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New York, December 16, 1887. SIR: To bring up the record of the Mississippi River Commission to November 1, 1887, I have the honor to submit the following report of operations since the close of the last fiscal year:


For want of means no field work has been attempted. A small num. ber of assistants have been engaged in the work of reducing and preparing for publication the material already at hand. I can not too strongly represent the necessity, which the secretary of the Commission in his annual report urges, of an early and liberal provision for securing in permanent form information now only in manuscript or in the original note-books, and liable at any time to entire and irrecoverable loss. The work now being done will have to be curtailed before the close of the present fiscal year.

CONSTRUCTION. At the meeting of the Commission held June 30 to July 2, 1887, previous allotments which had not been approved were canceled, and the greater portion of the sum devoted to them reallotted to levee construc. tion, leaving such amounts as were thought necessary for the care of plant, office expenses, surveys, and protection of existing works, as appears in the following statement:

$180,000 130,000 27, 250

For Plam Point Reach :

Fletcher's revetment..
Elmot and Island 30 dikes

Unassigned balance...
For Lake Providence Reach :

Pilcher's revetment (repairs).
Pilcher's revetment (extension)

Cottonwood, Lake Providence, and Baleshed dikes
For the general service..
Unallotted balance ...

135,000 40,000 67, 140 45,000 69,000 REALLOTTED,


693, 390


10,000 27, 250 75,000

For care of plant, first and second districts, from October 1, 1886, to June

30, 1888....
For surveys, first and second districts
For maintenance of existing works, first district
For levees, Plum Point Reach, west bank...
For care of plant and surveys, third district, from October 1, 1886, to June

30, 1888....
For protection of existing works, third district
For protection of Delta Point....
For levees, White River front
For levees, Tensas front...
For Robinsonville levee, Yazoo front.

45,000 25,000 10,000 75,000 321, 140 60,000


693, 390


The contraction works in Plum Point Reach have been almost constantly above water, and consequently exposed to no attacks. The middle section of revetment at Fletcher's is still in place, although its nearest supports are about 5,000 feet distant on either side. From the fact that whatever loss has occurred here has been from caving above and below, allowing this widely detached section to be taken in flank, Captain Leach is led to believe that the protection of banks caving only at a moderate rate may be effected by discontinuous revetment at a large saving in cost.

The exceptional low water of the past season has given an opportu. nity to judge of the effect of the improvement at Plum Point Reach by comparison with unimproved parts. Before work bad been done here Bullerton Bar, at the stage of water prevailing this season, would not have given more than 4.1 feet of water. During this low water there has never been less than 9 feet on the reach, while in the remaining 400 miles of the first and second districts there are about twenty crossings ranging from 8 feet to 5 feet in depth.

Levees, first district.-Owing to favorable weather, the low price of labor, and the fact that the work required is lighter than was expected, the extent of line on the west bank, which will be closed by the allotment of $75,000, will considerably exceed the estimate. About 22 miles will be constructed. The work is in progress under two contracts, at 14 cents and 154 cents per cubic yard, respectively.

SECOND DISTRICT. The channel works have been confined to the vicinity of Memphis, Tenn., and consist exclusively of shore protection. The work in Memphis Harbor is now complete, no part of the revetment made under the plans of the Commission having suffered the slightest disturbance. By this work, and by the citizens' bluff protection, constructed on the plans and under the supervision of Captain Leach, the whole city front is considered perfectly secure. The revetment placed here by the United States is the heaviest and most costly work of the kind ever done. In. cluding all the mishaps of the experimental stage, its cost has been about $30 per linear foot of bank, though, with methods of construction now in use, the cost of similar work should not exceed $25 per foot. Captain Leach says, # # it will certainly protect any alluvial bank on the Mississippi River, no matter how difficult.” As will be seen later, the cost of revetment in ordinary cases will not exceed two-thirds of this, and may be even much less.

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Since July 1 an allotment of $60,000 for extension of the revetment in Hopefield Bend, above the city, bas become available. It was expected that this sum would be required for protecting 3,000 feet of bank; but from a concurrence of favoring circumstances, and more especially as a result of acquired experience, it is now certain that from 25 to 30 per cent. more work will be effected than was contemplated. The work has suffered no recent loss; but coustant caving of the unprotected bauk takes place, and the revetment should be extended about 2,000 feet below the point which will be reached under the present allot. ment.

Levees, second district Yazoo Front.-An allotment of $60,000 was made, conditioned upon a contribution from the levee district of a sum sufficient to complete the line. The conditions have been accepted by the levee board; but for financial and other reasons they do not think it expedient to begin the work before the next low water.

Levees— White Rirer Front.-An allotment of $75,000 was made to rebuild the levee from Helena down, conditioned upon the contribution of $50,000 by the cotton belt levee district of Arkansas. The condition having been complied with, contracts for the parts to be built by the United States have been made at an arerage price of 164 cents per cubic yard.


Lake Providence Reach.-Work has been confined to care of plant and minor repairs; no change in the condition of the channel works is reported. On account of the unfinished state of tủe works this reach is not in as satisfactory condition as Plum Point Reach. At Stack Island Crossing, where the channel is inclined to divide more than elsewhere, the least depth reported was 7 feet. This, it is true, was only for a few days, the depth at a lower stage of water being not less than 9 feet. At other crossings on the reach the least depth has been 11 feet or more.

Vicksburg Harbor.-It is expected that with the available allotment the canal will be dredged to the plane of 18 feet on the gauge, but as the river has, since the approval of the project, remained below that stage, work has been impossible. A contract has, however, been made at 18 cents per cubic yard, and the work will begin so soon as the stage of water will permit.

The revetment at Delta Point has remained without change, but some caving is taking place above it, which, although at present favora. ble to the protection of the point itself, may in the future make it necessary to extend the work up-stream.

Greenville Harbor.—The approved project for spending the allotment of $37,500, together with $12,500 contributed by the city of Greenville, contemplates a system of ten sloping spurs, similar to those built at New Orleans and Memphis, along about 5,000 feet of bank. Two of these are completed, two more in progress, and it is expected that the whole series will be finished before high water.

Lerees-third district.-Under the allotment by the Board of Engi. neers on Levees, made July 2, 1887, of $56,500 for the Opossum Fork Levee, and that made July 25 of $155,083 for building and repair of levees, Tensas front, Arkansas, contracts have been made at prices varying from 16 to 28' cents per cubic yard. In co-operation with the local levee boards work is in progress along the line, with a fair prospect of completion before the next high water.

ENG 88---138

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