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In 1-31, when the New London Railroad Company were about to build their bridge, their president received written notice that steps were about to be taken for a draw in the Grand Street Bridge, and that the people residing north of that point would expect and insist upon a draw in the railroad bridge; yet it was built without a draw, and up to this date the public have been deprived of the use of this arır of the sea, in defiance of the laws of the United States.

We respectfully request you, as a representative of the General Government, to give this matter a personal examination at your convenience, and make such report thereof as in your judgment may seem proper.

Should you desire any further information, a line addressed to J. H. Goodsell, 332 North Front street, New Haven, Conn., will receive prompt attention. Hoping the action you may be pleased to take will have a tendency towards the reopening of this public highway, we subscribe ourselves, Very respectfully, yours,


J. E. BISHOP & Co.

United States Engineer.



(Hartford and New York Transportation Company.)

E. H. WILLIAMS, President. }
C. C. GOODRICH, Agent.

HARTFORD, CONX., August 13, 1884. Dear Sir: In accordance with your published card, I desire to have your engineers view the bridge-pier of the air-line bridge at Middletown, on Connecticut River. The unprotected abutments below the line of low water are such as to crush in the hull of a loaded vessel or barge before her guard-streaks can reach within 2 to 7 feet of the guard piling or pier itself. These points of contact are from 6 to 8 feet under water at low water. The schooner Rebecca, drawing 8 feet, bad whole bilge forward crushed, and sunk soon after, and is now on the ways at Gildersleeve's ship-yard, at Portland, Conn., with over $1,000 damage bill. This schooner's rail was 3 feet clear of the pier or piling when she struck. The barge Grace Hills, loaded, was similarly sunk six years ago, with like bill.

The railroads claim that their draw-opening is the number of feet required by law, hence they are not obliged to protect these points, and navigation must look out and keep far enongh away from the piers so as not to hit these sunken projections. I try to draw for you the shape of this dangerous work.

Water Line.

8 Feet below Water line.

All the piers are more or less like this, and at none of them can yon (with a loaded craft) get near enough to reach pier or piling abreast the piers without striking the rock foundation, while the vessel would apparently be still from 2 to 6 feet away from possible harm.

If you will examine here and at Lyme, and cause to be properly protoctod, you will earn the gratitude and good will of every vessel-owner on this river. Yours, truly,


General Agent. Col. WALTER MCFARLAND,

United States Engineer.



Wilmington, Del., January 19, 1885. GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report, as called for by section 2 of the river and harbor act approved July 5, 1884:

1. In the harbor of Wilmington are the remains of two wharves in front of the light-house lot, and under the control of the Light House Board. These wharves are built on piles, and though not within the present channel, are yet an obstacle to the free passage of the flood-tides, and should be removed. I find that their removal had been determined upon by my predecessor in charge of this harbor, but as I have not been able to find any authority from the Light-House Board for their removal, it was not included in the project for the improvement of this barbor. The cost of removing them would be about $500.

In the same harbor and on the other side of the Christiana River, about half a mile higher up, is a detached sunken pier, about 20 feet square, and below high-water mark. Like the lighthouse piers, this is not in the main channel, but is near enough to be dangerous at high water, and is an obstruction to the free passage of the tides, and should be removed. It was placed by private enterprise. The cost would be about $300. I inclose herewith a letter referring to this subject, received from the port-wardens of the harbor of Wilmington. Tracings * of both obstructions are also inclosed.

The draw-bridge situated at the foot of Third street is worked by hand, and so slowly as to impede navigation. The city should be compelled to put in machinery to work the draw by steam or other mechanical force.

2. On the Saint Jones River are two draw-bridges for county roads. I have been waiting till work should be commenced on the river to bare accurate surveys made for a detailed report. I can state now that the lower bridge at Florence has inachinery for working by hand, but no employé to do the work.

The upper bridge at Lebanon has its turning gear out of order, and has to be worked by crews of vessels when desiring to pass. In addition to this, a false abutment was put in, to compensate for a draw too short for the original plan, and the water-way on the site of the main opening is thus narrowed, to the prejudice of the free passage of the current.

The survey will be made of both bridges as soon as the work on the river begins, when a more detailed report will be made on this subject.

The best plan of remedying these evils will be to have good turning. machinery put in both bridges, and a man employed to work it when necessary.

* Tracings omitted.


The false abutment of the bridge at Lebanon should be removed and the draw lengthened to reach to the abutment originally intended for it.

It should be the duty of the State of Delaware to compel the making of these improvements.

I am not at present aware of any other structures erected or in process of erection which " do or will interfere with the free and safe navigation” of any of the navigable waters in this district. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


United States Agent. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.



(Board of port-wardens, city of Wilmington, Del.)

NOVEMBER 28, 1884. DEAR SIR: I was directed by the board of port-wardes, at a meeting held Novenber 26, 1881, to communicate with you stating that the sunken pier in ilio Christiana River, in the lino passing througú harbor line stones 5 and C 7, is regarded by tho board as a very dangerous obstruction to navigation, and that it will be very gratifying to tbo board if it please you to incorporate in your report to the Secretary of War such mention of this matter as may result in the removal of the pier by the United States Government. Yours, etc.,

FREDERIC H. Robinson,

Secretary. General WM. F. Smith.




Washington, D. C., September 10, 1881. Sir: In compliance with General Order, No. 13, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, July 23, 1884, I have to report, for the iuformation of the Secretary of War, that the structure known as "Long Bridge,” span. ning the Potomac River from Washington, D. C., to Alexander's Island, Virginia, was first built by the Washington Bridge Company, under an act of incorporation provided by act of Congress approved February 5, 1808, entitled “An act authorizing the erection of a bridge on the Potomac River within the District of Columbia."

In 1834 the Government of the United States purchased the rights of the Washington Bridge Company and the remains of the original structure, which had been partly destroyed in 1831 by a freshet. It was afterwards rebuilt by the Government and maintained by it until June 21, 1870, when by act of Congress the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Company was authorized to take possession under certain conditions.

It has remained in the custody of said railroad company since that time, and is used and occupied by it as a railway bridge, and by the pahlic as a wagon and foot bridge.

It interferes now with the free and safe navigation of the Potomac River, and will do so in a greater degree when the improvements now in progress on the river front approach more nearly completion. The draw of tbis bridge is only 70 feet wide, and, consequently, in times of freshets or high winds, does not afford a free and safe opening for large vessels. Besides, it is never opened at night at all, so that the bridge constitutes a complete barrier to all navigation through it after dark. The bridge, however, will become a serious obstruction as the work of improving the river front advances. Congress has already appropriated $900,000 for the improvement of the Potomac River in the vicinity of Washington, baving reference to the improvement of navigation, the establishment of harbor-lines, and the raising of the river flats. A part of this money has already been spent, and the work is now well under way. The necessity of rebuilding Long Bridge is referred to by the Board of Engineers in its report of February 18, 1882. The report includes among its recommendations that,

The Long Bridge shall be rebuilt at an early period, during the progress of the improvements, with wide spans upon piers offering the least possible obstruction to the

flow of water.

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Other engineers have at various times called attention to the necessity of a new bridge. The location of the present bridge is faulty, its construction more Above the bridge the channel of the river curves well over to the Virginia shore, so that at the site of the bridge the channel current, in the ordinary stages of the river, sets towards the Washington side, making, with the axis of the bridge, on obtuse angle. The piers are set parallel, or nearly so, with the current in such stages. In times of freshets, however, the direction of the current is more direct; the water takes a shorter cut across the shoals to reach its proper level. The piers of the bridge being located to best suit the low stage of the river, they stand obliquely to the current in times of freshet, making the obstruction greatest when it should be least. The bridge thus acts as a partial dam in times of freshets, checking the flow of water above and causing the deposition of the material that is rolled along the bottom or held in suspension.

The spans of the bridge are too narrow, requiring a greater number of piers than would otherwise be needed, consequently the flow of water is proportionately obstructed. While the number of piers is unnecessarily great, and their direction with reference to the freshet current objectionable, a still more formidable objection exists in the construction of the piers themselves. They are built of stone on a pile and grillage foundation, and to the ordinary observer would appear unobjectionable except in respect to number, height, and location with reference to the freshet current. The pile and grillage, however, reaches to about the level of low water, and is not ordinarily seen; but, in order to make the foundation secure, a large quantity of riprap stone has been deposited around each pier, so that while each pier seems to be narrow, it pratically spreads out like a cone beneath the surface of the water.

The bottom chord of each span is too low, being only 10.7 feet abore low water. The adjacent flats are to be filled to a height of 3 feet above the freshet slope of 1877, which will make them at the site of the bridge about 12 feet above low water. The bottom chord of the bridge is, there fore, only a little more than 13 feet above the level of the freshet slope of 1877, and nearly 11 feet below the proposed grades of the flats when they are reclaimed from overflow.

The effects of logs, trees, etc., swept down the river and against the bridge in such a freshet can readily be imagined. It was practically destroyed in 1831 by such a freshet.

The improvements now in progress contemplate the closing of the Washington Channel at the site of Long Bridge; hence, all the water that now finds its way down the river by that route will be forced into the Virginia Channel. The capacity of the latter must, therefore, be increased. This is now being done above the bridge, and it will be done below it, by dredging. To secure the required area of cross section through the bridge would require dredging to be done between the piers, which, it is believed, is not practicable to the extent required without endangering the structure.

The best and only satisfactory way of correcting the defects of this bridge is to build a new one several feet higher, on fewer piers, with wider spans. The piers should be set as nearly as practicable in the axis of the freshet current, and should rest on the rock or hard-pau, which it is believed will be found to underlie the softer strata of mud. In any case, the body of each pier should extend to a depth below the surface of the water equal to the ruling depth of water above and below the bridge.

No riprap protection should be allowed around the piers to reach a level above that of the general bottom of the river channel in the neighborhood of the bridge. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major of Engineers. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U.S. A.


Washington, D. C., November 5, 1884. SIR: In accordance with General Orders No. 13, current series, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, United States Army, I have to report that the bridge known as the “Aqueduct,” that spans the Potomac River between Georgetown, D. C., and the Virginia shore, is an obstacle to the free and safe navigation of the Potomac River.

The bridge is an acqueduct for the Washington and Alexandria Canal, which is here carried across the Potomac River.

The piers of the bridge are built of stone, the superstructure being of wood. There is ample width between the piers for the largest vessels that come to Georgetown to pass, and the depth of water is over 20 feet at low tide.

At mean high tide there is only a clear space of 25 feet between the timber supports of the lower chords of the truss and the surface of the water. As a consequence, none but the smallest of steam-boats can pass under it, and practically it renders navigation above the bridge impracticable for anything but small tugs and flat-boats.

Paragraph 2550, Revised Statutes, provides that the collection district of Georgetown shall extend to the head of the navigable waters of the Potomac River, which is near Little Falls. Between the latter placo and the Aqueduct Bridge, a distance of more than 3 miles, there exists à deep, navigable channel, obstructed only at two places by shoals, which have over them a depth of 16 and 19 feet, respectively, at mean high tide. On the Georgetown side of the river there is over 19 feet at high tide for a distance of 3,000 feet above the bridge.

In a commercial point of view, that part of the river would be of great value if the way to it was not barred by this bridge.

It is an obstruction in another respect. The piers, abutments, and causeway reduce the width of the river from about 1,600 feet, its natural width between the lines of high water, to about 950 feet. This re

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