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of the works at the Narrows, including those formerly belonging to the State of New York—-cost $326,834, (Class A and B;) and fourth, the erection of outer defences on Sandy Hook—estimated by the board of engineers to cost $1,200,000, (Class D;) the total cost will therefore be $2,332,523.—(Classes A, B, D, F.)
Delaware bay, Fort Delaware, Fort Mifflin, Delaware Breakwater. The coast from the mouth of the Hudson to the Chesapeake, as well as that on the south side of Long Island, is low and sandy, and is penetrated by several inlets ; but not one, besides the Delaware, is navigable by sea-going vessels. The Delaware bay itself being wide and full of shoals, having an intricate channel, and being much obstructed by ice in the winter, affords no very good natural harbor within a reasonable distance of the sea.
The artificial harbor constructed just within the mouth of Delaware bay supplies this need, and must be securely fortified. No plans have, however, as yet been made with that object; and as to the probable cost, nothing better can now be done than to assume the conjectural estimate made some years since in the engineer department, namely, $600,000.-(Class F.)
The lowest point at which the bay is defensible is at Pea Patch island, about forty-five miles below the city of Philadelphia. A fort on that island, to replace the one destroyed by fire; a fort opposite the Pea Patch, on the Delaware shore, to assist in commanding the Delaware channel, and at the same time to protect the mouth of the Delaware and Chesapeake canal; a temporary work on the Jersey shore, to be thrown up at the commencement of a war, to assist in closing the channel on that side; together with floating obstructions, to be put down in moments of peril, will effectually cover all above this position including Philadelphia and its navy yard, Wilmington, New Castle, the canal before mentioned. and the Philadelphia and Baltimore railroad.
The rebuilding of Fort Delaware was long delayed by difficulties attending the settlement of claims to the island (Pea Patch) on which it is to stand; these having been adjusted, the fort is in progress—the tedious and difficult process of forming a foundation with piles and grillage being concluded. In the meantime, Fort Mifflin, an old work, standing about seven miles below the city of Philadelphia had been put in good order.
T'he expense of Fort Delaware is, according to revised estimates, $580,000. and of the fort opposite, $521,000.-(Classes C and F.)
Chesapeake bay, Hampton roads, James river, Norfolk, and the navy yard.The works projected for these are: first, a fort at Old Point Comfort—this is called Fort Monroe; second, a casemated battery called Fort Calhoun, in the Rip Rap shoals, opposite Old Point Comfort; and, third, a line of floating obstructions, extending across the channel from one of these works to the other.
Fort Monroe is of itself complete, but an advanced redoubt on the land side is unfinished, and considerable work is yet necessary to secure proper ventilation and the necessary dryness to the great powder magazines within the fort, designed as a principal depot of that material. Attempts to secure good water by an artesian well are still persevered in. Required to complete, $75,000.(Class B.)
Fort Calhoun cannot yet be carried forward for want of stability in the foundation. The artificial mass on which it is to stand having been raised out of the water, the walls of the battery were begun some years since; but it was soon found that their weight caused considerable subsidence. On an inspection by engineer officers it was then decided to keep the foundation loaded with more than the whole weight of the finished work until all subsidence had ceased. The load had hardly been put on, however, before it was injudiciously determined to take it off, and begin to build, although the settling was still going on. Happily, a better policy prevailed before the construction was resumed, but not before the very considerable expense of removing the load had been incurred. and the further expense of replacing it rendered necessary. The subsidence
has now so nearly ceased that it is contemplated to resume the construction at an early day.- (Class C.) Required to complete, $729,332.
It inay be expedient in time of war, by way of providing interior barriers, to erect batteries on Craney island, at the mouth of Elizabeth river, and to put in condition and arm Old Fort Norfolk, which is just below the city.
Harbor of St. Mary's.—The central situation (as regards the Chesapeake) of this fine basin, its relation to the Potomac, its depth of water, and the facility with which it may be defended, indicate its fitness as a harbor of refuge for the commerce of the Chesapeake bay, and as an occasional, if not constant, station during war of a portion of the naval force. A survey has been made, but no project has been formed. The engineer department some years ago conjectured that the cost of defences in this harbor might amount to $300,000.—(Class F.)
Annapolis harbor.–Fort Severn has been put in an efficient condition, and repairs have been advanced on Fort Madison ; these will be continued until that work also shall afford an efficient battery.—(Class A.) Estimated at $30,000.
Harbor of Baltimore. The proximity of the city to Chesapeake bay greatly endangers the city of Baltimore. In the present state of things an enemy, in a few hours' march, after an easy landing, and without having his communication with his fleet endangered, can make himself master of that great emporium of commerce. There are required for its security two forts on the Patapsco, one at Hawkins's Point, and the other opposite that point; these being the lowest positions at which the passage of the Patapsco can be defended. Besides the advantages that will result of obliging the enemy to land at a greater distance, thereby gaining time by delaying his march, for the arrival of succor, and preventing his turning the defensive positions which our troops might occupy, it will be impossible for him to endanger the city by a direct attack by water.
The operations on Fort Carroll—the work occupying the extremity of Sollers's flats, (opposite Hawkins's Point,)—are proceeding with all the rapidity allowed by the appropriations. Estimate, $865,000.-(Class C.)
The work on Hawkins's Point belongs to class F, and is estimated to cost $376,000.
The present Fort McHenry, Redoubt Wood, and Covington Battery should be retained as a second barrier. The first mentioned is now in good condition, and the repairs required for the others may be applied at the beginning of a war.
Mouth of Elk river. The completion of the line of water communication from the Delaware to the waters of the Chesapeake makes it proper to place a fort somewhere near the mouth of Elk river, in order to prevent an enemy from destroying, by a sudden enterprise, the works forming this outlet of the canal.
There have been no surveys made with a view to establish such protection, which is estimated at $50,000.-(Class F.)
Cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria.-Fort Washington covers these cities from any attack by water, and will oblige an enemy to land at some eight or ten miles below Alexandria, should that city be his object, and about twice as far below Washington. It will also serve the very important purpose of covering troops crossing from Virginia, with a view to fall on the Hanks of an enemy moving against the Capitol from the Patuxent or the Chesapeake. The repairs on this work have been completed.—(Class A.)
Cedar Point, Potomac river.—But all these objects would have been better fulfilled had the work been placed at Lower Cedar Point. As it is, however, the contemplated works being constructed in the Patuxent, and the militia of the surrounding country in a due state of preparation, an enterprise against Washington would be a hazardous one. As giving complete security to the towns in the district, covering more than sixty miles in length of the Potomac; the river terminus of the great railroad from the south, and a large tract of country lying between the Potomac and the Patuxent; the work on Cedar Point should not
H. Rep. Com. 86—26
be omitted. There have been no surveys made of the ground, nor projects of the fort, which, in a conjectural estimate of the engineer department, was set down at $300,000.-(Class E.)
Patuxent river.—The more effectually to protect the city of Washington from a sudden attack by troops landed at the head of navigation in the Patuxent, and to provide additional shelter for vessels in the Chesapeake, a fort has been planned to occupy Point Patience and another to occupy Thomas's Point, both a short distance up the river. The work on Thomas's Point is estimated at $259,000, and the work on Point Patience estimated to cost $246,000.(Classes D and F.)
It will be perceived that the system of defence for Washington contemplates, first, defending the Potomac on Cedar Point, and maintaining a second barrier at Fort Washington; second, defending the mouth of the Patuxent. This particular arrangement not having been always understood, a few words are added in explanation.
During the last war there was no fort in the Patuxent, and the consequence was that the British approached by that avenue and occupied the whole river as high as Pig Point, nearly fifty miles from its mouth, and less than twenty miles from the Capitol; while, in consequence of there being no forts in the Potomac, they occupied that river as high as Alexandria, inclusive; by this latter occupation perfectly protecting the left flank of the movement during its whole advance and retreat. Both flanks being safe, the British had nothing to fear except from a force in front; and that this risk was not great, in the short march of less than twenty miles from the boats, was proved by the issue.
On the ninth day from that on which the feet entered the Chesapeake the English army was in possession of the Capitol, having penetrated nearly fifty iniles beyond the point of debarkation. On the twelfth day from the time of landing, the troops were again on shipboard, near the mouth of the river. This attack, exceedingly well conceived and very gallantly executed, owed its success entirely to the want of defences, such as are now proposed.
Let us suppose both rivers fortified as recommended, and an enemy landed at the mouth of the Patuxent. If now he attempt this enterprise, his march would be prolonged by at least four daysthat is to say, it will require more than sixteen days, during which time he will be out of communication with his fleet as regards supplies and assistance.
The opposition to his invasion will begin at the landing, because our troops having now nothing to fear as to their flanks, either from the Potomac or Paturent, will dispute every foot of territory; and although he should continue to advance it must be at a slower rate. While he is thus pursuing his route toward Washington, the forces of Virginia, brought by railroad to the mouth of Aquia creek, will be crossing the Potomac, and concentrating at Port Tobacco, or some position between that place and Fort Washington, preparatory to falling on his flank and rear. This would seem to be conclusive, for it is difficult to conceive of troops persevering in an expedition when every moment will not only place them further from succor but greatly increase their need of it. Railroads reach from near the crossing places of the Potomac to the very heart of the country south, and a very few days would bring forward a large force, all of which would arrive upon the rear of the enemy.
It has been said that if shut out of the Patuxent the enemy might land between the mouth of that river and Annapolis, and thence proceed against Washington. But the same difficulties belong to this project, and a new difficulty is added. The Virginia forces arrive as before, and assail his flank, either between the Potomac and Patuxent or between the Patuxent and the Chesapeake; and there is, besides, the Patuxent for the enemy to cross, both in going and returning-itself a formidable military obstacle.
It is said, also, that the landing may be made in the Potomac; but this only
proved that the system animadverted on had not been studied, it being a fundamental principle of the system that such landing must be prevented by fortifying the river as low down as possible.
The southern coast, stretching from Cape Hatteras to the southern point of Florida, is invariably low, and for the greater part sandy, much resembling the coast from the above-mentioned cape to Montauk Point, on the east end of Long Island. A ridge of sand, here and there interrupted by the alluvion of the rivers, extends through its whole length. This ridge, in certain portions, lies on the main land, while in others it is divided therefrom by basins or
sounds” of various width and depth, and is cut up into islands by numerous channels, which connect these interior waters with the sea. Wherever this sand ridge is interrupted its place is occupied by low and marshy grounds, bordering the principal and the many lesser outlets of the rivers.
Ocracoke inlet, N. C.–The shallowness of the water on the bars at this inlet effectually excludes all vessels-of-war, at least all moved by sails. But as this is an outlet of an extensive commerce, and as, through this opening, attempts might be made in small vessels, barges, or the smaller class of steam vessels to destroy this commerce, or to interrupt the line of interior water communication, timely preparation must be made of temporary works, equal to defence against all such minor enterprises.
Beaufort harbor, N. C.-A work called Fort Macon has been erected for the defence of this harbor. It is in a very efficient condition, though some slight additional work is needed, both for the fort itself and for the preservation of the site, which is acted upon violently by the sea. Successful impediments to this action have been resorted to, which require a little extension, however, and continual care. Estimate, $3,000.-(Class B.)
Mouths of Cape Fear river, N. C.—The defence of the main channel of Cape Fear requires, in addition to Fort Caswell, (now completed,) on Oak island, another fort on Bald Head. And the defence of the smaller channel will require a redoubt on Federal Point. The battery, magazine, block-house, &c., at Smithville should remain as accessories. Fort Caswell, Oak island, $7,000.—(Class B.) The fort on Bald Head (class F) will require $180,000. The redoubt on Federal Point (class F) will require $18,000; and the battery, &c., called Fort Johnston, at Smithville, (class A,) 85,000.
Georgetown harbor, S. C.-The first inlet of any consequence south of Cape Fear river is at the united mouths of the Waccamaw, Pedee, and Black rivers, forming Georgetown harbor, which is a commodious and capacious bay, having sufficient water within, and also upon the bar near the mouth, for merchant vessels and small vessels-of-war. A survey of this harbor was begun many years ago, but never completed, and no projects for defence have been made. 'It is probable that a work placed near Moscheto creek, or on Winyaw Point, would give adequate strength, at the cost of about $250,000.-(Class E.)
Santee river and Bull's bay.—About ten miles south from Georgetown are the mouths of the Santee, the largest river in South Carolina. It is not known whether the bars at the mouth of this river have sufficient water for sea-going vessels. The same uncertainty exists as to the depth into Bull's bay. It may be sufficient to consider these, and the other inlets between Georgetown and Charleston, as calling for small works capable of resisting boat enterprises, and to assign as the cost $100,000. Should they prove to be navigable for privateers, they will require a larger expenditure. -Class F.)-$100,000.
Charleston, S. C.—This city, situated at the junction of the Ashley and Cooper rivers, is about five miles, in a direct line, from the sea. Between it and the ocean there is a wide and safe roadstead for vessels of any draught. Upon the bar, lying three or four miles outside of the harbor, there is, however, only water enough for smaller frigates and sloops-of-war. On the southwest side of the harbor is James's island, in which are several serpentine passages, more or
less navigable for boats, barges, and small steam vessels ; some of them communicate directly with the sea and Stono river. Whappoo cut, the most northerly passage from the Stono to Charleston harbor, enters Ashley river opposite the middle of the city.
Interior natural water communications exist, also, to the southwest of Stono river, connecting this with North Edisto river; the latter with South Edisto and St. Helena sound; this, again, with Broad river; and, finally, this last with Savannah river.
On the north side of the harbor of Charleston lies Sullivan's island, separated from the main by a channel navigable only by small craft. On the northwest side of this island is an interior water communication which extends to Bull's bay, and even beyond, to the harbor of Georgetown.
From this sketch it is apparent that it will not do to restrict the defences to the principal entrance of the harbor.
The lateral avenues must also be shut. And it is probable that accurate surveys of all these avenues will show that the best mode of defending them will be by works at or near the mouths of the inlets, as the enemy will be kept thereby at a greater distance from the city; the lesser harbors formed by these inlets will be protected, and the line of interior water communication will be inaccessible from the sea.
No position for the defence of the principal entrance to Charleston harbor can be found nearer to the ocean than the western extremity of Sullivan's island. This is, at present, occupied by Fort Moultrie, a work of some strength, but by no means adequate to its object, its battery being weak, and the scarp so low as to oppose no serious obstacle to escalade. How far this work, by a modification of its plan and relief, may be made to contribute to a full defence of the harbor has not yet been determined. But so long as it is the only work at this, the principal point of defence, it must be kept in good condition for service, and no alterations that will disturb this efficiency should be undertaken.-(Class A.)
On a shoal nearly opposite Fort Moultrie a new fort has been well advanced, which will have a powerful cross-fire with Fort Moultrie. This is called Fort Sumter.—(Class C.) To complete this fort will require, it is estimated, $150,000.
In the upper part of the harbor is Castle Pinckney, on Shuter's Folly island. This requires some repairs, estimated at $800.-(Class A.)
Stono, North Edisto, and South Edisto.-All these must be fortified, at least in such a manner as to protect these inlets from enterprises in boats or small vessels. To that end $50,000 may be assigned to each.-(Class F.)
St. Helena sound.—The proper defences cannot be pointed out till the sound shall have been surveyed. Although there is supposed to be no great depth of water on the bar, it is known to be navigable for the smaller class of merchantmen and for steamboats, and to have a navigable communication with the head of Broad river, or Port Royal, intersecting the interior navigation between Charleston and Savannah. T'he estimate is $150,000.-(Class F.)
Broad river, or Port Royal roads.—The value of this capacious roadstead, as a harbor of refuge, depends upon the depth that can be carried over the bar, on the distance of this bar beyond the line of coast, and on the means that may be applicable of lessening the danger of crossing it. This is supposed to be the deepest bar on the southern coast. Should there prove to be water enough for frigates, and should it be practicable to make the passage over the bar safe and easy by the erection of light-houses on the shore, and lights or other distinct guides on the bar, this harbor, situated within sixty miles of the city of Charleston, and twenty of Savannah river, intersecting the interior water communication between these cities, thereby securing the arrival of supplies of every