Welcome About Beaches 13 220 321 403 406-410 411 413 511 Schematics PMK Copyright SiteMap


Battery Kessler, 321, Fort Tilden, NY
Colonel Percy M. Kessler



With every bit of respect, the highest esteem, and the sincerest gratitude humanly possible, I whole-heartedly thank Mr. Malcolm Agnew, grand-son of Colonel Kessler, for having sent me this photo some years ago. It was by purely stellar good fate that I'd come upon Mr. Agnew's e-mail address, perhaps now, 10 or more years ago. Because I'd discovered that battery 321 was named "Kessler", my own surname, I was, of course, most curious as to how a "Kessler", my own family having immigrated from Germany in the early 1930's, would come to have a military bunker of WWII named after him. What I learnt, not only from my own research at the New York City branch of the National Archives but from Mr. Agnew, served to deepen my curiosities, fascination, obsession (if you will) and resolve to learn as much about Tilden and Colonel Kessler as I possibly could.

Although my aging memory fails at recalling all of the particulars that I was told, certain points remain clear. Colonel Kessler was, himself, at a very young age, a German immigrant who attended West Point Military Academy, joined the United States Armed Services and, as is obvious by his title and the fact that other military establishments were honoured with the appointment of carrying his highly-esteemed name, served the country exceptionally well thruogh-out his career. Indeed, he was, and remains even to this day, a most remarkable gentleman.

Through more recent research, I was also able to find other information about him, form various sources on the Internet, and include them here, below.

Personally, I must add my own expression of disgust with the conditions of the battery that commemorates him toay at Fort Tilden. This is not to imply that the conditions of all of the other structures is any less deplorable, but I do recall one particular evening, as I sojourned at "the fort", I'd happened upon a vandal or vandals, engaged in spray-painting one of the batteries. Immediately, I notified the Parks Police and was almost apathetically informed that they saw no particular cause or reason to come to the site because they were located across Jamaica Bay and, by the time they'd arrive, there was no doubt that the damage would be complete and the vandals would be gone. I was also sternly advised not to attend to the matter on my own since I was alone and the location of the bunker was rather isolated. Some vandals, it was reported, carried weapons with them and my intervention could result in injury or even death, hardly worth the sacrifice, considering the fact that, even though I might delay the efforts, I certainly wouldn't stop further damage in future. I was instructed to leave the scene immediately and when the police made their next rounds, they would note the incident and damage appropriately.

To the point of this page, how-ever, I include the information that I've been fortunate enough to have found on the Internet, and with the deepest possible sincerity, I encourage and implore any-one who might have any further information concerning Colonel Kessler and, most certainly, Mr. Agnew, to feel free to contact me at your convenience. I would be honoured and most delighted to include it here, with credit to the source, if desired.

This said, and with highest regard, esteem and pride, I close with my heart-felt gratitude to Colonel Kessler, for all that he gave to these United States of America and to all of us here... and indeed, through-out the world. May his memory live on in the greatest dignity and with respect and gratitude due him and his family.

Percy M Kessler
Born on 1872 to Henry Kessler and Alice Gertrude Mershon. Percy M Kessler passed away on 1935.

The battery was renamed Battery Kessler in honor of the late Colonel Percy M. Kessler USA, on December 1, 1939.

Artillery Orders
Assignments to the Coast Defenses
Colonel Percey M. Kessler, (Lieut. Col., C.A.C.)
The Courrier of tThe Big Gun Corps.
Vol.II, No.9
Whole No. 37
Saturday, August 30. 1919

Saturday, April 12, 1919
Artillery Orders
"The following Coast Artillery orders are announced:
Col. Percy M. Kessler, C.A.C., is relieved from his present duty at Fort Blidd, Texas, and will proceeed via New Orleans, La., on the first available Government Transport to Ancon Canal Zone, and report in person to the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department for duty as Department Inspector, relieving Col. Harry L. Hawthorne, U.S. Army retired.

Congressional Record - Senate
January 21, 1918 (Page 1103)
Col. Percy M. Kessler, promoted
Lieut. Col. Percy M. Kessler, Coast Artillery Corps (Ammunition Train), vice Col. Joxeph P. Tracey, retained in the Adjunct General's department.
January 21, 1918 (page 1102)
Maj. Robert F. Woods, Coast Artillery Corps, vice Lieut. Col. Percy M. Kessler, promoted.
Page 2041

In 1924, the War Department for the first time created permanent Regular Army coast Artillery Regiments among which was the 14th Coast Artillery.
On July 1, 1924, this regiment was organized pursuant to War Department General Orders No. 8, dated February 27, 1924, and in accordance with General Orders No. 18, Coast Defenses of Puget Sound (as then named), Fort Worden, Washington, dated June 17, 1924. Colonel Percy M. Kessler, U.S.A. was the first regimental commander of the Regiment. The history of the regiment really goes back much further than 1924, because the separate organizations which were chosen to become the 14th Coast Artillery are so intimately associated with the Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound, that we can claim descent from old pioneer Fort Townsend.
The Regimental Staff at the time of the organization of the 14th Coast Artillery was as follows:
Commanding Officer – – – – – – – – Colonel PERCY M. KESSLER, CAC
Intelligence Officer – – – – – – – Captain LOUIS J. BOWLER, CAC
Adjutant – – – – – – – – – – – – – Captain LOUIS J. BOWLER, CAC
Plans and Training Officer – – – – Major JOHN P. TERRELL, CAC
Supply Officer – – – – – – – – – – Captain EUGENE T. CONWAY, CAC
Communications Officer – – – – – – 2nd Lt. CLAUD T. GUNN, CAC
Munitions Officer – – – – – – – – Captain CHARLES J. HERZER, CAC

The following is a complete list of Regimental Commanders of the 14th Coast Artillery and their tour of duty from 1 July 1924 (Date of Organization) to 17 October 1944 (Date of Disbandment):
Colonel PERCY M. KESSLER, CAC, from 1 July 1924 to 1 August 1927
Lt. Colonel FRANK B. EDWARDS, 14th CA, from 2 August 1927 to 22 August 1927
Colonel H. M. MERRIAM, 14th CA, from 23 August 1927 to 18 May 1929
Colonel A. H. SUNDERLAND, 14th CA, from 19 May 1929 to 30 June 1930
Major G. RALPH MEYER, 14th CA, from 1 July 1930 to 14 November 1930
Colonel F. W. PHISTERER, 14th CA, from 15 November 1930 to 15 February 1933
Colonel ALEXANDER GREIG, 14th CA, from 16 February 1933 to 30 August 1933
Lt.Colonel WILLIAM R.McCLEARY, 14th CA, from 31 August 1933 to 9 February 1934
Colonel R. M. MITCHELL, 14th CA, from 10 February 1934 to 4 November 1936

Lt.Colonel WILLIAM D. FRAZER, 14th CA, from 5 November 1936 to 15 January 1937 Colonel W. G.PEACE, 14th CA, from 16 January 1937 to 1 May 1939
Colonel JAMES H. CUNNINGHAM, 14th CA, form 2 May 1939 to 10 July 1941
Lt. Colonel PHILIP F. BIEHL, 14th CA, from 11 July 1941 to 2 March 1942
Colonel CARL E. DONEY, 14th CA from 3 March 1942 to 29 March 1942
Lt. Colonel PHILIP F. BIEHL, 14th CA, from 30 March 1942 to 11 April 1942
Colonel CHARLES L. WOLFF, 14th CA, from 12 April 1942 to 22 May 1942
Lt. Colonel PHILIP F. BIEHL, 14th CA, from 23 May 1942 to 26 May 1942
Colonel FRANK H. HOLDEN, 14th CA, from 27 May 1942 to 19 January 1944
Lt. Colonel EUGENE S. BIBB, 14th CA, 20 January 1944 to 26 January 1944
Colonel PHILIP F. BIEHL, 14th CA, from 27 January 1944 to 5 June 1944
Lt. Colonel GEORGE A CONGER, 14th CA, from 6 June 1944 to 9 June 1944
Lt. Colonel WALTER F. WINTERS, 14th CA, from 10 June 1944 to 1 July 1944
Lt. Colonel NYLES W. BALTZER, 14th CA, from 2 July to 5 July 1944
Lt. Colonel GEORGE A. CONGER, 14th CA, from 6 July 1944 to 27 August 1944
Colonel PHILIP F. BIEHL, 14th CA, from 28 August 1944 to 17 October 1944

The 14th Coast Artillery Regiment was a Coast Artillery regiment in the United States Army. It served as the Regular Army component of the Harbor Defenses (HD) of Puget Sound, Washington state from 1924 through October 1944, when it was broken up and disbanded as part of an Army-wide reorganization.[1]
Active 1924 - 1944
Country United States
Branch Army
Type Coast artillery
Role Harbor defense
Size Regiment
Part of Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound
Garrison/HQ Fort Worden
Motto(s) "Semper Vigilans"
Mascot(s) Oozlefinch
commanders Colonel Percy M. Kessler

Brooklyn Daily Eagle page 15
April 23. 1937

Announcement is made of the engagement of Miss Mary Mershon Kessler, daughter of Mrs. Percy M. Kessler of Washington, D. C, and the late Colonel Kessler, who formerly commanded the coast defenses of Sandy Hook, to Lt. Laur-ance Hilliard Brownlee, Coast Ar

Portsmouth Abbey School
Annual West Point Ring Melt
Ring Melt of West Point Rings

With the melting of the 29 rings from the Melt, gold from a total of 217 rings will now be part of this line of rings. These new rings came from graduates ranging as far back as Colonel Percy M. Kessler, class of 1896....