William Crozier (artillerist)

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William Crozier
William Crozier.jpg
General William Crozier became Chief of Ordnance of the Army in 1901
Born (1855-02-19)February 19, 1855
Carrollton, Ohio
Died November 10, 1942(1942-11-10) (aged 87)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1876–1918
Rank Brigadier general
Commands held Chief of Ordnance
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Philippine-American War
China Relief Expedition
Relations Robert Crozier (father)

William Crozier (Carrollton, Ohio, February 19, 1855 – November 11, 1942) was an American artillerist and inventor.


Born at Carrollton, Ohio on February 19, 1855, Crozier was the son of Robert Crozier (1827–1895), Chief Justice of Kansas in 1863–1866, and a United States Senator from that state from December 1873 to February 1874. He in turn was descended from Robert Crozier, the General Secretary of The Methodist Conference and famous preacher in Ireland. William's father left Crocknacreevy in County Fermanagh in Ireland to go to the United States. William Crozier married Mary Williams on October 31, 1913; the only daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyt Williams and the late Charles Augustus Williams (1829-1899) of New London and Washington, and the sister of the Hon. William C. Williams (1862-1947), commissioner of immigration at Ellis Island in the Port of New York, from 1902-1905 and 1910-1914. The wedding took place at St. George's Church, Hanover Square, London. General Crozier and his wife are buried Arlington National Cemetery Section East Site S-28 with his wife Mary Williams Crozier.

Crozier's ancestors were of Norman descent and first emerged when they joined the armies of William the Conqueror to invade England in 1066. John Crozier came to Ireland as a Cavalry Officer in 1630 with Lord Strafford, prior to that he came from Redworth Hall, County Durham and his family had been there since 1407. Before that time they were in Westmorland. Robert Crozier in 1262 obtained a grant of land from the Abbot of St Bees in Cumberland. In the family arms, which are used to this day, are four bees and a cross indicating where they obtained their first grant.

The family consisted of Sir William (household steward to John of Gaunt) and Sir John Crozier, who had many manors in the home counties near to London and lived at Stoke D'Abernon in Surrey. Also in the family was William Crozier in the 15th century, who was Canon of Glasgow, Archdeacon of Teviotdale and he held many prebends, was a Papal Legate, one of the founding fathers of St Andrews University and was a Professor of Logic, he is well recorded in history and was connected to the Douglases.

Crozier graduated at West Point in 1876, was appointed a second lieutenant in the 4th Artillery, and served on the Western frontier for three years against the Sioux and Bannock Indians.


From 1879 to 1884 Crozier was instructor in mathematics at West Point, and was superintendent of the Watertown, Massachusetts Arsenal from 1884 to 1887. In 1888 he was sent by the War Department to study recent developments in artillery in Europe, and upon his return he was placed in full charge of the construction of gun carriages for the army, and with General Adelbert R. Buffington, the chief of ordnance, he invented the Buffington–Crozier disappearing gun carriage (1893).[1] He also invented a wire-wound gun, and perfected many appliances connected with heavy and field ordnance.

Cartoon of the American delegation to the International Peace Conference, 1899, featuring Captain Crozier, third from left

In 1890 Crozier attained the rank of captain. During the Spanish-American War he was inspector-general for the Atlantic and Gulf coast defences. In 1899 he was one of the American delegates to the Peace Conference at the Hague. He later served in the Philippines on the staffs of Generals John C. Bates and Theodore Schwan, and in 1900 was chief of ordnance on the staff of General Adna Chaffee during the China Relief Expedition.

In November 1901 he was appointed brigadier-general and succeeded General Buffington as Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army. He served until 1918, not counting the time he was away at the Army War College in 1912 to 1913. He presided over adoption of such firearms as the famous M1911 to the obscure M1909 Benet-Mercie light machine gun, as well as the end/removal of the last of the 30-06 Gatling Guns from the Army arsenal. In addition, he also oversaw and authorized the various arsenals around the country to donate and sell various condemned cannon for use in town centers, soldier's monuments, and posts for fraternal organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic. Many of these donated cannon can be seen in these locations to this day. His Notes on the Construction of Ordnance, published by the war department, were used as text-books in the schools for officers, and he also authored several other important publications on military subjects.

Other very famous firearm systems Crozier presided over the adoption of include the M1903 rifle, the M1918 BAR (adopted in 1917), and the M1917 machine gun, all of which would serve well into the latter half of the 20th century. He also played a role in the rejection of the Lewis Gun by the Army, although it was quickly adopted by the British and used effectively through both World Wars. A few were used by the United States Marine Corps, and eventually, by the Army to a limited degree.

He died at age 87 in 1942.

Gantt chart[edit]

In 1917, after a careful inspection of certain factories in which Henry Gantt had installed his methods, Crozier, then Chief of Ordnance, retained Gantt to act in a consulting capacity on production, first at the Frankford Arsenal, and then, immediately after the declaration of war, in the Ordnance Department at Washington.[2]

Large orders had been placed with arsenals and other manufacturing plants for the production of arms and munitions, but it was difficult to get a comprehensive idea of what progress was being made in the filling of these orders. Quantities had suddenly jumped from hundreds to millions, and it was impossible to convey by means of typewritten tables the significance of such unusual quantities or the time necessary to produce them. Charts of the usual type were unsatisfactory because they did not sufficiently emphasize the time and because of their bulk, since only one item could be put on a sheet.[2]

Gantt concentrated his attention on the development of a method of charting which would show a comparison between performance and promises. Several years previous to this time, he had used a chart on which the work for machines was "laid out" according to the time required to do it. The Gantt Progress Chart, as developed from this early form, was found to help in the making of definite plans and to be highly effective in getting those plans executed. The rate at which the work goes forward is continuously compared with the advance of time, which induces action to accelerate or retard that rate. These charts are not static records of the past: they deal with the present and future and their only connection with the past is with respect to its effect upon the future.[2]

Crozier quickly grasped the possibilities of this chart in helping to fix responsibility for action or lack of action, and had it introduced in various branches of the Ordnance Department. During 1918 these charts were used in the United States arsenals, in the production of naval aircraft, and in other government work, such as that of the Emergency Fleet, the Shipping Board, etc.[2]


On his death he bequeathed to the Philadelphia Museum 'The Crozier Collection,' which is a valuable collection of antique crystal, porcelain and china. This prized collection is today available for public viewing in Philadelphia.

Upon her death Mary Williams Crozier left a considerable sum to West Point for the purposes of erecting a hall, which was built and is called Crozier Hall as a fitting memorial to General William Crozier.

Mary Williams Crozier also left a very considerable balance of her estate in her will to The Connecticut College, New London, which is remembered in the form of College Center at Crozier-Williams. It is affectionately known today as The Cro, also a part of the building known as 'Crows Nest'. Already at Connecticut College is The Williams School, which represents the Williams family's long connection with New London.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Army Contract to be let". in: The New York Times, November 24, 1894.
  2. ^ a b c d Wallace Clark and Henry Gantt (1922) The Gantt chart, a working tool of management. New York, Ronald Press.

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