WHAT IS IT?
Battery Bohlen was completed in 1902 and possessed three 10-inch breach loading rifles on disappearing carriages that allowed the rifles to be hidden from from view during loading. The rifles would be elevated over the parapet for firing. The recoil would bring the rifles back into their loading position out of sight behind the protective wall. Today all we can see is the gun platform. Prior to the 1980s, the first floor of the battery that housed the powder rooms, shell rooms and elevators was open. The testing firing of the guns helped hasten the closing of the Pocahontas Hotel that stood on the adjacent property until 1920. During World War I, the three rifles were dismantled for shipment to France. They never left the United States and were reinstalled and retested. By World War II, the open air gun battery and the guns themselves were considered obsolete. A smaller gun battery, AMTB 952 with shield 90mm guns, was installed in front of Battery Bohlen.
WHO WAS IT NAMED AFTER?
Henry Bohlen was a colonel of the 75th Pennsylvania Volunteers until his promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers in 1862. Born in Germany, he was one of the few foreign born individuals to attain such a rank in the Civil War. Prior to the American Civil War, his military career spanned the Siege of Antwerp, the Mexican War and the Crimean War. Bohlen ran a liquor business as a civilian in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was instrumental in recruiting German speaking immigrants for the Union cause. He was killed in action leading a charge at the Battle of 2nd Bull Run in 1862.