Fort Norfolk History - 1853
In July 1853, Breese reported that the workmen were "rapidly carrying up the outside walls and setting the centering for the arches." He planned to have the magazine finished by the first of December (BY&D, Letters Received, Box 158, Breese to Smith, July 30,
1853). Money and materials were short, and Breese soon learned that his predecessor was partially responsible. In October, Breese consulted with one Mr. Latimer, the master mason at the Gosport Yard. Latimer reported that on several occasions during S. H. Stringham's tenure, the commandant had ordered him to use bricks allotted for the magazine on other projects at the navy yard. Already sensitive to criticism because of cost overruns, Breese requested that "$4,500 be credited to the Navy Magazine" (BY&D, Letters Received, Box 158, Breese to Smith, October 31, 1853).
Breese had ample cause to try and recoup construction funds. Three days before reporting Stringham's diversion, Breese had received word that half of the Pennsylvania slate to be used in the magazine's roof was "unfit for use." The slate had been stored in the abandoned fort buildings. The floor in one of the structures had collapsed under the weight, and the slate had cracked. In late October, Breese still needed over 100,000 bricks, 490 casks of hydraulic cement, 1,200 bushels of sand, and a new shipment of 46 squares of 20-in. slate to complete the magazine. He pushed the completion date back to April 1, 1854 (BY&D, Letters Received, Box 158, Brown to Breese, October 28, 1853).
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Source of Information
A CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF FORT NORFOLK, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District by the College Of WILLIAM & MARY, November 1995 under Contract No. DACW65-94-Q-0075.
David A. Clary's Fortress America: The Corps of Engineers, Hampton Roads, and United States Coastal Defense (1990)
William Bradshaw and Julian Tompkins's Fort Norfolk, Then and Now (n.d.).
The Norfolk Public Library vertical file of recent newspaper articles on Fort Norfolk. Including articles by James Melchor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that describe archaeological and architectural findings on the fort property.