strong on Long Island and Fort Warren. They could also reach out past the central harbor islands to defend the northern approaches as well.

The 6-inch guns were the same model as those of Battery Whipple at Ft. Standish on Lovells Island and were mounted in a similar emplacement. There are reports of the artillerymen from Ft. Andrews taking their target practice at Battery Whipple, since firing from Lovells Island disturbed fewer nearby residents. As a consequence, the commander of Battery McCook complained that his relatively low qualifying scores resulted from having to make do with less familiar fire control equipment.

Battery McCook was commanded from the east side (1904) fire control building, which also contained the Fort Commander's station. McCook's rangefinding was handled by the small, half- buried pillbox-like bunker that mounted a Depression Position Finder (DPF) scope and was located near the brow of the bluff about 400 ft. northwest of the battery. The fort's 60-inch searchlight was mounted just behind this pillbox and was controlled remotely from the east side fire control structure.

The 3-inch guns of Battery Bumpus were the eastern side of a crossfire across Nantasket Roads with Battery Stevens, located on the eastern side of Ft. Strong on Long Island. Together, these batteries provided defense for the mine fields that were stretched across Nantasket Roads. Today, the stairs to the Battery Bumpus gun platforms, and the platforms themselves, are very badly deteriorated. The concrete is fissured and cracking off in thick layers, and the action of climbing the steps to a gun platform turns more of the old concrete to pebbles and dust.

Battery Bumpus was declared obselete in 1946, and Battery McCook in 1947.

Gun Batteries

  • McCook-2
    Photo looks almost due west towards Btty Rice, about 100 ft. away. Its gun platform #1 is at the top of the rightmost long staircase, with the pillbox for the CRF of Btty Bumpus hidden behind the slanting pine tree at the center of the picture. The orange caution tape stretched across the McCook railings just in front of the camers alerts you to the fact that the stair treads for this staircase are completely missing. ( PG 2010)
  • Magazine, Btty Rice
    Amazingly, this set of wooden magazine doors is original, and looks like the gun crew just departed, leaving them ajar. Next to a sheel room inside is what appears to be crew quarters or an office, with a fireplace. (PG 2010)
  • McCook 2010
    This photo shows the heavily overgrown surroundings of the battery. (PG 2010)
  • McCook Undated C-1910
    Judging from the crisp outlines of the works, this photo is an early one. The breech of Gun 2, wrapped in a tarp, can be seen at upper left. This photo was taken looking slightly more north of east than that taken 95 years later (see Slide 3), and from the top of a hillock behind the battery. (Courtesy Gerald Butler, Harbor Islands, p. 33)
  • McCook 2010-2
    This photo clearly shows the missing stair treads on the westerly stairs and the missing first two treads on the easterly ones. (PG 2010)
  • McCook Gun 1 In WW2
    This photo looks southwesterly at one of Btty McCook's 6-inch guns M1900. Camouflage netting protects the battery, since it can be seen that natural vegitation was very sparse The foreground of this image has been retouched by the author to remove some extraneous detail. (Courtesy Gerald Butler, Harbor Isialds, p. 89)
  • Bumpus Gun 1
    The stairs to the platform of Gun 1 are now badly cracked and eroded by water, ice, and plant growth, and the concrete is fissuring in layers. (PG 2010)
  • Bumpus 1 Platform
    The gun platform is wildly overgrown with undergrowth and thorns, and it is no longer possible to see from the edge of the emplacement down to the water of the channel. The electrical conduit that carried current for the gun's lamps can be seen sticking up from the center of the platform, and the stubs of some of the bolts that secured the pedistal mount are visible in a circle around it. This photo was taken in April, even before the leaves had come out. (PG 2010)
  • Bumpus Gun 2
    If anything, the stairs ascending to the platform of Gun 2 are in worse shape than those to Gun 1. (PG 2010)
  • Bumpus Magazines
    The three steel doors to the magazine rooms have survived. Following the road in front of the battery in the direction of this photo (easterly) will connect with a road running southerly and thence to the east side fire control building, a total of some 400 ft. from the battery. (PG 2010)