Fort Travis Seashore Park
Military Structures

Galveston Bay Fortifications
The United States began an ambitious seacoast fortification program in 1888, the first major defense expenditure undertaken since the end of the Civil War nearly 25 years earlier. Under this program (the Endicott Program) three forts were built in the Galveston Bay area between 1897 and 1899. Fort Crockett on Galveston Beach served as the headquarters for the entire harbor defense system. The Galveston seawall was built around it in 1906 and it now exists as Fort Crockett Seawall Park. Fort San Jacinto was on the far eastern tip of Galveston Island, directly across the channel from Fort Travis. Four Batteries remain intact at Fort Travis.

Battery Davis
Built in 1898, this battery was named for Lieutenant Thomas Davis of the United States Mounted Rifles, who was killed in the Mexican War (1847). It contained two eight-inch, breech loading guns of the “disappearing” type. These guns were the most advanced of their day. They could be elevated higher than comparable naval weapons, thus outranging them. The structure is reinforced concrete which was originally built on a series of wooden pilings in the sand. The seawall was not built around it until 1903. Because Battery Davis is in an advanced state of deterioration, its gallery collapsed some years ago and visitors are no longer permitted to enter. Battery Davis on FortWiki

Battery Ernst

This battery was built in 1898, and named after Second Lieutenant Rudolph Ernst, United States Sixth Infantry, who was killed in the Mexican War (1847). It contained three small caliber “rapid fire” pedestal guns with searchlights, and casemented ammunition magazines below. Its purpose was to defend the harbor entrance against torpedo boats and raiding parties in small boats. The date of abandonment is unknown, but the military usefulness of such a battery would have ended well before World War II. Battery Ernst on FortWiki

Battery Kimble
Construction on the battery began in August of 1917 and was completed October 1922. It was named for Major Edwin R. Kimble of Galveston, who died in 1918 during World War I. Its twelve inch guns could be elevated to gain a range of 17 miles, which was more than twice the range of the guns at Battery Davis (1898). Shortly after the end of World War Ii, the battery was made vulnerable by the advent of accurate aerial bombing; the circular gun platforms providing a perfect aiming point. Battery Kimble was then abandoned and its guns sold for scrap. It is one of more than a dozen similar batteries built in the United States and on Corrigedor Island in the Philippines, and may be the only surviving example of its kind. Battery Kimble on FortWiki

Battery 236
By 1941, the Coast artillery no longer named its smaller installations. They were simply designated by their construction numbers. Battery 236 contained by an earth and concrete casement which contained a power plant, magazines, fire control facilities and crew quarters. This Battery was designed primarily to defend the approaches to Galveston harbor from minelayers and submarines which had to surface in order to lay mines. Ironically, by the time the battery was completed, almost all mine laying was done with aircraft, making the battery obsolete as soon as it was built. It was abandoned shortly after the end of World War II. Battery 236 on FortWiki

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