Built on the finger of land jutting out in the center of Cruz Bay , The Battery was and is the headquarters of St. John ’s administration. The present building sits atop the foundation of Christian’s Fort, built in 1734 in response to an islandwide slave revolt a year earlier. Note that the cannons face landward—colonial authorities feared another slave revolt more than an attack from the sea.
In 1825 Christian’s Fort was expanded to include a prison, courthouse, dungeon, and so-called “justice post,” where slaves were beaten, sometimes to death, for breaking the restrictive slave code. The additions were supposed to improve life for slaves on the island since they allowed punishment to be prescribed and delivered by state authorities rather than individual overseers, some of whom were known for extreme brutality.
Today, The Battery contains government offices and is not open for tours. However, no one will stop you from poking around during regular business hours.