Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

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Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby Legio X » Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:57 am

The former U.S. Army Coastal Artillery Corps installation of Fort Miles lies within the Cape Henlopen State Park at the entrance to Delaware Bay. Fort Miles, and it's main batteries of 16" and 12" guns covered the approaches to the Bay out to a range of about 20 miles. Now, here is my question: Is the Delaware Coast Line Railway branch that serves Lewes and which ends just outside the entrance to Cape Henlopen State Park originally a line built to serve Fort Miles? Or was it already in existence? Is there any map of the trackage within Fort Miles that anyone knows of?
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Postby CarterB » Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:31 pm

There were two rail links to Lewes going back to the 1860s.

"1869 – The Junction & Breakwater Railroad is extended to Lewes. At this time, Lewes is expanding as a resort area from which connections may be made across the bay or upriver"

"1898 – Queen Anne’s Railroad arrives in Lewes."

When Ft. Miles was formed: "Fort Miles, under direction of the United States Army Engineer Corps, was built by White Construction Co. of New York - one of the largest construction companies in the east. Delaware firm George & Lynch joined in the project.

A new railhead spur was laid to bring supplies and armaments to the fort.

In 1942, the Army added six eight-inch guns mounted on railroad cars. Later, also, Batteries 21 and 22 (four 8-inch railway guns each)"


1918 map http://historical.maptech.com/getImage. ... g&state=DE
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Postby Legio X » Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:19 pm

Carter, where did you get the info you quoted about the rail lines into Lewes? I'd like to read it all in it's entirety. That map is good too. I'd like to see it reduced in size slightly so I can see the rest of the area. Thanks for the quick response.
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Postby CarterB » Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:42 pm

Legio X

Here's some of the sources:

http://www2.newszap.com/lookingback/ww2/capefear.html

http://www.historiclewes.org/histonline ... eline.html

http://www.geocities.com/delbayforts/Fort_Miles/

http://www.geocities.com/delbayforts/Fo ... hotos1.htm

Also great historic topo maps of mostly NE USA at:
http://historical.maptech.com/

You can chose the state, area and size of the map/s you wish to view.

Happy hunting!!
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Postby Legio X » Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:27 pm

Once again, Carter, great work. Thanks.
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52nd Coast Artillery Regiment

Postby RailVet » Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:34 am

The railway unit at Fort Miles was the 2nd Battalion, 52nd Coast Artillery Regiment (Railway 8-inch Gun). It arrived there in 1942 and, on 1 May 43, was redesignated as the 287th Coast Artillery Battalion (Railway Gun) when the 52nd was inactivated and broken up into separate battalions. As the war progressed and the need for railways guns declined, the unit was moved to Fort Bragg, NC, in late Aug 44, where it was quickly reorganized, renumbered and redesignated as a field artillery battalion, and was subsequently sent overseas.

The authorization for manpower and equipment (T/O 4-45, as of 22 Mar 43) called for a railway gun battalion to have 20 officers, 3 warrant officers, 582 enlisted men, 4 searchlights, 8 railway guns (8-inch), 4 antiaircraft guns (either 37mm or 40mm), 2 50-calibre machineguns, 514 30-calibre rifles, 52 30-calibre carbines, 27 45-calibre submachineguns, 13 2.5-ton trucks, 1 3/4-ton truck (command and reconnaissance), 7 3/4-ton trucks (weapons carriers), and 6 1/4-ton trucks.

Of more interest to buffs would be the railroad equipment authorization, consisting of 5 railway cars (type not specified), 1 locomotive, 3 tank cars, 8 gondola cars, 1 flat car, 5 box cars, and 3 kitchen cars. Of course, there's often a difference between what was authorized and what was actually on hand, so it's not certain what the unit really had on site. The locomotive (assuming the unit had one) would have only been used for on-post switching. Moving rail cars between military installations would have been handled by locomotives owned by the commercial carriers owning the rail lines.
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Postby Spartan Phalanx » Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:54 pm

RailVet:
Great post about Fort Miles and the redlegs who operated there! Thanks.
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Re: Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby kuryakin » Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:07 pm

OK, here's a question to everyone: What sort of motive power was used on the rail line inside the fort? Switchers? Diesel? Steam?

Legio X wrote:The former U.S. Army Coastal Artillery Corps installation of Fort Miles lies within the Cape Henlopen State Park at the entrance to Delaware Bay. Fort Miles, and it's main batteries of 16" and 12" guns covered the approaches to the Bay out to a range of about 20 miles. Now, here is my question: Is the Delaware Coast Line Railway branch that serves Lewes and which ends just outside the entrance to Cape Henlopen State Park originally a line built to serve Fort Miles? Or was it already in existence? Is there any map of the trackage within Fort Miles that anyone knows of?
kuryakin
 

Re: Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby hutton_switch » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:55 am

kuryakin wrote:OK, here's a question to everyone: What sort of motive power was used on the rail line inside the fort? Switchers? Diesel? Steam?

Since these artillery pieces were in use during WWII and earlier, I'll be willing to bet that at least in the area where explosives were handled, they used fireless cookers. As to what type and make, I can't say, maybe someone else can. All pre-diesel.
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USA 7763

Postby RailVet » Thu May 08, 2008 12:35 pm

R. Tourret's book on WW II Army locomotives lists USA 7763, a four-wheel GE diesel-electric built in 1943 as being assigned to Camp Miles. Most likely it was assigned to the post and not the 52nd Coast Artillery Regiment (Railway 8-inch Gun).
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Postby Spartan Phalanx » Tue May 20, 2008 9:40 pm

Like most of the Coastal Artillery Regiments, the 52nd was redesignated as an Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Elements of the 52nd are still active today, operating the Patriot surface-to-air missle system.
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Re: Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby The Tenth Legion » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:26 pm

I guess the U.S. Army made the best possible use of that trackage that extended to Lewes, and which, to this day, serves the SPI Pharma plant. I have a buddy who was in the 52ADA. He said the senior NCO's made sure every junior enlisted man and junior officer (2LT's fresh from West Point, ROTC or OCS) knew that the 52ADA was once a Coastal Artillery Corps outfit operating the biggest guns ever fielded by the Army, and that they were NOT a Space Age unit that fired missles at targets that could'nt be seen....
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Re:

Postby Red Arrow Fan » Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:42 am

CarterB wrote:Legio X

Here's some of the sources:

http://www2.newszap.com/lookingback/ww2/capefear.html

http://www.historiclewes.org/histonline ... eline.html

http://www.geocities.com/delbayforts/Fort_Miles/

http://www.geocities.com/delbayforts/Fo ... hotos1.htm

Also great historic topo maps of mostly NE USA at:
http://historical.maptech.com/

You can chose the state, area and size of the map/s you wish to view.

Happy hunting!!


2 other detailed books (both available on Amazon.com):

http://www.amazon.com/Delawares-Ghost-T ... 339&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Fort-Miles-Images ... 466&sr=1-1

I have both of them.
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Re: Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby kuryakin » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:18 am

Best as I can tell, the rail service was already in existance up to Fort Miles.

There was the Otis Smith fish processing plant, where Cape Shores is now located, built in 1937. The rail service ended there, and was subsequently extended to the Fort.
The magnesium hydroxide extraction plant, formerly Barrcroft, was buit in 1969, and uses the original extension of the rail service to the Fort. The rails now end at the edge of the factory property.
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Re: Fort Miles, DE and it's rail service

Postby kuryakin » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:20 am

Oh, and the maps do exist of the original trackage. They are at the national archives.
For a map derived from those drawings, visit fortmiles.org
Look under Map Room, and take it from there.
kuryakin
 

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