Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Fort Winfield Scott: Battery Sherwood
by Chuck Wofford
This Endicott battery was named in GO
16, February 14 1902, in honor of Lt Walter Sherwood, 7th Infantry,
who was killed in hand to hand encounter with Seminole Indians,
near Fort Micanopy, Florida, on December 28th 1840. Graduated
from West Point, 1837. Born in New Jersey. Appointed from New
This battery was armed with 2 - 5-inch
rapid-fire guns, Model 1900 nos 2 &13, and were manufactured
by Watervliet Arsenal. The gun weighted 11,120 lbs, and the gun
cost $6,250.00. There were 48 manufactured.
The above guns were mounted on, pedestal
mounts Model 1903, nos 16 and 17 nondisappearing; the carriage
weighted 15,300 lbs, at a cost of $8,150.00. There were 21 built,
and there were 20 original emplacement, time emplaced was 1904
to 1909, and relocations until 1919.
The following is information on 1900 gun
& 1903 mount:
This battery has a distinct class of weapons,
whose appearance in the area did not begin until many of the
major works were underway. This was the new generation of light
caliber guns, technically called "Rapid Fire" weapons.
The guns in general shared a number of features, the principal
one of which was--as there generic designation indicates the
ability to delivery fire at high rates, as much as 20 or 30 rounds
per minute for short periods by the smaller pieces. This ability
was due of course to there use of ammunition light enough to
be handled manually. In form these weapons were quite simple:
light guns mounted on carriages technically classified as barbette,
though actually nothing more that pedestals, in addition to the
gun itself, the mounts supported the necessary elevation and
traversing machinery plus the recoil and counter-recoil appliances,
which were usually of a hydraulic-spring mount combination.
The following information is on Gun Model
1900 guns #2 & #13
The reference height of the crest = 93.88
ft above mean low water, for both emplacement.
Gun #1 Model 1900 # 2 were mounted and
emplaced February 23 1905, under the supervision of the Ordnance
Dept. Limits of elevation on gun as mounted and emplaced: 16°
and the number of shots fired 9 (from 1911 list).
Gun #2 Model 1900 # 13 were mounted and
emplaced February 23 1905, under the supervision of Ordnance
Dept. Limits of elevation on gun as mounted and emplaced: 16°
and the number of shots fired 5 (from 1911 list).
The following information is on Carriage
Model 1903 # 16 & 17
Carriages Model 1903 # 16-17 were mounted
December 1902, under the supervision of Ordnance Dept, and was
leveled by the Ordnance Dept.
As to ammunition storage and service for
this battery had storage space, which were called Magazines.
The movement of ammunition must be very rapid and it is the duty
of the Engineer Department to so design it emplacement 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 at least as rapidly as it can be loaded into the gun
and fired; and so the rate of fire which can be obtained from
the gun be limited by consideration other that the functioning
of the portion of the ammunition service for which the Engineer
Department is responsible. The means that must be provided for
moving ammunition depend of course upon the weight and bulk of
the piece to be moved.
For the guns in this 5-inch battery, the
projectiles and the powder are ordinarily stored and transported
to the gun in the form of complete cartridges put up in metal
cases, similar as the cartridge used in the infantry rifle. The
projectile were stored in rows along the wall of the shell room.
The ammunition supply for this battery was stored in the shell
room, which was 13.3 X 22.0 (there were 2 of them) and held 1000.
Larger amounts could be put in the shell rooms, by stacking higher
or closer together. The shells for these small caliber guns usually
issued as fixed ammunition put up in metallic cartridges, and
shipped to the battery in wooden boxes or cases containing several
rounds. It is kept in the form that it was received until just
before it is to be used, when the boxes are broken open. Its
storage, therefore consist simply in piling up the boxes in the
most convenient arrangement.
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.
After this the constructions starts, during
this period Army Regulations place the structures within the
exclusive control of the Engineer Department.
On December 20 1899, $17,473.00 was allotted
for the construction of this battery; on May 6 1900 additional
funds were transferred from other allotment, to the construction
of this battery.
Construction of this battery began in
January 1900 with the grading and clearing of the site, which
took only 3days, then the excavation started with the removal
of 1250 cu. yds of dirt and sand.
In estimating the cost it was supposed
that the material encountered in the excavation would be sand
to a depth of 8 or 8 feet and clay for the remainder of the distance,
such being the character of the ground of the 8" emplacement
about 170 feet to the east.
Instead rock was met with 4 or 5 feet
below the surface. The average cost of the excavation was 65
cents per cubic yard, which was .10 cents a yard more than estimate.
The magazines being on a lower level that the platforms, it was
thought best to build them entirely separate, leaving planes
of weakness between them and the platforms. Every precaution
to prevent leaking was taken, drain tiles being placed around
the walls, which latter were plastered and painted with paraffine
After the excavation is finished, the
forms are started, on the timber used in making the forms, in
all cases dressed lumber will be used.
It is necessary at this time to mount
all metal in the foundation before the concrete was poured, in
this battery there had to be placed, Iron and Steel in the form
of I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting
ceilings, for reinforcing concrete, you can use wire mesh, deformed
steel bars, there was over 2150 lbs of reinforcing steel bars.
The gun block, which is the portion of
the emplacement, that supports the gun and the carriage, is generally
poured first, if the battery is built in a sandy location. The
Engineer Dept in preparing gun block design, has but little freedom
or responsibility. In this medium barbette emplacement the gun
blocks are very simple.
Then the gravity mixer was tried as an
experiment and proved very satisfactory, there being quite a
saving in labor over hand mixing and using 1252 cu yds of concrete,
and 1125 cu. yds finished concrete. Althrought the concrete was
made by hand, the peoportions being 1 of cement 31/3 of sand
and 8 of rock. It was mixed three times, twice dry and once wet,
by six men, and about 85 yards a day were put in place. for the
magazines, the proportions being 1 of cement 31/3 sand and 8
of rock by volume. It was mixed three times, twice dry and once
wet by six men, and about 85 cubic yards per day were put in
place. The work carried along continuously until June at which
time it was practically completed in FY 1900, except for setting
the base rings and whitewashing the rooms. The base ring will
be set as soon as they arrive, and rooms will be whitewashed
as soon as the concrete is dry.
This battery was 88' across and 57' deep
with 36' between the guns. Also on the 1st floor of this two
story battery, it had an Oil Room that was 8'3" x 10', and
a C.O. Room that was 10' x 12', and the magazines that were 13.3
x 22, as far as the plans show there were not any more rooms
in this battery, at the back of the battery there steps going
down a slope to the road that rain behind the battery. The final
items to do was to add, the sand on the front and flanks of the
lower floor of batteries. Then when a shell was fired at the
battery it has been found that a projectile entering a mass of
sand appears to have 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, there was
456 cu. yds of backfill and top fill were added to the slopes
The emplacements were completed in the
FY 1901, excepting the whitewashing of the interior rooms, and
setting the base rings, (name plates speaking tubes were purchased
and put in place) and a few minor details. The structure was
completed and the district Engineer officer prepares the "transfer
drawing" then the Engineer officer and the local Coast Artillery
officer make an inspection of the structure, and all was in order
and keys, were transferred to the Artillery commander. This battery
was near the National Cemetery at the Presidio, And was completed
in 1901, and was transferred on August 2 1902, at a cost of $20,355.07.
Electrification for this battery as well
as the other "cemetery battery came from an electric
plant from Battery Slaughter, the light wire were installed by
the Engineer Dept. The interior wiring is on porcelain cleats
screwed to wooden strips in the concrete and the exterior wiring
is carried by poles.
It was connected to water and sewer, but
there was not a latrine here, it data transmission was by telephone,
and was ventilated by natural draft. Trunnion elevation in Battery
was 92.6, Datum M.L.L.W.
Sherwood is somewhat isolated from the
main complex of battery at Fort Scott. After the early abandonment
of this battery,(1915) when the submarine mines were moved to
out side the Golden Gate, it gun were moved to Battery Bruff,
at Fort Funston, as per the Secretary of War February 10 1917
of plan proposed by the CG PAC, Coast Arty, under the date October
12 1916 (PCAD 3133). Battery Sherwood magazines were used for
storage and the boundary was redrawn to place this battery within
the Presidio of San Francisco, While it tactical value was short
lived, Battery Sherwood was the only battery of it type in the
Endicott period at San Francisco.
This battery saw service from 1900 until
1917, by this time the perfection of underwater mines made inner-harbor
defensive works largely obsolete. Because of there isolated location
and the limited parking Sherwood and Blaney will not receive
much visitation. They will remain of interest to visitors especially
involved with fortification Despite the heavy traffic on the
road to the bridge, the area containing Sherwood and Blaney is
a pleasant site or an idyllic spot from which to view the bay
and its shipping. This battery is in very good shape, well worth
the time to see.
Completed Works - Seacoast Fortification