Point San Jose, 1864

photo of West Battery, at Fort Mason, overlooking San Francisco Bay
Rodman cannon on display at West Battery, Point San Jose, at Fort Mason.

NPS photo


Two batteries were planned for Point San Jose; each was to have six guns, and the fortifications were to be known as East and West batteries. By the end of May 1864 the batteries were considered complete and ready for armament. Six 10-inch Rodmans were mounted in West Battery by June 30, 1864, and six 42-pounder banded rifles were mounted at East Battery, shortly after that date.1

In 1869 the U.S. government approved a plan to build a permanent fortification at Point San Jose. The plan called for a large fortification, enclosed by an earthen parapet that included the existing batteries. However, this plan was never a high priority and appropriations were curtailed before construction on the fortification could begin. The "temporary" East and West batteries continued to be the point's only defense for the next 30 years, and rifled Rodmans were emplaced at these batteries during the Spanish American War of 1898.1

1. Thompson, Erwin N. Historic Resource Study: Seacoast Fortifications, San Francisco Harbor. California: GGNRA, 1979.

Photo of West Battery at Point San Jose, now Fort Mason
West Battery overlooks lower Fort Mason and San Francisco Bay.

NPS photo

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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