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Fort Winfield Scott: Battery Blaney
by
Mr. Chuck Woffard
 
 
This Endicott era battery was named in War Department General Order 105, dated October 9, 1902, in honor of Second Lieutenant Daniel Blaney, Third U.S.Artillery who was killed by the British at Fort Oswego New York in 1814.
 
 
Technical Information
 
Ordnance
 
This battery was armed with four 15-pounders, 3 inch rapid fire guns Model 1898. Numbers, 23 and 75 were made by Driggs-Seabury, and numbers 12 and 95 were made by the Watertown Arsenal. It was began with three emplacements, later a fourth emplacement was added with the same model as the other three. Each gun weighed 2,690 pounds and cost $3,165.00.
 
These gun were mounted on Diggs-Seabury (Balanced Pillar Mounts) Model # 1898, numbers 12, 23, 75 and 95. 23 and 75 were modified by the Frankford Arsenal, but were manufactured by Diggs-Seabury, while numbers 12 and 95 were manufactured by the Watertown Arsenal. The carriages were modified so the guns remain at fixed height in firing position, for the defense of the inner harbor. Each carriage cost $4,250.00. A total of 120 were built and emplaced from 1899 to 1905. Generally, the collar base is present with filled center well, barrel niches in flank wall.
 
These guns and carriages were installed between 1903 and 1907, the battery was transferred on March 22 1907.
 
Ammunition Service
 
For the ammunition storage and service, each gun had a Magazine. The movement of ammunition must be very rapid and so designed for each and every step of the ammunition service may be performed with such speed that the ammunition can be carried to the breech of the gun at least as rapidly as it can be loaded into the gun and fired. These complete cartridges weigh so little that they can be transported by hand. The projectiles are stored in rows along the wall of the shell room. The ammunition supply for this battery was stored in the shell room that was 9.0 x 15 (there were 4 of them) and held 1,600 rounds. Larger amounts could be put in the shell rooms, by stacking higher or closer together. It is kept in the form that it was received until just before it was to be used, when the boxes are broken open. Its storage, therefore consists simply piling up the boxes in the most convenient arrangement, about 6 boxes high, so they were easy to get down. Therefore, no hoists were required for this battery.
 
This battery had a sub-caliber cartridges which were used for training. It consisted of a .30 caliber rifle barrel mounted axially in a bronze sub-caliber cartridge and resembled in weight and exterior dimensions the ammunition regularly used with gun. To the base is fitted two flat steel extractor springs secured by one screw each, which served to eject the 30 caliber cartridge used with this sub caliber cartridge
 
Construction
 
As with any battery is to be built in any Engineer district, as much information as may be necessary is sent to the district officer.
 
In May 1900, Instruction had been received to select a site to prepare plans and estimates for the construction of two emplacements for 15-pounder rapid-fire guns on balanced pillar mounts. On May 11, 1901 the site was approved and by the end of the fiscal year the plans were completed. This battery was given an allotment of $15,000.00 on May 13, 1901 and was started in July of 1901, with the clearing and grading of the site, so that the excavations could start. The excavation was in sand and clay, and was carried out by scrapers and in part by the use of carts, with the removal of 2800 cubic yards of sand and dirt.
 
As the excavation was moving along, the forms for the concrete were started, on the timber used in making the forms, in all cases dressed lumber was used. It was found necessary to cut away the bank to a certain extent in front of the Battery Slaughter to make a clear line of fire in that direction. The cut was made sufficient for the additional gun that is to be placed in emplacement #4 of this battery, which was yet to be constructed.
 
Now when the forms were ready, then the iron and steel were put in the form and the I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting ceilings, for reinforcing concrete, you use the standard deformed steel bars. This battery had over 10,200 lbs of reinforcing steel bar. When all were attached to the forms, then the concrete could be poured.
 
When all of the above was done, the pouring of the foundation could begin The gun block, which was generally poured first being it is the portion of the emplacement that supports the gun and the carriage. Its size and mass therefore must be such as to make it safe from overturning by the shock of the discharge. The size and shape of the gun block must, of course be such as to fit the carriage and consequently, it must be largely designed in accordance with the Ordnance Department drawing of the carriage. In fact, except for a few details such as drainage, bringing in the electric cable, etc., the Corps of Engineers in preparing gun block design, has but little freedom or responsibility. All the concrete for this battery was mixed entirely by hand and distributed with wheelbarrows. In northeast corner of battery, to fill the excess of exextion up to main floor grade and along side of magazine No 1, 1:6:12 (48 cubic yards); (2) breast wall and east wall of magazine No2, 1:3:8 (129 cubic yards) (3) balance, 1:3:6 (707 cubic yards). The average cost of the concrete placed, including cement used for grouting, ect and excluding cost of plant and forms was $4.67 per cubic yard; including these two latter items the cost was $5.87 per cubic yard.
 
The last of the work was the using of sand on the front and flanks of the lower floor of batteries. The sand was filled in front of the concrete, (Horizontal protection, front of magazine, 15 feet of concrete, 45 feet of sand; equivalent to 30 feet of concrete. - Horizontal protection front of gun, 15 feet of concrete, 40 feet of sand; equivalent to about 28 1/2 feet of concrete- Vertical cover over magazine, 10 feet of concrete) then when a shell was fired at the battery, it was found that a projectile entering a mass of sand appears to have had a tendency to deflect upward and to leave the sand with out penetrating very far. The exception is the blast apron, which is made of concrete, and immediately in front of the gun, they had to be layered very carefully, or the would be blown away.
 
This battery used 564 cubic yards of back fill, and top fill, which was made from the material from the excavation and all the slopes were covered with loam, and them planted with wild oats.
 
In contrast to earlier batteries, this one was built as separate monoliths in order to guard against unequal setting. When the structure was completed the District Engineer Officer prepared the so called "transfer drawing". Then the Engineer Officer and the local Coast Artillery Officer make an inspection of the structure, and when it was determined that all was in order the keys were transferred to the Artillery commander.
 
This battery was finished in 1903, with the exception of whitewashing the rooms, doors, windows, speaking tube mouthpieces, and the water supply pipes.
 
This battery was transferred on March 22 1907, at a cost of $20,200.76. This battery was 141 ' across and 56' in depth, and the guns were mounted 30' apart, and was a two story battery. In addition to the four magazines at the left flank on the lower level of each emplacement, there was also on the left flank of Empacement 4 the Guard Room measuring 8' x 12' and on the right flank of Emplacement #1 was the C.O. Room also measuring 8' x 12', and all the rooms inside this battery were whitewashed. There are stairs going down a slope to the road, behind the battery, which was a macadamized road from McDowell Ave to the battery, and a fence with two gates were constructed at a cost of $517.28. .
 
Power
 
Provision was made to wire this battery with open cleat wiring, but no wiring nor lamps were put in place at this time, as there is not sufficient electric power in the vicinity to supply the battery. But by around December of 1906 the battery was electrified.
 
Miscellaneous
 
It was connected to water and sewer, but there was not a latrine here, the data transmission was by telephone, and ventilated by natural draft 4" terra cotta flues from the magazine terminating at rear wall over entrance door. Trunnion elevation in battery 77.8, Datum M.L.L.W. As far as I know there was no fire control for this battery, other than a B.C. at the battery. This battery saw service from 1907 until 1920, when the protection of underwater mines made inner-harbor defensive works largely obsolete and so the guns were dismounted.
 
Abandonment
 
Lt. WD, 400.702/445, O of Co. May 26 1920, Remainder of armament dismantled and salvages in 1943 under authority contained in letter, Services of Supply, November 19 1942, SPX 662 (November 12 1942) GB-S SPDDO, Subject; Proceedings of local Harbor Defense Board, Oct 5, 1942 Salvage of Obsolete armament and copy of Proceedings of subject board. This battery is in very good condition, but like Battery Sherwood, somewhat hard to get to.
 
 

 
Layout of Battery Blaney, 1923
 
 
 
Drawings Courtesy of Mark Berhow

 
Battery Blaney Today
 
Image courtesy of Golden Gate National Recreation Area
 
UPDATED 24 JUNE 2013

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