The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #5: Battery Weed

by Brett Schulte on April 14, 2014 · 1 comment

Editor’s Note: Bill Morgan, the author of The Civil War Lover’s Guide to New York City (published by Savas Beatie), was kind enough to offer up his list of the top 5 most overlooked Civil War sites in the Big Apple as a series of guest posts here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  Bill’s introduction will be followed by one overlooked NYC site per week, every Monday for the next five Mondays.  Join Bill here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog, as he counts down his list.

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The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City

by Bill Morgan

#5 FORT RICHMOND, NOW CALLED BATTERY WEED, and FORTS

TOMPKINS AND WADSWORTH

Hudson Road, Staten Island. Hours: W–Sun 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General information: (718) 354-4500.

Battery Weed

Battery Weed.

Battery Weed is now part of the Fort Wadsworth Military Reservation and is open to the public as a museum. It was built between 1849 and 1861 as Fort Richmond to guard the Narrows, the gateway to New York Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. It is located strategically across from Fort Hamilton, which is on the Brooklyn side of the channel. Like Fort Totten, it was designed by Gen. Joseph G. Totten (1788–1864) and later named for Gen. Stephen Weed (1831–1863), who had been killed at the battle of Gettysburg. The fort is in the shape of a trapezoid, with three tiers of guns housed under open arches. During the Civil War, it boasted approximately 116 guns, making it the strongest fortification along the Atlantic coast. Fort Tompkins was built between 1861 and 1870 and stands on the crest of the hill above Battery Weed. It was finished too late to see much Civil War activity, and was used primarily as a barracks for Battery Weed. Both Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins are good examples of the type of heavy granite masonry fortifications that were rendered useless by the new rifled cannon developed during the Civil War era. Fort Wadsworth, beneath the bridge at Bay Street and Wadsworth Avenue, has the distinction of being the oldest continually staffed military reservation in America, having first been used for military purposes in 1663. In 1865, it was renamed in honor of Brevet Maj. Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth (1807–1864), who had been killed during the battle of the Wilderness the previous year.

Fort Tompkins

Fort Tompkins.

 

If you visit Staten Island via the Staten Island ferry, take time to visit the memorial erected in 1915 to the memory of Maj. Clarence T. Barrett. It is in Barrett Triangle, the park bounded by Hyatt Street, Bay Street, Stuyvesant Place, and Richmond Terrace. Barrett signed on with the 175th New York at the outbreak of the war and took part in the Union’s 1864 siege of Mobile and the final battles around Richmond that ended the war. The classical bronze figure of a warrior by artist Sherry Edmundson Fry stands on a pedestal decorated with traditional Greek figures and the motto “Loyal, Honest, Brave and True.”


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Savas Beatie April 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

Thanks for this post, Bill Morgan, and A Civil War Blog for providing a platform to continue this discussion. Battery Weed, Fort Tompkins, and Fort Wadsworth are all important to Civil War history, yet many do not know of the historical significance they hold.

You can read more information about the book, including an excerpt and author interview, at publisher Savas Beatie’s website here: http://tinyurl.com/d8a57vc

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