Page images

the weather was suitable, it was decided to widen the channel as far as the available funds would allow, about $2,500.

The amount expended up to June 30, 1885, was $32,000.

The work was completed in accordance with the approved project on August 7, 1884, and the appropriation is exhausted.

At the close of the work there was a channel with a minimum width of 210 feet and a depth of 8 feet at mean low water. July 1, 1824, amount available

$2,498 32 July 1, 1885, amount expended during fiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1904..

2, 498 32 (See Appendix H 17.)

18. Wicomico River, Maryland. The natural channel of this river for some distance below the town of Salisbury was quite crooked and warrow, and at the shoalest places did not afford more than a few in bes of water at low tide. Much injury had also been done by the situ-mills powing their dust into it. A considerable portion of the shoals was found to be composed of water-soaked saw.dust mixed with mud and saud.

The project for improving this river was adopted in 1871, and had in view the giving a depth of 7 feet at mean low water in a channel about 70 feet wide for a distance of about 2 miles below the bridge at Salisbury. The project also included some dikes for the contraction of the water-way and as a place behind which to deposit material dredged from the channel.

Under the appropriation of $10,000 appropriated July 5, 1884, a contract was made for continuing work in accordance with the approved project, and the work is now being carried on and will probably be finished early in September.

This will give a channel of from 100 to 85 feet in width and a depth of 7 feet at mean low water, an extension of the original plan.

Total amount expended to June 30, 1885, was $15,524.17. Amount appropriated by act approved July 5, 1884...

$10,000 00 July 1, 18-5, amount expended during tiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1-84.

$3,500 63 July 1, 1887, outstanding liabilities.

2,021 01

5,521 24 July 1, 1885, amount available.....

4, 478 16 (See Appendix H 18.)

19. Upper Thoroughfare between Deil's Island and the mainland.-At its eastward end this passage is an arm of Tangier Soud, of considerable width, narrowing and shoaling rapidly, and exposed to southwest storms. The Maryland Steamboat Company, running from Baltimore, have a pier at Deil's Island.

The original plan was for dredging a harbor and making a protecting breakwater, and the estimate for the same was $20,000. July 1, 1984, amount available

$1,810 26 ly 1, 1985), annonnt expended during fiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1-81....

140 35 July 1, 1885, amount available..

4, 669 91 Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project.... 15,100 10 Amount that can be profitably expenderin tiscal yearending inne 30,1-87 15, 000 00 Submitted in compliance with requirements of section 2 of river and

harbor acts of 1-06 and 1-07. (See Appendix II 19.)

20. Removing sunken vessels or craft obstructing or endangering navi. gation.—Two sunken barges were reported on January 6, 1885, as being Dear Grove Point and in way of vessels going up the bay to Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

An examination was ordered to ascertain if the wrecks caused such obstruction to navigation as is contemplated by section 4 of the river and harbor act of June 14, 1880.

Two attempts were made to make the examination, but failed on account of ice in the Chesapeake Bay. Finally, on the 7th of April, 1885 an examination was made from the steamer Fish Hawk, loanell by the U. S. Fish Commission, and, the barges were found to have sunken to a safe depth and no longer dangerous.

(See Appendix H 20.)


The following locality was examined by the local engineer in charge, and not recomiended for improvement:

1. Harbor at Easton Point, commencing at a point on Third Haven River tchere the Gorernment work on the channel of said rirer was recently suspended.—The report on this examination was transmitted to Congress and printed in House Ex. Doc. No. 71, Forty eighth Congress, second session. (See also Appendix H 21.)

And it appearing, after preliminary examination by the local engi. neer, that the localities were worthy of improvement by the General Government, Mr. Smith was charged with and completed the following, the results of wbich were transmitted to Congress and printed :

1. Lewes Creek and Rehoboth Bay, Delaware, Assateague and Chincoteague bays, Maryland, with a view to form continuous inland navigation from Chincotegue Bay, in Virginia, to Delaware Bay, at or near Leves, Delaicare.--Printed in House Ex. Doc. No. 107, Forty-eighth Congress, second session. (See also Appenulix H 22.)

2. Pocomoke River and Sound, Maryland.-Printed in House Ex. Doc. No. 186, Forty-eighth Congress, second session. (See also Appendix H 23.)

3. Skipton Creek, Maryland.—Printed in House Ex. Doc. No. 192, Forty-eighth Congress, second session. (See also Appendix fl 24.)

II Reports submitted for the following localities will be found appended to this report as follows:

4. Tuckahoe Creek, Maryland. (See Appendix H 25.) 5. Sassafras Rirer, Maryland, above Georgetown. (See Appendix H 26.)



Officer in charge, Lieut. Col. W. P. Craighill, Corps of Evgineers.

Channel to Baltimore, Maryland.The depth in this channel has been by successive steps increased from 17 feet at mean low water to 27 feet, with an average rise of tide of about 18 inches.

The project of improvement at first adopted and commenced in Oc.

tober, 1853, had for its object to give a channel 22 feet deep at mea low water, with a width of 10 feet.

Little was done before the late war, but afterwards these dimensions were increased, a depth of 24 feet at mean low water being determined upon, with a width of channel ranging from 250 to 400 feet. This chan nel was completed in 1874, important changes of position having bee given to a portion of it by which the distance was materially lessened and the expense of maintenance decreased.

The object of the improvement was to permit the approach to Balti more at mean low water of vessels drawing from 224 to 23 feet, and a ordinary high water of vessels drawing 24.and 243 feet.

The last appropriation previous to 1884 was in August, 1882, $450,000 there being none in 1883. This was expended in giving a depth of 2 feet in the Fort McHenry, Brewerton, and Craighill branches of the channel, and in the "cut-off" between the Brewerton and Craighil branches, by which last a saving of nearly a mile in distance was made besides an improvement in direction and diminution in cost of mainte nance. The width attained was, however, too little.

The work of 1883 greatly exceeded what was ever accomplished in one year before, and probably more of its kind than was ever execute at any other locality in the United States in a single year. The larg amount of 3,083,804 cubic yards of material was removed.

At the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1884, the widths in the severa divisions of the channel were as follows:

Fort McHenry to Fort Carroll, 250 feet; Brewerton Channel to cut off, 250 feet; cut-off to Craighill Channel, 225 feet, except for a spac of one-half mile in length in the central portion, where it was but 16 feet wide; Craighill Channel, 200 feet wide.

But little was done in the first half of 1884, for want of money. Th improvement was vigorously pushed during the remaining portion o the working season of 1884 and in 1885. It is a very fortunate circun stance that the material through which the channel has been excavate has been for the most part quite soft and yielding, so that if a vesse happens to touch the sides of it she need not suffer serious damage un less she be moving at too great speed or be very carelessly handled.

The following are the widths of the respective branches of the char nels June 30, 1885, with a depth of 27 feet at mean low water:

Craighill Channel..

Cut-off Channel..

Brewerton Channel

Fort McHenry Channel




Though the depth of 27 feet at low water has been reached an seems to suffice for present needs, the width is too little for easy or sa navigation by very large vessels whose length is considerably greate than the width of the channel.

Up to June, 1884, the United States had expended $2,084,489.12 wit the results indicated above. The city of Baltimore and the State Maryland, chiefly the former, had contributed to the same objec $584,000.

Dredging was suspended June 30, 1885, owing to the failure of Co gress to appropriate at the last session. The balance available mu be held in hand for use in case of an emergency. Advantage has bee taken of this absence of dredges to make a thorough resurvey of tl whole channel. The results of this survey are not yet ready, but wi be submitted in a special report if necessary.

July 1, 1821, amonnt available
Amount appropriated by act approved July 5, 1844

$70, 463 65 250,000 00

320, 463 65 July 1, 1885, amonnt expended during fiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1881

289, 617 24 July 1, 1885, annount available

30. -16 41 Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project

200, 000 00 Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal yearending June 30, 1*-7 200,000 00 Submitted in compliance with requirements of section 2 of river and

harbor acts of 1866 and 1867. (See Appendix I.)


Officer in charge, Maj. Peter C. Hains, Corps of Engineers.

1. Harbors at Washington and Georgetown, District of Columbia.--The improvement of the harbors at Washington and Georgetown was first undertaken by the Government in 1870. Prior to that time the chanpel over the bar below Georgetown had only 8 feet of water at mean low tide. It was crooked, narrow, and difficult to navigate, so much so that up to 1870 the corporation of Georgetown had itself spent considerable money in dredging it. The bar below Long Bridge was less troublesome and somewhat deeper, but did not satisfy the wants of cominerce. The Washington Channel or harbor, along the city front, from the northern limit of the arsenal to Long Bridge had a ruling depth of only 10 feet at mean low tide. There were, besides, in the har. bor of Georgetown many projecting rocks with a depth of water over them that rendered navigation difficult and dangerous.

The original project looked to securing a depth of 16 feet at low tide to Georgetown and along the wbarves of the Washington Harbor from Arsenal Point to Long Bridge, and the removal of the most dangerous rocks that obstructed navigation in the harbor of Georgetown. When by act of August 2, 1882, Congress made an appropriation for improving the Potomac River in the vicinity of Washington, D. C., having reference to the improvement of navigation, the establishment of the harbor lives, and the raising of the flats, the project was modified and limited to the removal of rocks in Georgetown Harbor to the depth of 20 feet at mean low tide, that being the depth to be given to the channel below under the late act. For the last two and a half Fears work has been carried on under the amended project. The total amount that has been expended on the improvement of Washington and Georgetown harbors up to the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885, is $272,923.25; of this amount $249,505.28 was expended on dredging the approaches to Georgetown Harbor and the Washington Channel; the remainder was expended in the removal of rocks in Georgetown Harbor. At that time there was full 20 feet of water at mean low tide in the barbor at Georgetown, except in certain places where projecting points of rocks had been found.

During i he past fiscal year operations have been directed to the removal of the projecting rocks. The work has been done by contract. Daring the year $15,072.48 has been expendeid; ten rocks have been

removed, and the removal of the others is being carried on under contract.

No additional appropriation is asked for this work. July 1, 1-84, amount available.

... $34, 0-4 78 July 1, 135, amount expended during fiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1-4.

$15, 072 48 July 1, 1-13, outstanding liabilities..

586 63

5,659 11 July 1, 1855, amount available..

18, 4:6 67 (See Appendix J 1.)

2. Potomac Rirer at l'ashington, District of Columbia. The project for the improvement of the Potomac River in the vicinity of Washing. ton, D. C., was adopted by act of Congress passed Anglist 2, 1882, and has for its object the improvement of the navigation of the river by deepening and widening its channels so as to accommoilate vessels of the largest class that can reach Giesboro’ Point; the establishment of harbor lines beyond which no obstructions, such as wharves, &c., should be built, and at the same time to fill and raise the marshes or flats in front of the city above overflow by the highest freshets, the material taken from the river in deepening and widening the channel to be used in filling the flats.

Before the improvement was commenced the flats or marshies in front of the city bad become so offensive that certain parts of the city in their neighborhood were not habitable. The channel to Georgetown was narrow and crooked, and had not sufficient depth to accommodate vessels trading to that port; the Washington Channel leading to the wharves along the front of the city, between Long Bridge and the site of the arsenal, was also inadequate to the wants of commerce. Vessels draw. ing 16 feet frequently grounded in the Georgetown Channel, and that depth was only maintained by frequent dredging.

The expenditures for the improvement have thus far amounted to $532,445.22, and have given a channel from Giesboro’ Point to Georgetown 20 feet deep at low tide, and over 300 feet wide, and a partially completed chamel along the Washington Channel of the same depth. In addition, about 2,100,000 cubic yards of tilling, including embank. ment, have been deposited on the flats, raising above overtlow by mean high tide about 225 acres of marshi land. A temporary embankment has been built along each side of the sewer canal to prevent the sewage discharged into it from spreading out over the flats, and to enable the flats on each side of it to be filled with the material taken from the Virginia Channel. About 15,000 linear feet of embankment have been built along the margins of Sections I, II, and III, with a riprap footing of loose stone. About 6,000 linear feet of similar embankmeut have been built along the margin of the large tidal reservoir. The work has been done chietly by contract, after public advertisement for proposals. The method adopted at first was to dredge the material from the river. bed, convey it in scows to a receiving basin, and there dump it, then redredgeit, deposit it in cars, and carry it to the final dumping-ground on the flats. This method necessitated handling the material twice, and much of it had to be lifted a total vertical height of 60 to 70 feet before it was dropped on the dump. The plan now employed is to suck up the ma. terial from the bed of the river by means of a centrifugal pump and discharge it through pipes comnected by rubber cylinder joints. The vehicle used to convey the solid material is water, and the dredge built on this principle is called hydraulic. The material forming the bed of

« PreviousContinue »