Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Fort Winfield Scott: Battery Slaughter
by Justin Ruhge
Battery Slaughter had three 8-inch breech-loading
rifles mounted on disappearing carriages to be used for inner
harbor minefield defense.
A board of engineers had recommended in
1894 that some eighteen 8-inch breech-loading guns be distributed
around the inner harbor to bear on the minefields there. This
caliber was recommended because the Ordnance Department had not
yet adopted any type of lighter rapid-fire guns. One half of
these 8-inch batteries were eventually constructed.
Battery Slaughter was begun in 1898 and
completed in October 1899. The Model 1888 rifles were manufactured
at Watervliet Arsenal. The three carriages were manufactured
by Walker Company, Morgan Engineering Company and Pond Machine
The battery was located on the bluffs
opposite the National Cemetery. It was named on February 1902
in honor of Lieutenant William A Slaughter, Fourth Infantry,
who was killed by White River Native Americans at Brannon's Prairie,
Washington Territory, 1855.
In 1936 the dismounted battery was used
as a foundation and covered by the elevated roadway built to
approach the Golden Gate Toll Plaza, referred to as Doyle Drive.
A small portion of this battery is still visible today on the
edge of the northbound roadway.
by Chuck Wofford
This Endicott battery was named in GO
16, dated February 14, 1902, in honor of Lt. William A Slaughter,
Fourth Infantry, who was killed by White River (Wenatchee) Indians
at Brannons Prairie, Washington Territory, 1855. Graduated from
West Point in 1848, Brevet 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Infantry, July
1 1848, 2nd lieutenant 4th Infantry, November 6 1848. 1st Lieutenant,
July 22nd 1854. Born in Kentucky, appointed from Indiana.
This battery was armed with 3-8-inch BL
Rifles model 1888 nos. 2, 3, and 8, were fabricated by the Watervliet
Arsenal. The gun weighted 32218 lbs. and cost of the guns was
These guns were mounted on disappearing
carriages model 1896, Carriage 30 was manufactured by the Walker
Company; Carriage 25 was made by Morgan Engineering Co, and Carriage
2 was made by the Pond Machine Tool Co. And the carriage cost
As to ammunition storage and service,
this 8-inch battery it 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 do so. The means which must be
provided for moving ammunition, depend of course upon the weight
and bulk of the piece to be moved. There are several ways of
moving projectile, in this battery they moved them from the shell
room being suspended from a trolley moving on a trolley rail
hung from the ceiling, also a shell truck furnished by the Ordnance
Dept. Each trolley carried a half-ton Yale-Weston triplex block.
As to vertically movement of the shell,
an appliance for seizing hold of the shell, they used a tongs,
which looked like a pair if ice tongs, except there were three
rather they two, two on one side and one on the other, and was
located to close between the two other tongs, then opened wide
and placed as near the center of gravity as possible, then they
are closed and ready to be moved.
As far as Powder Service for this battery,
it was shipped to the battery in metal cases and stored in racks,
that they were shipped in, in most cases, there ends projecting
into the passageway. When a cartridge was desired the solder
strip was to be pulled of without moving the cartridge case from
the rack, this loosens the top of the case and the cartridge
is then pulled out, leaving the case still fastened in it's proper
place. All the powder is now carried in a handbarrow, by four
men, and is taken to the gun.
The ammunition supply for this battery
was stored in the shell room which was 10 X 24 (there were 3
of them) and held 300. The size of the powder magazine was 16
X 25 and 10 X 20 and held 1100. Larger amounts could be put in
the shell and power rooms, by stacking higher or closer together.
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. See the Appendices for the complete
July 11 1898 the Dept called for plans
and estimates for the construction of two emplacements for this
battery, and plans were submitted and an estimate calling for
an expenditure of $43,000, which was allotted in October 1898.
An additional allotment of $24,000 was made in December 1898
for the construction of a third emplacement at this battery.
Construction of this battery began in
1899, with the grading and clearing of the site; there were approximately
5300 cu ids of sand and dirt excavated. On the timber used in
making the forms, in all cases it will be dressed lumber will
be used, after they are in place, they put in and over 1800 lbs.
of reinforcement were put inside them. Then the next step is
to put in a foundation.
At this stage they started pouring over
975 cu. ids of concrete, and 1,275 cu. ft of finished concrete,
after that over 5,000 of backfill and top fill most of which
came from the cut made in front of this battery in order to make
a clear line of fire in that direction. The cut was made sufficient
for the additional gun which is to be placed in emplacement #4
of this battery, yet to be constructed, the work on this battery
went very fast, and by March 31 1899 very little was yet to be
done. The work went with speed, and at the close of the fiscal
year all the engineering work was completed except a few small
things. In October the balance of the base rings were set, and
by December the guns were mounted, and the battery was turned
over to the Artillery the following month.
At the close of the fiscal year the engineering
work was completed except the hanging of doors, installation
of trolleys. Electric lighting plant and plumbing work of the
latrines, sewers and water, top dressing a few of the slopes,
Terrepleins were macdranized and the gutters put in and building
a road to the battery.
In the magazines of this battery hollow-partition
tile were put in the magazines to form and air space. It was
placed in the concrete 2 feet from the wall of the room and extended
from 1 foot below the floor level to 2 1/2 feet above the ceiling.
The bottom was drained into the sewer
system and the top connected by a 3" pipe with the passageway
for ventilation. A damp-proof course was laid over the magazine
consisting of a layer of asphalt about 1" thick placed 21/2
feet above the ceiling on a level with the top of the partition
tile and extending to the outer edge of the tile In July 1899,
the road was finished, all of the slopes top dressed and one
base ring set. During August the setting of the doors was finished
and the trolleys installed. During September the painting of
the doors and plumbing of the latrine was finished.
In October the remaining base rings were
installed and a commencement made on erecting the light plant.
In December the light plant was finished, the guns were mounted,
in April the concrete surfaces exposed to view from the bay were
painted with paraffin paint to conceal them.
The battery was 325 ' across, and 120
' deep, and 120' between the guns, and had three cranes, this
battery also had 5 more rooms, 4 of them were 10' x 16' and one
was 16 x 221/2', and two galleries behind the powder and shells
room one was 8' x 64 and the other was 8' x 39', the size of
these rooms were changed a couple of times before building, theses
sizes are off the approved construction plans. I do not know
what the other rooms were, may have been a C.O. Room, Guard Room
or Oil Room, plans do not show, and with three sets of stairs
leading down the slope to the road behind the battery.
When the structure is completed the district
Engineer officer prepares the so called "transfer drawing"
then the Engineer officer and the local Coast Artillery officer,
make an inspection of the structure, and all was in order, the
keys, are transferred to the Artillery commander. Completed in
1900 and transferred on January 23 1900 a cost of $71,062.63.
This battery was electrified in December
of 1900, it used 3.46 kW, and had one 25 kW Hornsby-Akroyd horizontal
oil engine; De La Vergne and one 1.875-kw, 125 volt, direct,
multi-polar belted dynamo; Westinghouse Elec. Mfg. Co; purchased
January 10, 1900. Which was installed in the engine room with
some space partitioned off for the radiator, and supplied current
for Slaughter, Sherwood, Blaney, and Baldwin, F/9 Slaughter,
F/5, F/6 and a type A switchboard (lights in building only) the
feeder lines were in the engine room in the generator panel of
the emplacement plant switchboard, being there were no motors
in the battery. Transferred to Artillery on January 23, 1900,
at a cost of $1,293.00.
This battery was connected to water and
sewer and had a syphon latrine (the only one of the Cemetery
batteries to have one) and it data transmission was by telephone.
This battery was ventilated by natural draft, 20" X 20"
concrete shaft with hinged iron cover from the magazine. Trunnion
elevation in battery 88.7, Datum M.L.L.W. This battery was also
referred to as a National Cemetery Battery.
This battery saw service from 1885 to
1917. The three 8-inch guns in this battery were dismounted and
Shipped back to the Watervliet Arsenal in November 17 1917, C.O.
Per tel. So Pac CAD dated 12 October 1917. After that it was
used for storage until most of this battery was buried during
the construction of the southern approach road to the Golden
Gate bridge during the 1930s. One corner of concrete remains
to be seem today by Battery Blaney, but in the last years, two
of the shell room were found, and are intact. And there has been
a clean up of the battery, and it seems it was just buried and
not broken up. This emplacement was turned over to the jurisdiction
of the Presidio of San Francisco in accordance with and adjustment
of the administrative boundary between Fort Scott and The Presidio
of San Francisco.
Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications (December 1919)