• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

Fort Scott: Battery Godfrey (1895-1943)

Loading a 12-inch gun at Battery Godfrey
An artillery crew at Battery Godfrey loads a projectile and powder bags into the breech of a 12-inch gun. The 1,070-pound shell was raised to the breech by a small crane.
National Park Service, GGNRA
 

General Information

Completed in 1895, this Endicott-era battery was armed with three 12-inch guns mounted on barbette carriages. The first 12-inch artillery platform in the nation was constructed and tested at this battery. Battery Godfrey was built to match or outshoot the guns of contemporary battleships at ranges of up to ten miles. These guns could fire one 1,070-pound shell per minute. In 1943, the War Department ordered the salvaging of this battery along with 12 others considered obsolete.

Origin of Name

Battery Godfrey was named in honor of Captain George J. Godfrey of the 22nd Infantry, who was killed in action in Cavite, Island of Luzon, Philippine Islands, in 1899.

 
Battery Godfrey today
Battery Godfrey gun emplacement #2 as it appears today. The Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands are visible in the background.
National Park Service, GGNRA
 

Access and Current Condition

Battery Godfrey is located on the coastal bluffs of the Presidio. It can be reached via Lincoln Boulevard to Langdon Court; the entrance to Fort Scott from Lincoln is nearby. The Coastal Trail runs adjacent to the gun battery. The interior magazines are closed to the public.

Encroaching vegetation was recently removed from around the battery and preservation work to stabilize the battery’s condition is ongoing. Safety railings have been installed.

 

Did You Know?

Jonathan Letterman

Major Jonathan Letterman--after whom the hospital at the Presidio was renamed in 1911--was the medical director of the Army of the Potomac. A founding father of military medicine, Letterman organized forward first-aid stations, mobile field hospitals, and ambulance services during the Civil War.