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The CHAIRMAX. How long has that condition existed ?
Mr. Smith. For quite some time, and under the new firing they are swinging to the left several degrees. They used to fire way out into the river and now they are swinging toward the quarters more.
The CHAIRMAN. Why do they swing toward the quarters more!
Mr. Smith. Because they want to get nearer the shore in plaeing their shells in the river.
The CHAIRMAN. What quarters have you there now?
Mr. Smity. There are quarters for the inspector, quarters for the three commissioned officers there under the inspector, and there are quarters for the chemist in charge and also for the employees.
The CHAIRMAN. Are they all permanent quarters?
Admiral Harris. They are all timber quarters; no brick or concrete.
The CHAIRMAN. Are these buildings to be moved or demolished? Admiral HARRIS. Some of them are to be moved.
Mr. Smith. There are four suitable for moving and the others are not very good quarters.
The CHAIRMAN. Which ones are not to be moved?
Mr. Smith. The quarters for the chemist are not to be moved and for the two employees in the powder factory. I do not know just their designation.
The CHAIRMAN. How many employees do the quarters house?
Mr. Smith. I am not prepared to say exactly, but I think there are six.
The CHAIRMAN. How much is to be spent for this purpose ?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not understand exactly why the line of firing is to be changed.
Mr. Smith. That has been changed in order to bring the shell falling into the river in nearer the shore and away from the channel. The CHAIRMAN. What is the reason for that?
Mr. SMITH. That is a matter in the discretion of the inspector of ordnance and I have not that information.
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to know just why that is done. What other items are there?
NOTE.—The reason for the shifting of the line of firing to the left, bringing it in line with the administration building and quarters, is as follows: Originally firing was conducted in the opposite direction than now obtains, shells landing on property owned by the Government. With the larger caliber guns, this range was inadequate, so that firing was then done down the river toward the Virginia shore. As ranges continued to increase, it was necessary to shift the line of firing so as to drop shells in the river instead of on the Virginia side.
ADDITIONAL RAILROAD TRACK.
Admiral HARRIS. Additional railroad track, new office and physical laboratory.
The CHAIRMAN. How much for the track?
Mr. SMITH. That is to connect up the new land and the new buildings that we are asking for and the general improvement of the railroad track there in order to better serve the manufacturing plant.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you asking authority to purchase land down there!
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Admiral HARRIS. That is included in these items. I am coming to that. Physical laboratory, $50,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there not one there now?
Mr. SMITH. The office now is right in range, too, and that will have to be changed and a new office put up. The shells go over this office and several fragments have dropped near the building, and one small fragment actually hit the building. The item of moving is urgent, sir. It is dangerous the way it now exists.
ADDITIONAL GUN PITS-SOLVENT RECOVERY PLANT.
Admiral HARRIS. Two additional gun pits, $20,000. Extension to yard service system I suppose that is the cables and water and light and power line-$12,500. Solvent recovery, $81,000. The CHAIRMAN. What does that mean?
Mr. Smith. In working guncotton they use a great deal of ether, and after the powder is manufactured they store it in these bins and circle air through the powder, and that air as it comes out is heavily surcharged with ether, and they recover that ether.
The CHAIRMAN. Do they not do that now!
Mr. SMITH. They do that now, yes, sir; but, of course, they are increasing their output and need additional facilities. There is a direct saving to the Government in doing that.
The CHAIRMAX. What is the next item?
BLENDING TOWER AND PACKING HOUSE.
Admiral Harris. Blending tower and packing house, $14,000.
Mr. Surth. That is a three-story structure. The powder that comes from the different parts of the powder plant is in three or four grades and colors, etc., and they blend it to make the one finished powder.
The CHAIRMAN. What else?
PUBCHASE OF LAND-CORNWALLIS NECK-INDIANHEAD PENINSULA--STUMP NECK.
Admiral Harris. The next two items are purchase of land consisting of the following tracts: Cornwallis Neck, Indianhead Peninsula, 1,175 acres. $157,000; land below Stump Neck, 3.157 acres, $240,000. This chart sindicating] shows the land.
The CHAIRMAN. You want to get 4,300 acres of additional land. How much have you now?
Mr. Smith. I think it is 780 acres, sir. YOTE.--The land at Indianhead was purchased in two parcels, one in 1890. 881 acres, one in 1898, 1,050 acres, making the total land at Indianhead 1,931 acres.
The CHAIRMAX. What is the necessity for any such increase as that!
Mr. SMITH. The armor butts as they are now placed are in the valley and right close to the guns. They want to move the armor pits so as to permit an attack at a distance. They are now within 500 feet, so that they have no facilities for attacking armor at long range, which is essential.
The CHAIRMAN. You never have done that?
Mr. Smith. In the information to be gained on the effect of angle fire and the effect of lines of the shells, and it seems to me it is an emergency matter to get that information. They also want to land shells at the maximum range that this land will give them of 21,000 yards, and then recover the shells to see the fuse action and the action of flight, and all that, and that is highly essential.
The CHAIRMAN. It has never been proposed before.
Mr. SMITH. It has been proposed a number of times, but we have never been able to get the funds to do it. It has always been considered essential and very necessary.
Admiral HARRIS. May I read this note in connection with the purchase of this land:
The purchase of this land is recommended to permit the work to be carried on in a safe and proper manner and further to remove the armor butts from directly in front of the firing battery, in order that the time now wasted by men on the butts having to take shelter when guns are fired for ranging or other purposes may be saved to the Government and used to advantage. This is also in line with recommendations of the board. They recommended the purchase of the tract of land below Stump Neck to permit of high-angle fire of all but the largest guns. Furthermore it is believed that proper facilities should be provided for attacking armor erected on Stump Neck, both for fuse work and for shell experimental work which is now out of the question with the materials installed at the rifle range as they are now.
The CHAIRMAN. These two tracts of land are quite close to each other, are they not?
Admiral HARRIS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How do you account for the difference in price? The price of one is about double the price of the other.
Mr. Smith. That is simply on account of the assessed valuation of the land. We have the figures as to the assessed valuation.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it farm land ?
Mr. SMITII. Some of it is farm land and some of it is forest and unimproved land. It is not very good farm land.
The CHAIRMAN. $134 an acre is a pretty good price for unimproved, no account land down at Indianhead.
Mr. SMITH. That is not a high price.
Mr. SMITH. Some of it is under cultivation, especially the land south of Stump Neck.
INDIANHEAD, INCREASING OUTPUT AT.
The CHAIRMAN. Before you take that up, are these expenditures at Indianhead for the purpose of increasing the output there?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. To what extent? Mr. Smith. I have not the percentage of increase. The CHAIRMAX. Does the Navy make all of its own powder, now? Mr. SMITH. No, sir. The CHAIRMAX. It is buying some of its powder outside ? Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. And it is paying now 43 cents? Mr. SMITH. That I do not know. Admiral Harris. I would suggest that that question be asked the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. Unfortunately, he is in the hospital, or he would have been down here this morning. He has just been operated on.
The CHAIRMAN. His assistant was here yesterday. Suppose you let us know how much powder you manufacture at Indianhead and how much you are buying on the outside and what you are paying now and what it costs to manufacture and how much it is proposed to increase the output at Indianhead.
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir. VOTE.—The improvements at Indianhead will increase the output slightly. They are required, however, to give the station a balanced plant. There are manufactured at Indianhead an average of 7,000,000 pounds of powder per annum. During the fiscal year 1916, this powder cost, including all charges, 44 cents per pound. The detailed cost for 1917 has not yet been completed. It is expected, however, that the increased cost during this period will amount to 5 cents, making the total cost per pound during the fiscal year 1917 approximately 49 cents. There are now on hand from outside contracting firms 49,900,000 pounds of powder at an average cost of 51 cents per pound.
The CHAIRMAN. What else is there?
NEWPORT TORPEDO STATION.
Admiral HARRIS. Improvements at the torpedo station, Newport, $900,000.
The CHAIRMAN. What is that for?
Admiral Harris. To increase the output involves a rearrangement of the plant and an extension of the power plant to furnish more current for the plant. The rearrangement proposed is not to build any more shop buildings for the manufacturing work but to take the power plant out of the building which at present they could use for manufacturing purposes and put up a new power plant to take care of the increased output of the whole place, and then extend the manufacturing plant into the power plant.
The CHAIRMAN. How much is estimated for the new plants
Mr. Smith. The total output of the new plant will be abouk 3,000 kilowatts.
Admiral HARRIS. No; the output of torpedoes.
Mr. SMITH. That would be from 900 to 1,000 under the new arrangement.
The CHAIRMAN. Then it would be an increase of 100 annually!
Mr. SMITH. No; the capacity now, as I understand it, is about 350 per annum, and the capacity under the new arrangement, when these facilities are available, will run between 900 and 1,000.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought you said it would be an increase from 900 to 1,000. Three hundred and fifty is the capacity now?
Mr. SMITH. Yes; and this will increase it to 900 or 1,000 torpedoes.
FORT MIFFLIN NEXT TO LEAGUE ISLAND, PHILADELPHIA, PA.
(See p. 291.)
Admiral HARRIS. Right next to League Island, near Philadelphia, on the Delaware River. It is proposed to purchase approximately 110 acres of land between the eastern and northern boundaries of the present munition depot and the Schuylkill River. This land is mostly high land, which will permit of the construction of heavy, permanent buildings without pile foundations, and the saving in buildings so constructed will offset to a large extent the cost of purchasing the land.
The CHAIRMAN. How much will the land cost?
MAGAZINES AND SHELL HOUSES FOR STORAGE OF FIXED AMMUNITION.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a proposal to put buildings there? Admiral HARRIS. Yes, sir; that is in the $1,414,000, the first item.
The CHAIRMAN. How much of the $1,444,000 is to be expended there?
Mr. SMITH. We contemplate eight buildings under the $1,444,000. They will run about $45,000 each.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there eight buildings there now?
Admiral Harris. No; we are going to put eight buildings at Fort Mifflin out of the $1,441,000.
The CHAIRMAN. What will they be?
Mr. SMITH. They will be magazines and shell houses, for the storage of fixed ammunition and shells.
BUILDINGS AT HINGHAM, MASS., AND LAKE DENMARK, N. J.
(See p. 293.)
The CHAIRMAN. Where is the balance of the $1,414,000 to be expended?
Mr. SMITH. We contemplate putting 12 buildings at Hingham, at the naval-ammunition depot. Ten buildings at Lake Denmark.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is that?
Mr. SMITH. In New Jersey, just about 7 miles north of Dover. We have a large ammunition depot there. That will leave 8 or 9 buildings, as the amount will permit, at St. Julien, 4 other buildings, and 4 out on the west coast. That gives a distribution of 35 buildings that we can build with the $1,444,000.