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
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.
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.
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.
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:
1 only Plotting Board # W-H Model 1904
Serial # 190,
1 only Wind Component Indicator Model
1906, Serial # 85,
1 only Deflection Board, Model 1905, Serial
1 only Pratt Range Board, Model 1905 Serial
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.
Number 1 Gun. Image courtesy of Mr. Chuck Wofford.
Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications