Historic California Posts, Camps, Station and Airfields
Fort Winfield Scott: Battery Crosby
A 1938 aerial view of Battery Crosby. Click for a higher resolution view. (Coast Defense Study Group National Archives Collection)
Construction on Battery Crosby began in 1899 and was completed the following year. The battery mounted two M1897MI 6-inch rifles mounted on M1898 disappearing carriages. The battery was named in honor of Lieutenant Franklin B. Crosby, who was killed in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in 1863.
During the early part of the World War II the battery was used to defend part of the defensive minefield that protected the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The guns and other equipment was removed in 1943 and the battery was abandoned.
Battery Crosby
by Chuck Wofford
This battery was armed with two 6 inch breech loading rifles, Model 1897 MI numbers 28 and 30 manufactured by Watervliet Arsenal in 1901. The range of the gun was 14,600 yards, and the cost was $ 9,000.00.
These two guns were mounted on Watertown Arsenal disappearing carriages Model 1898, numbers 5 and 6 fabricated in 1900. Each carriage raise the gun to an elevation of 20 (original designed for 15).. The weight of the carriage was 26,450 lbs. Cost of the carriage was $11,700.00.
Ammunition Service
As to ammunition storage and service, each battery depending on the size, had a Shell Room and a Powder Room. The movement of ammunition must be very rapid and it is the duty of the Engineer Department to so design the emplacement so that 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 as rapidly as it can be loaded into the gun and fired.
The powder supply for this battery was stored in the powder room which was 18' x 11.6' x 7.5' (there were 2 of them) and held 500 rounds in each room, The size of the shell room was 7' x 24' x 7.5' (there were also two of them) and held 400 rounds of shot, and 100 rounds of shells. The battle allowance for this battery was 600, and 90 High Explosive (HE) at the Central Reserve it's war reserve was 600, and 200 HE
This battery had one of the new Taylor -Raymond chain hoist for delivering ammunition to the gun.
Construction of this battery began on June 3 1899, with an allotment of $56,000, on March 14 1899, and additional $1,300.00 was transferred from other allotment and on April 20 1900 another $1,750.00 was transferred, by the end of the fiscal year, the site staked out cleared and grade and the excavation commenced. The material was clay and rock and approximately 2,560 cu yds of it was removed from the site by blasting and loading into dump charts by hand. A road about 1,500 long had to be built to connect the battery to the main road. The rock taken from the excavation was used to macadamize almost the whole of this road.
As the excavation was in progress, they started building the forms for the concrete, on the timber used in making the forms, in all cases dressed lumber was used.
In all batteries iron and steel were used, in the form of I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting ceilings. For reinforcing concrete, you can use wire mesh, in later years deformed steel bars were used. All of this must be placed before the concrete is poured> Along with the Maneuvering Ring, (it was found in the first batteries, there were no arrangements to attached the block and tackle) and the bolts for the trolley rails, there was approximately 27,900 of reinforcement metal used in this battery.
The erection of the concrete plant was started in July, and the forms were ready to be set up. In August the excavation was completed, the concrete plant set up, the water and sewer system put in, the foundation laid and most of the forms put up.
The arrangement of the concrete plant was a very good one, as it permitted the handling of the material almost entirely by gravity. A long platform was built for the reserve pile of stone on the hillside in the rear of and above the battery. The stone and sand were drawn from this platform through hoppers into the measuring cars. These cars were them pushed by hand to a hopper directly over the mixer and dumped. The cement was dumped into this hopper at the same time and the materials were then let into the mixer. About 40 gallons of water were used for each batch, which consisted of 36 cubic feet of rock, 15 cubic feet of sand, and 1 barrel of Portland cement. The mixer was turned from twelve to fourteen times, and then the mixed material were dumped into cars which were pushed which were pushed by hand along trestles and dumped at the desired places. The force required to run his plant consisted of three men supplying material, one man handling the mixer, one engineer, one fireman, and one man to dump the mixer. The cost of the labor was $14.67 per day. When running well the plant would mix 250 cubic yards of concrete per day.
The concrete work was started in October and carried on as rapidly as possible until completed in early December. There were a lot of problems with building this battery, two thousand two hundred barrels of cement delivered to the site proved to be poor and was rejected. To replace this rejected cement, other cement had to be bought at once on the open market at a much higher price, and there was a delay caused by rain, which not only stopped the work but made the roads so soft that there was great difficulty in getting broken stone to the battery. There was some 1,364 cubic yards of regular concrete, and over 12,180 cubic yards of finished concrete used.
This battery was 170 feet across the front and was 75' deep, and there was 95' between the guns. This battery also had a latrine that was 8' x 16'; a oil room that was 10' x 12 1/2'; a shot room that was 8' x 16'6"; a tool room that was 20' x 20'; a guard room that was 48' x 23'; a 2' passageway behind the powder and shell rooms that were 8' x 16', which housed the shell hoist room. The room in the # 1 gun were about the same, it had a store room, instead of an oil room, which was 10' x 12' and another shot Room which was 8' X 16' and a plotting room, which was 33' X 23', and had stares leading down from this two story battery to the service road in the rear. By June the battery was entirely completed, the artillery had mounted the carriages and recommendation was made June 22 1900, that the emplacement be turn it over to the Coast Artillery, the guns had not yet arrived.
The last thing to do is to add the sand on the front and flanks of the lower floor of batteries, the sand was filled in front of the concrete. At this time there was some 1,159 cubic yards of fill used on the slopes on the back side of the battery.
The structure was completed and the district engineer officer and local Coast Artillery officer, make an inspection of the structure. This battery was completed in 1900, was transferred on Aug. 2 1900.. at a cost of $59,038.57.
This battery was electrified around December of 1902. It only required 2.9kw for lights as there were no motors in this battery. The one that supplied the power for this battery, was built of concrete on the slope to the right of # 19 (Battery Saffold), its interior dimension being 24 x 12 x 8 feet. A 7-horsepower Hornsby-Akroyd oil engine ran a 5-horsepower dynamo, lighting the two batteries. The connection between the two batteries was weatherproof wire strung on poles. Each plant was furnished with a switchboard room 40" x 32", mounted on heavy brass hinges and so arranged as to fix into a recess in the wall of the building. On each switchboard are mounted safety fuses are placed on all leads at the starting point of a branch of smaller cross sections than the lead other than a single lamp branch, the fuses being arranged to break the circuit when the normal current is exceeding by one third. All of the electric equipment was installed by the Wybro-Hendy Co. of San Francisco, under contract dated August 12 1899, for the sum of $8,814.
In the 1906 earthquake, there was damage done to this battery. During the construction of this battery it was very difficult to get rock for concrete, delays extending over a week being not infrequent. When the walls were carried up nearly to the top of the rooms, work was suspended until sufficient rock was on hand to insure the covering of the I beams in the roof. The more or less imperfect bond caused by this delay had been made manifest by the earthquake, a horizontal crack having developed, practically throughout the battery, near the ceiling line, causing some bad leaks in the battery, the estimated cost of repairs: $60.00.
In a letter dated March 30, 1934 from Captain Cyrus Shelton, 6th Coast Artillery Ordnance Officer, the battery was reclassified as class C. It is slightly older than the adjacent 6-inch Battery Chamberlin. Since Crosby and Chamberlin were similarly designed and armed Crosby played the lesser role of the two batteries, Crosby is unique in that a sign still remains painted on a wall explaining for whom the battery was named. This battery was not remodeled for long points. This battery was also connected to water and sewer, with a siphon latrine, for data transmission a telephone which was installed in 1914, in September 1915 all aerial lines were removed and a 10 pair lead covered cable was laid to the battery. Also a time interval bell was installed in each emplacement, on April 16, 1916 the B.C. telephone was removed from left crows nest and installed on wall between Gun #1 and #2, connected with F8 and to be used as a B.C. telephone, in March of 1941 B.C. reinstalled in left crows nest and telephones on wall between Guns #1 and Guns #2 were disconnected. Group Command phone installed in left crow's nest. In December 1941, H station phone installed in crow's nest. In August 1942 all communications moved to new B.C. on parade in rear of emplacement. A group intelligence phone was added. Spotting communications net was revised, completed and installed. Switch-box B.C.-94 added to communication installations, and ventilated by natural draft, 5" terra cotta vent from the magazine. Trunnion elevation in battery 176.4, Datum plane M.L.L.W. Traverse in Azimuth in emplacement #1 Left 42 degrees and the right 180 degrees, in emplacement #2 left was 41degrees and right 181 degrees.
Fire Control
Its B.C. B1 was a standard dug in station located at an elevation of 244.8 feet located behind the battery itself, was originally built in 1900, was rebuilt again in 1917, and 1920, the last one had Limiting Azimuths of field of view = 63.68 to 191.26 degrees, Height above Mean Low Water top of Pedestal 240.4 feet, Height above Mean Low Water Axis of Instrument 244.80 feet and was equipped with 1- Swasey D.P.F. A-2 Serial # 174, this station was moved to crow's nest of Gun #2 March 1941. It was moved from crow's nest to parade in rear of directing point of the battery in August 1942.
There was a B2S2 at Point Bonita constructed 1917 with a Limiting Azimuths of field of view = 328-148 degrees, the Height of Axis of Pedestal Above M.L.W.= 221.43.
The Plotting Room was constructed in 1900 with the following equipment:
There was no Horizontal Base System used in battery, until August 1942.
Its guns remained in service until 1943. This battery was salvaged by the commanding general, Fort Winfield Scott and sub-post, under directive contained in Secret letter, Office Of Chief Of Ordnance, file 400. 7/89 (s) SPOLP1P, Redist, and Salvage to Commanding General Ninth Service Command dated August 5 1943, Subject; "Disposal of Seacoast Batteries, Harbor Defense of San Francisco. It is in good condition today . Just South of the Golden Gate bridge, on a small finger of land above Baker Beach it covered the defensive minefield and adjacent waters in the Golden Gate. Still in good shape, but very hard to park close by.

Battery Crosby's Number 1 Gun. Image courtesy of Mr. Chuck Wofford.
Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Reports of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications: Battery Crosby
Battery Crosby Circa 2001
Battery Crosby. May 2001
Empacement for Gun 1. May 2001
Emplacement 1. May 2001
Other Online Histories
National Park Service
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco - A Field Guide 1890 to 1950
Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
View My Stats
Visitors since 8 December 1998
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 23 June 2017