Battle Ready: The National Coast Defense System and the Fortification of Puget Sound, 1894-1925 (Paperback)
Altered landscapes and an array of concrete structures--remnants of Puget Sound fortifications--serve as silent reminders of a unique chapter in Pacific Northwest history. The ocean inlet's wide entrance, deep waters, and recurrent fog left it vulnerable to attack. The waterway finally became part of the National Coast Defense System in 1894, when the value of real and personal property along its shores surpassed $160 million.
With the completion of construction on Point Wilson, Admiralty Head, and Marrowstone Point, the harbor became one of the most heavily guarded in the United States. Continued technical advances improved batteries, carriages, guns, communication, and fire control. Effective resistance also relied upon maintaining a sufficient number of highly trained enlisted men.
The removal of guns for use in World War I, as well as the redirection of specialized troops to field artillery units heralded the system's demise. Eventually, armed forces abandoned permanent fortifications in favor of mobile artillery. None of Puget Sound's five forts ever saw battle, but like many military installations, perhaps their greatest value rested in the strong deterrent secured by their existence.
Battle Ready describes the designs, innovations, and frustrations that were part of implementation as well as the experience of serving in the fortifications during the period of their greatest importance. The extensively researched volume summarizes the fascinating saga of Washington State's seacoast defense and presents the broad story in both a national and local context.