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The project of improvement first adopted and commenced in October, 1853, had for its object to give a chaunel 22 feet deep at mean low water with a width of 150 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 channel was completed in 1874, important changes of position having been 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 Baltimore, at mean low water, of vessels drawing from 224 to 23 feet, and at ordinary high water of vessels drawing 24 and 243 feet. Later the project had in view a depth of 27 feet at mean low water with a width of 600 feet.

Operations were brought to a close in August, 1889, for want of money and were not resumed in the year ending June 30, 1830. The channel throughout had then been excavated to 27 feet at low water. The Craighill Channel below the Cut off, the Cut-off Channel, and the Brewerton above the Cut-off had been excavated to 400 feet width. The Fort McHenry division was generally 250 feet in width, except at the upper end, where it is 500. All the angles were much wider, the object being to facilitate the movement of large ships at these turns. The portions of the Brewerton below the Cut-off and of the Craighill above it have not been dredged for years, and are not now considered a part of the channel under improvement by the United States. Their width is about 250 feet and the depth 24 feet.

Up to June 30, 1890, the United States had expended $2,461.997.65, with the result indicated above. The city of Baltimore and the State of Maryland, chiefly the former, have also contributed to the same object more than $500,000. The expenditure up to June 30, 1891, by the United States was $2,561,010.48.

The river and harbor law of September 19, 1890, appropriated $340,000, and the sundry civil law of March 3, 1891, an additional sum of $151,200. The former contained the following important proviso:

Provided, That such contracts as may be desirable may be entered into by the Secretary of War for the completion of the existing project, or any part of same, to be paid for as appropriations may from time to time be made by law.

Operations in carrying out the approved project were resumed as soon as possible after September, 1890, and are now vigorously in prog


The results of the work in 1891, up to June 30, have been to increase the width of the Brewerton division of the channel from 400 to 550 feet, and also to materially, but not so much, increase the width of the two lower divisions. Nothing has been done in this fiscal year with the Fort McHenry division, as that has been by nature the best part of the channel, and not so much in need of dredging.

Commencing in May, a close resurvey of the Fort McHenry division has been made, and the results plotted.

A thorough survey of the area in the bay east of the lower channel, nsed for the deposit of dredged material, has been completed as to field work; and a general examination of the whole Patapsco below Fort McHenry is now in progress to ascertain the nature and extent of changes (if any) caused by previous or present deposits of dredged material along or near to the banks of the river.

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July 1, 1890, balance unexpended ...

Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890..
Amount appropriated by sundry civil act approved March 3, 1891

June 30, 1891, amount expended during fiscal year

July 1, 1891, balance unexpended..

July 1, 1891, outstanding liabilities

July 1, 1891, amount covered by uncompleted contracts..

$3,000.00 547, 061.54

$45, 629.51 340,000.00 151,200.00

536,829.51 99, 012.83

437, 816.68

550, 061.54 208,800.00

(Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project.....
Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30, 1893 208, 800.00
Submitted in compliance with requirements of sections 2 of river and
harbor acts of 1866 and 1867.

(See Appendix I 1.)

2. James River, Virginia.-When the improvement of the James River was regularly undertaken by the Government the navigation was obstructed by sunken vessels, by remains of military bridges, and by other obstructions put into the river during the late war to prevent the national fleets from approaching too close to Richmond.

There were also other natural obstructions. Rockett Reef and Richmond Bar had only 7 feet of water at mean low tide. From Warwick Bar to Richmond the channel was crooked and obstructed by dangerous rocks aud ledges, the Dutch Gap cut-off was not then open, aud the river was in a poor condition as regards its availability for commercial purposes.

The original project of improvement was to secure a depth of 18 feet at full tide (corresponding to about 15 feet at low tide) to Richmond, with a channel width of 180 feet. This project had reached an advanced stage of progress when Congress, by act approved July 5, 1884, adopted the project looking to 22 feet at mean low tide from the sea to Richmond, the width to be 400 feet from the sea to City Point, 300 from thence to Drewry Bluff, and 200 feet from thence to Richmond.

The total amount expended on this river by the United States up to June 30, 1890, was $1,163,677.34, which includes the sum of $432,792.79 expended since the new project was entered upon to give a depth of 22 feet at mean low water. The condition of the river June 30, 1890, was as follows: The practical available draft at high water, from the sea to Curl's Neck, was 19 feet; thence to Goode Rocks, 18 feet; thence to Richmond, 16 feet.

The amount expended in the year ending June 30, 1891, has been $57,828.22, and the principal operations of the year have been the following: Widening and deepening the channel near Richmond, from Almond Creek to and at Goode Rocks, deepening and rectifying the channel at Kingsland, the worst point hitherto between Curl's Neck and Warwick Bar; widening the Dutch Gap cut-off; and continuing the survey from Jordan Point to Hog Island, over a distance of nearly 30 miles.

The available draft from the sea to Warwick Bar, which is 5 miles from Richmond, is 19 feet at high water, being a gain in that depth in a year over the space between Warwick Bar and Curl's Neck, 15 miles; from Warwick Bar to Goode Rocks, 17 feet; over Goode Rocks, 16 feet; Goode Rocks to Chesapeake and Ohio wharves, near Richmond, 18 feet. A slight filling of sand has occurred over a space about 250 feet long at Goode Rocks, diminishing the available drait there by 1 foot. This can be readily rectified. Still further improve

ment in depth and width near Richmond is expected under contracts now in force.

When the proposed improvement is completed an annual expenditure of $20,000 will be necessary for the maintenance of the channel.

The law of September 19, 1890, authorized the expenditure of $3,000, in the discretion of the Secretary of War, in removing the bar at the mouth of Turkey Island Creek or Bayou. The local engineer, after examination of the subject, reported that in his opinion the expenditure mentioned would effect no useful result, and that the improvement to be of real value would cost $25,000. The Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War concurred in this opinion.

July 1, 1890, balance unexpended......
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890.

June 30, 1891, amount expended during fiscal year

July 1, 1891, balance unexpended....

July 1, 1891, outstanding liabilities...

July 1, 1891, amount covered by uncompleted contracts.

$2,000.00 107, 693.83

$785.87 200,000.00


Submitted in compliance with requirements of sections 2 of river and harbor acts of 1866 and 1867.

(See Appendix I 2.)

200, 785.87 57,828.22


109, 693.83

July 1, 1891, balance available....

33, 263.82

Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project...... 3, 736, 070. 45 Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30,



The required preliminary examination of Patapsco River, Maryland, from the Craighill channel to the sugar refinery wharves, Curtis Bay, was made by the local engineer in charge, Colonel Craighill, and report thereon submitted. It is the opinion of Colonel Craighill, based upon the facts and reasons given, that the locality is worthy of improvement. The report of the preliminary examination containing sufficient information to indicate to Congress the probable cost of the work required, no further survey appears to be necessary at this time. The cost of dredging a channel 150 feet wide at bottom and 25 feet deep at mean low water from the main ship channel is estimated at $25,000. A channel of the same width, but 27 feet deep at mean low water, which is the depth of the main ship channel, is estimated to cost $85,000. The report was transmitted to Congress and printed as House Ex. Doc. No. 102, Fiftyfirst Congress, second session. (See also Appendix I 3.)


Officer in charge, Lieut. Col. Peter C. Hains, Corps of Engineers, with Lieut. George A. Zinn, Corps of Engineers, under his immediate orders since April 6, 1 891

1. Potomac River at Washington, District of Columbia.-Before the commencement of this improvement the channel to Georgetown, D. C., was narrow and crooked, and had not sufficient depth to meet the needs


of commerce. Vessels drawing 16 feet frequently grounded at high tide above Long Bridge, and frequent dredging was necessary to maintain even this depth. The channel was narrow, as the appropriations for dredging were too small to provide for more than a narrow cut through the bar. The Washington channel was narrow and shoal, and inadequate to the wants of commerce. Extensive mud flats existed along the city front from Observatory Hill to a point opposite the Arsenal. Below Long Bridge these flats were separated from the city front by the Washington channel. The greater portion of these flats was exposed at low tide, and covered at high tide by water polluted by the sewage of the city. At the foot of Seventeenth street, N.W., a large sewer discharged directly upon the flats. These conditions rendered a portion of the city almost uninhabitable.

The average rise and fall of tide in the Potomac River at Washington is 3 feet.

By act passed August 2, 1882, Congress adopted a project which has for its object the improvement of the navigation of the river by widening and deepening its channels; the reclamation or filling of the marshes or flats on the city front, by depositing on them the material dredged from the channels; and the establishment of harbor lines beyond which no wharves or obstructions should be built. The project provides in detail for such depth of channels as will accommodate the largest vessels that can reach Arsenal Point, with such depth at the wharves as will allow vessels to receive full cargoes without grounding at low water: for filling the flats above Long Bridge to a height of 3 feet above the flood line of 1877, and the middle part of the flats below Long Bridge to the same height, but sloping each way to a height of 6 feet above low tide at the margin of the fill; that in order to purify the water in the Washington channel, which will be cut off at its upper end from the Virginia or main channel, a tidal reservoir or basin be established above Long Bridge, to be filled with water from the Virginia channel on the flood tide, and discharged into the Washington channel on the ebb.

The plan also contemplates the rebuilding of Long Bridge, with longer spans and fewer piers, during the progress of the work, and the interception of all sewage now discharged into the Washington channel and its conveyance to James Creek, but neither the reconstruction of the bridge nor the building of the intercepting sewer were included in the estimate of the cost of the improvement.

The estimated cost of the improvement is $2,716,365.
Appropriations have been made as follows:

Act of August 2, 1882..
Act of July 5, 1884

Act of August 5, 1886

Act of August 11, 1888.
Act of September 19, 1890


$400,000 500,000





Twenty thousand dollars of the appropriation of September 19, 1890, was made available for dredging in the Eastern Branch. About that amount will be expended at that locality, which leaves the aggregate appropriations for the Potomac proper, $1,835,000.

Up to the close of the fiscal year 1890, the expenditures aggregated $1,561,705.50, and the following work had been accomplished: The Virginia channel above Long Bri ge had been deepened to 20 feet at low tide for a width of from 400 to 550 feet, a part of which has since filled up

and been redredged. The same channel below Long Bridge had been dredged to a depth of 20 feet and a width of about 350 feet. This part of the Virginia channel has maintained itself to the full depth originally dredged or has deepened. The Washington channel has been dredged to a depth of 20 feet for a width of 350 feet throughout its entire length, and to a depth of 12 feet from the 20-foot channel nearly to the easterly margin of the fill up as far as the Seventh street wharf. This channel has for the most part maintained itself, though some filling occurred during the freshet of June, 1889. All the material dredged from the river had been deposited on the flats, and of the 12,000,000 cubic yards estimated to be required, about 8,301,000 had been deposited. The entire area of the flats, about 621 acres, had been outlined, the margins or embankment protected as far as practicable by riprap, and practically the entire area to be reclaimed had been raised above overflow at ordinary high tide. The outlet gates of the tidal reservoir at the head of the Washington channel had been completed with the exception of the coping.

The expenditures during the fiscal year 1891 amounted to $65,115.87. This sum was applied to the construction of a sea wall to protect the banks from erosion by waves and currents, about 5,100 linear feet having been completed, and to raising the embankments around the mar gin of the flats to prevent their overflow by freshets. The construction of a dike on the westerly side of the Virginia channel, above Long Bridge, with a view to reducing the deposit at that locality, has also been in progress.

Contracts have been made for dredging in the Virginia channel, in the Eastern Branch, and in the Washington channel. The latter work is now in progress, and will complete the dredging to be done in the Washington channel. The work in the Eastern Branch is under the provisions of the river and harbor act of September 19, 1890, which makes $20,000 of the $280,000 appropriated for improving the Potomac River, available for dredging in the Eastern Branch.

The officer in charge refers to the necessity for a liberal appropriation, and gives it as his opinion that though the work has been damaged by freshets, it can still be completed within the estimated cost if a single large appropriation be made.

Long Bridge.-Lieutenant Colonel Hains refers in his report to the necessity of rebuilding Long Bridge. In the event of a freshet occurring when the Potomac River is full of ice, great damage is to be expected. The piers of the bridge are of such faulty construction that an ice gorge would be probable, which would cause the water to back up and overflow portions of the city front, and, through the sewers above the bridge such of the lower parts of the city as may be drained by them. Great damage was done by the freshet of June, 1889, but greater damage may occur from a freshet of lesser magnitude if accompanied by an ice gorge. July 1, 1890, balance unexpended....

Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890...

$13, 294.50 280,000.00

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