Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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
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. .
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.
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.
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.
by Justin Ruhge
Battery Blaney consisted of four 15-pounder,
3-inch, rapid-fire breech-loading guns mounted on balanced pillar
mounts. Nos. 23 and 75 were manufactured by the Frankford Arsenal,
the other two, Nos. 12 and 95, were made at the Watertown Arsenal.
The Model 1898 telescoping mounts were manufactured by Driggs-Seabury.
Constructed in 1901, Battery Blaney was
located on a bluff above what was to be Crissy Field. It was
the first battery at San Francisco to have its major concrete
elements built as separate monoliths to guard against cracking
from unequal settling.
The guns were dismounted after World War
I in 1920 when inner harbor defenses became less important.
This battery was named in October 1902
in honor of Lieutenant Daniel Blaney who was killed at Fort Oswego,
New York in the War of 1812 with the British.
Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications