New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Between 1875 and 1876, the army built this installation for heavy guns, known as the North Battery, to strengthen the military effectiveness of Fort Trumbull. Designed for five cannon aimed toward the water, the battery contained four gun platforms located between earthen mounds, and a fifth platform placed just north of the row of mounds. The cannon projected over a granite wall fronted by an earth embankment that shielded the troops from enemy fire. The mounds provided further protection, and two of them housed magazines, chambers for storing ammunition.
Although intended for “the heaviest modern guns,” according to an 1879 army plan, the platforms stood empty until the late 1890s, due to changes in military policy and a lack of funds. The army finally installed three heavy guns, called 15-inch Rodmans, in the late 1890s. These huge cannon could pivot in a semicircle to aim up- or downriver.
When it was designed, in the mid-nineteenth century, the 15-inch Rodman gun was the most powerful cannon in the world. It remained a standard weapon for American coastal defense into the 1880s and continued in limited
Erected by Fort Trumbull State Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1875.
Location. 41° 20.655′ N, 72° 5.6′ W. Marker is in New London, Connecticut, in New London County. Marker can be reached from East Street, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located in Fort Trumbull State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Blockhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Trumbull (within shouting distance of this marker); Cold War (within shouting distance of this marker); Parade Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); Scientific Research (within shouting distance of this marker); Merchant Marine (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Scientific Research (within shouting distance of this marker); “Aim, Load, Fire” (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New London.
More about this marker. The upper right of the marker features a photograph of “A 15-inch Rodman at Fort Warren in Boston in 1861.” Photo courtesy of the Newport Artillery Company. It has a caption of “The army installed three 15-inch Rodmans at the North Battery in the later 1890s. The 15-inch Rodman could fire either a 450-pound solid cannonball or a 350-pound explosive shell. Made of iron, the cannon was 15’ 10” long and weighed almost 50,000 pounds (about the weight of 12 average-sized cars). The gun’s enormous size and weight made it practical for use only in forts or permanent batteries, such as this one; it could not easily be moved from site to site.
The guns are named for Thomas Rodman, who developed a new method for casting cannon, in the 1850s. Rodman’s method reduced the possibility of cracks forming when the iron cooled. Cracks could cause a gun to burst when fired.
The term 15-inch in the gun’s name refers to the diameter of the opening in the gun barrel.”
Also see . . . History of Fort Trumbull. Friends of Fort Trumbull website. (Submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 361 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.