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SHIP CHANNEL OF THE PATAPSCO RIVER.

LETTER

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

IN ANSWER TO

A resolution of the House of January 8, transmitting a report by the Chief of

Engineers relative to the ship channel of the Patapsco river.

JANUARY 19, 1867.-Referred to the Committee on Commerce and ordered to be printed.

War DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, January 18, 1867. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report by the Chief of Engineers of January 18, 1867, containing the information called for in the resolution of the House of Representatives of January 8, 1867, relative to the ship channel of the Patapsco river, near Baltimore, Maryland. Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War. Hon. S. COLFAX,

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT,

Washington, January 18, 1867. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the resolution of the United States House of Representatives of the sih instant, calling for "all information in possession of the War Department as to the cost of completing the ship channel of the Patapsco river, near the harbor of Baltimore,” &c., and beg leave to transmit herewith a copy of a letter from Brevet Lieutenant Colonel W. P. Craighill, major of engineers, who has chaige of the work in question, which affords, it is believed, all the information required. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Engineers. Hon. E. M. STANTOX,

Secretary of WVar.

WASHINGTON, January 15, 1567. GENERAL: I have to acknowledge the receipt on the 12th instant (Saturday) of your letter of the 11th instant, referring to me for report a resolution of the House of Representatives of Stlı instant, in the following words: “That the Secretary of War be and is hereby requested to transmit to the House all information in the possession of the War Department as to the cost of completing the ship channel of the Patapsco river, near the harbor of Baltimore city; and particularly whether the proper estimates and surveys anthorized and directed by an act of the last session of Congress have been completed."

In the annual report transmitted to the Chief of Engineers with my letter of September 4, 1866, i he suggestion was made, for reasons specified therein, that instead of continuing the deepening of the Brewerton channel in a straight line to the entrance-buoy, where it strikes deep water, it might be better to itun the channel to the southward, cauzing it to pass just to the cast of the Seren-feet Knoll light. Experience lias shown that the lower portion of the Brewerton channel is affected injuriously by the current of the Susquehanna river sweep ing across it. The new direction would, on the contrary, probably be benefited if affected at all by the current.”

Estimates were submitted with that report for channels by the old and proposed routes, in each case for a depth of twenty-two feet at mean low water, and for one hundred and fifty feet and two hundred feet in width.

A resurvey was deemed indispensable to enable a correct judgment to be formed as to the propriety of changing the direction of the proposed ship ch.innel. My own engagements and those of my immediate assistants were such as to cause an application to be made to the office of the United States Coast Survey for a detail of officers to make the required survey under my direction. This request was granted, and the survey commenced as soon as a puty could be placed at my disposal. The river was closed by ice carlier than usual, and the survey necessarily suspended before its complecion. However, the examination was very thorough from the mouth of the river to a point opposite Fort Carroll. The examination of the portion from Fort Carroll to Fort Wellenry is less important, as the water is better and less liable to change its depth.

The maps of the survey are incomplete, but in a condition to be the basis of new and reliable estimates, wbich are hereto appended. It will be observed that the estimates are for both the old and the proposed routes, and in cach case for a channel of twenty-two feet in depth and one hundred and fifty feet in width, and for a channel of twenty-two fest in depth and two hundred feet in widtb.

First route.
Channel 150 feet wide and 22 füet deep at mean low watci :
From Fort McHenry to upper entrance buoy, just below llawkins

Point, 205,000 cubic yards, at 30 cents.
From upper to lower entrance buoy, old route, 244,000 cubic yards,

at 30 cents.

$61, 500

103, 200

164, 700

Second route.
From Fort McIIenry to point of divergence of old and proposed

routes, 420,000 cubic yards, it 30 cents...,
New cut proposed, 75,000 cubic yards, at 30 cents.

$126, 000

22,500

14S, 500

Third route.

Channel 200 feet wide and 22 feet deep at mean low water :
From Fort McHenry to upper entrance busy, just below Hawkins

Point, 273,000 cubic yards, at 30 cents....
From upper to lower entrance buoy, old route, 711,000 cubic yards,

at 30

$81, 900

1

213, 300

295, 200

Fourth route.
From Fort McHenry to point of divergence of old and proposed

routes, 563,000 cubic yards, at 30 cents
New cut proposed, 100,000 cubic yards, at 30 cents..

$168, 900

30,000

198, 900

It thus appears that the channel 150 feet in width by the new route would be cheaper than by the old route by $16,000. A channel 200 feet in width by the new route would be cheaper than by the old route by $96,000.

The channel by the new route 200 feet wide would cost but $50,000 more than a channel 150 feet wide by the same route, and as a channel 200 feet wide by the new route would be cheaper by $100,000 than by the old route, and as a channel 200 feet wide by the new route would cost but $34,000 more than a channel 150 feet wide by the old route, it seems altogether advisable to adopt the channel 200 feet wide by the new route.

It is recommended, therefore, that Congress be asked to appropriate $200,000 for the improvement of the Patapeco river below Fort McHenry, or it might be better to ask for the necessary sum in annual instalments, the first and second to be each $75,000, and the third to be $50,000. Not more than $75,000 can be advantageously expended in one season. The expenditure of the first and second instalments would give a channel 150 feet wide by the new route, and the remaining $50,000 would complete the channel of 200 feet wide.

A sketch is enclosed showing the directions of the old and new routes. When the maps of the late survey are completed, copies will be furnished to the Chief of Engineers. The resolution of the House of Representatives is returned herewith. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. P. CRAIGHILL,

Major of Engineers, Bot. Lt. Col. Brevet Major General A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Chirf of Engineers.

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