BATTERY KIRBY. This Endicott era battery was named in G.O. 16 in 1902 for 1st Lt. Edmund Kirby, 1st U.S. Artillery, brigadier general of volunteers (was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on the day he died) who died on May 28 1863, of wounds received at the battle of Chancellorville Virginia during the Civil War of the 1890.
This battery was armed with Two 12- BLR rifles Model 1895 nos. 12 and 16 came from the Watervliet Arsenal. The distance between the guns was 120 feet, the gun cost $45,000.00.
The following is information on the Model 1895 # 12 & 16
Emplacement #1 and # 2 The reference height of the crest=35.3 ft above mean low water.
Gun # 1 Model 1895 # 12was mounted and emplaced October 10 1900, under the supervision of 2nd Lt. H.B. Clarke, Limits of elevation of gun as mounted and emplaced:10.14' elevation; 1.05 depression, and the number of shots fired was 32. Azimuth and Altitude test made by Otto Von Gildeen, January 2nd and 8th 1901. This gun was dismounted Sept 21 1933 and sent to Fort Scott and then on Sept 27 1933 on orders # E-4174, from the Chief of Ordnance was shipped on the Ludington to H.D Manila and Subic Bay. This gun was emplaced in Battery Cheney on Corregidor.
Gun # 2 Model 1895 # 16was mounted and emplaced September 20 1900, under the supervision of 2nd Lt H.B. Clarke, Limits of elevation of gun as mounted and emplaced:10.12' elevation; 1.11 depression, and the number of shots fired was 31. Azimuth and Altitude test made by Otto Von Gildeen, January 2nd and 8th 1901. This gun was dismounted in the early part of 1941, and sent to HD Manila and Subic Bay, and was a spare for Battery Cheney, but was never emplaced.
The following is information on Carriage Model #1895 # 14 and # 15
Carriage Model 1895 #14was mounted 1900 under the supervision of 2nd Lt. Gardener, and was leveled Sep 27 1906 under the supervision of Mr Harkins.
Carriage Model 1895 #15was mounted in 1900, under the supervision of 2nd Lt. Gardener, and was leveled September 27 1906 under the supervision of Mr Harkins.
As to ammunition storage and service this battery 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 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 for.
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 August, 1898 a project was substituted for constructing a battery of two 12 inch guns at this point, an allotment of $76,917.00 was made the same month for it construction. Owing to the peculiarly sheltered position of this battery provision had only to be made against direct penetration. This was amply provided for and all concrete roof surfaces so shaped as to deflect any impinging shot. This favorable condition suggested the possibility of raising the magazines so as to disperse with lifts and greatly facilitate the service of the ammunition. This arrangement was adopted, the passageway being at the terreplein level, the floor of the magazine being 18" lower and that of the projectile rooms 1 foot lower. In rear of the terreplein an earthen slope with concrete stairs lead down to the level of a covered way upon which all service rooms open.
This battery was 210 feet across the front, and 120 feet deep, and contained the following rooms, Plotting Room 12" X 23 1/2", Engine Room that was 12 X 29 1/2 and in a separate room the Radiator Room or Fan Room which was 10 X 15 with a concrete wall between it with a Ventilating Duct connecting the two, the main Passage was 10' wide and 76' long, it was divided into three sections with a wooden partition at the end of 47' (used in later day storage ) section, between the partition was 17' and then the last section was 12'. The wooden partition has a door in each end, and at the end of the entire passageway there two steel swinging doors, going out onto the gun platforms, this was a one story battery, but the Engine Room and the Plotting Room, on the back of the battery, with the B.C. directly over the Plotting Room, it was 7' X 9'.
There we also two sets of building built outside the main battery, one behind emplacement # 2 was a tool Room , that was 7' X 20' and a Guard Room, that was 11 1/2 X 17 1/2, across and behind emplacement # 1 was the Latrine, one for officers, that was 6 1/2 x 9 and the enlisted men's was 6 1/2 X 16.
Construction of this battery began in 1899, with grading and clearing of the site, this took about seven day and at that time the excavation of the site was started with the removal of 15,857 cu. yds. of dirt and sand. The soil at the site of the battery is essentially aluvial; embankment of earth and clay were built on this to form the old earthen battery. The new battery is founded partly on natural ground and partly on the made ground of the old battery, and all parts of the concrete has not settled equally. It is evident that the floor of the passage and the thin walls were places of weakness were inequality of settlement of the masses in front and in rear of the passage produced a rupture.
As this progressed along the building of the forms was started, the forms were put in place and the only timber used in making the forms, in all cases is dressed lumber is to be used in making the forms. At this time the iron and steel, in the form of I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting ceilings, As far as the walls and roof of the battery, they used old tracks or any type of scrap metal to reinforce the concrete, and all had to be in place before the pouring of he concrete was started, there was over 213,2l0 lbs of reinforcement used in this battery. It was not until the invention of the different system of rein forcing concrete by deformed steel bars, which started in about 1903 that the above was used for reinforcing concrete.
At this time the pouring of the concrete was started and 5,125 cu. yds of concrete in this battery., and 4,128 cu. yds of finished concrete. Upon removing the forms from the magazine in November 1898, it was discovered that the concrete had cracked in several places, the chief crack appearing in the long passageway extending in the rear of the powder and shot rooms, there being four of these cracks extending the entire length of the passage.
It was deemed best to defer further work on this concrete mass until the winter rains were over and final settlement had taken place. Work was therefore confined thereafter to other portion of the battery, such as excavation for parapets, retaining walls, gun platforms, etc.
Particular attention was given to the drainage of emplacement #3; it is drained directly to the front of the beach. A tunnel was driven under the old parapet, a 6-inch pipe laid and the tunnel then filled up. The permanent water supply of the battery comes from the ravine to the northwest. A concrete settling basis has been built in this ravine from which a pipe carries the water to the battery. A hydrant is placed in the rear of each emplacement; the water is under good serviceable pressure.
In construction of the aprons in front of the guns, as they rest partly upon national ground and partly upon fill, the old flat iron traverse circles were distributed through the concrete in such a way as to resist the effect of unequal settlement, they had to be layered very carefully. No evidences of settlement or cracking have so far appeared. At the end of this fiscal year ( June 30 1899) there was a balanced of $3,710.47, that had not been expended.
During the month of June the work of finishing up this battery was commenced in July 1899, as it was considered no further settlement of a serious character was to anticipated.
The cracks in the concrete were filled with cement mortar and the floors and walls were finished in the ordinary manner. The upper surface of the concrete covering of the rooms was finished with asphalt laid as following: First was placed a layer of hot asphaltie cement one eight inch thick; next a layer of asphaltic cement and sand about 21/4 inch thick, and last a layer of hot asphaltic cement one-eight inch thick with hot sand spread over it. This protective coating was laid with great care, but there indication that it is not waterproof and the subject of it removal and the substitution of other covering will receive consideration.
During October the carriages arrived in San Francisco in the fall of 1899, and were landed at the Fort Baker wharf, so a written agreement was made with Jas A. McMahon of San Francisco Ca, for moving the carriages from the landing to the site of the batteries for $2,947.00. The contractor delayed working, thinking the weather would be more favorable, and it was in April before the first barge load was delivered, an attempt to land the previous month proving unsuccessful.
During May the remaining parts of the carriage were successfully delivered, and in June the base rings were set, and recommendation made that the battery be turned over to the artillery. The gun were showed mounted in the 1902 report, but can not find out and record of them being received, they were mounted in 1900.
One of the thing to add, is the using of sand on the front and flanks of the lower floor of batteries, the sand was filled in front of the concrete, In this battery over 15,000 cu. yds of fill, a lot of it was from the excavation of the battery it self.
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 and the keys, were transferred to the Artillery commander. This battery was completed in 1900, and transferred on August 5 1900, at a cost of $70,334.18 .
The B.C. for this battery is located above and to the North, and was constructed in 1908; it was an early station with a metal roof. The B station was construction in 1908, the height above M.L.L.W. of tops of concrete piers for the range finding instrument: 29.32 ft, Height of axis of instrument above top of concrete piers: 4.38, Height of axis of instrument above M.L.L.W.: 33.7 ft, and had one D.P.F. Type A Model 1898 # 32, Telescope #7, all the equipment was removed from this station and abandoned about December 20 1934, and was put in storage at Fort Barry until the new station was completed at Tennessee Point to replace the abandoned station. The station was abandoned because of obstruction of field of view by the Marin Pier of the Golden Gate Bridge.
It had telephone and speaking tubes for data transmission , it also had a siphon la trine, and was connected to sewer and water,(The original source of the water supply was through spring water stored in wooden tank, Through long periods of disuse this tank deteriorated and fell to pieces, the pipe from the spring rusted away and be fore this battery can be put into full effective for war purposes an adequate source of water must be sup plied in order to accommodate the requirements of the above mentioned power plant) it also had natural ventilation by 6" vents from magazine terminating in traverse wall, trunnion elevation in battery was 40.0, Datum M.L.L.W.
On the one story back the constructions plans show 2 doors and 4 windows, I think this is a discrepancy, for one thing in looking at the battery and the R.C.W. of Dec. 1919, it shows one door and three windows into the plotting room, and one door and three windows into the engine room. This battery was the first to receive WW11 guns 4/155 were emplaced Dec 8 1941, for a short length of time.
This battery saw service from 1898 to March 30 1934, when it placed in "Abandoned" status by a Memorandum, HQ H.D. of San Francisco. The guns already been removed and the carriages remained in place until Aug. 1943, when they were sold for junk. This battery is on a walk in road going down to Kirby cove, a very pretty spot for taking pictures, but it is a long walk in and down to the beach.