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Fort Lee in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Mortar Battery

 
 
Mortar Battery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
1. Mortar Battery Marker
Inscription. Mortar shells from this battery plummeted down in high soaring arcs upon the warships, tearing through the canvas sails and bursting upon the wooden deck.

This mortar battery, joined with heavy guns on both sides of the River, made running the blockade a hazardous assignment for British sailing vessels.

It is believed this battery was used for mortars and consisted of four land mortars, a 13” brass, a 10” iron, a 10” brass and an 8” iron as well as one 13” iron sea mortar. Shells could be hurled accurately 1,200 to 1,500 yards – enough to provide a firing field reaching completely across to the opposite river bank.

These mortars fired over parapets walls. No frontal ditches at this battery were necessary due to the virtually insurmountable cliffs on the east.

Firing Methods & Projectiles
Mortars were fired at an upward angle of 45 to 70 and were capable of hurling several different types of shells. Hollow balls filled with powder would explode on impact spreading fragments in all directions.

Incendiary shells, called “carcasses”, were loaded with pitch or other combustible materials to spread fire when striking a target. Other projectiles, called “baskets” or “canisters”, were filled with stones. All of these
Marker in Fort Lee Historic Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
2. Marker in Fort Lee Historic Park
The Block House can be seen in the background of this photo, behind the marker.
explosive and incendiary projectiles were called “boms.”

Mortar crews were smaller than those manning cannons but the firing procedure was basically the same – sponging, loading, aiming and firing. However, as with all muzzle-loading pieces, crew teamwork, rhythm and weeks of practice were required.
 
Erected by Fort Lee Historic Park.
 
Location. 40° 50.999′ N, 73° 57.775′ W. Marker is in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in Bergen County. Touch for map. Marker is in the Fort Lee Historic Park on a walking trail that begins at the Visitor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Lee NJ 07024, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Military Magazine (within shouting distance of this marker); Palisades Interstate Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Lee Historic Park (about 400 feet away); Abatis Construction at Fort Lee (about 500 feet away); The American Crisis (about 500 feet away); Musketry Breastwork (about 600 feet away); Soldier Hut (about 600 feet away); The Barbette Battery (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Lee.
 
More about this marker. The marker features a picture of a mortar firing
Marker at Mortar Battery image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
3. Marker at Mortar Battery
a shell, with its trajectory indicated.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This series of markers follows the walking tour of Fort Lee Historic Park.
 
Also see . . .  The Battle of Fort Washington. The American Revolution. (Submitted on May 15, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesNotable PlacesWar, US Revolutionary
 
Parapet Walls image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
4. Parapet Walls
Mortars were protected by these parapet walls, which were constructed of logs and earth.
Mortar at Fort Lee image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2008
5. Mortar at Fort Lee
This mortar is located in Fort Lee Historic Park at Barbette Battery. It is aimed toward the Hudson River. The bridge in the background is named for General George Washington.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 15, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,551 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 15, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.
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