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Map from O.R. Atlas showing Wilkes' location.
In 1862, in the part of St. Andrews Parish now known as West Ashley in Charleston, plans were made to locate at least five large guns, 75 artillerymen and more than 2,500 infantrymen in the region. A new battery was constructed on Wilkes Plantation in 1862, strategically situated to defend the crossing of Turnpike Road (now Highway 17) and the Charleston and Savannah Railroad at Long Branch Creek. Battery Wilkes was one of nine batteries and three forts ultimately built in West Ashley.
Battery Wilkes was originally two separate fortifications, one on the north side of Turnpike Road (Highway 17) and one on the south side. The south side fortification was destroyed during a 20th century widening of Highway 17. The battery on the north side of the highway has survived. The extant parapet of the battery is approximately 10 feet tall and was designed for two gun platforms. The site also contains a powder magazine, fifteen feet tall, just behind the earthwork parapet.
Battery Wilkes is one of only three West Ashley batteries that have survived. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Using a grant from the South Carolina Conservation Bank, the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust purchased the property holding Battery Wilkes in 2013.