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REPORT OF MAJOR CHARLES J. ALLEN, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
ENGINEER OFFICE, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Saint Paul, Minn., January 3, 1887. GENERAL: In order to comply with the requirements of General Orders No. 7, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, Washington, D. O, November 30, 1886, I have the honor to report as follows:
SAINT CROIX RIVER, WISCONSIN AND MINNESOTA. There are extensive works on the Saint Croix, commencing at a point about 3 miles above Stillwater, and thence extending up the stream for several miles, belonging to the Saint Croix Boom Company, and used for receiving, assorting, and distributing saw-logs. The works consist of timber cribs, lines of piling, and floating booms located in the channel, and, in places, reaching from bank to bank of the river. During seasons of navigation the accumulations of logs in the boom grounds have frequently been so great as to entirely bar the passage of steamers for weeks at a time. During the past season these obstructions have interfered considerably with steamboat navigation, though not to the extent that has sometimes been the case. The inconvenience resulting from these works could be much lessened by a systematic arrangement of the cribs, booms, and lines of piling so as to insure to steamers at all times a channel of sufficient width. These obstructions have been noted in several reports since 1875.
At the city of Hudson, about 7 miles below Stillwater, Lake Saint Croix is crossed by a railroad bridge built prior to 1872. Congress, by
а act approred May 15, 1872, authorized the maintenance of this bridge by the West Wisconsin Railway Company, as constructed, providing in the act, however, for the security of navigation by the following:
SEC. 2. That the structure herein authorized shall be built under and subject to such regulations for the security of the navigation of said river and lake as the Secretary of War shall prescribe, and the said structure shall be at all times so kept and managed as to offer reasonable and proper means for the passage of vessels through and under said structure; and the said structure shall be changed at the cost and ex. pense of the owners thereof from time to time, as Congress may direct, so as to preserve the free and convenient navigation of said river and lake; and the authority to erect and continue said bridge shall
be subject to revocation by law whenever the publio good shall, in the judgment of Congress, so require.
This bridge was credited with draw-spans 140 feet each in the clear. The widths, measured at the surface of low water, are reported as but 135 feet. The draw-pier is oblique to the direction of the current. This bridge has always been inconvenient for the passage of rafts, though no formal complaint of the structure has been made to me by the raft or steamboat pilots. It is reported that rafts suffered a “large amount of damage” during the season of 1886 through inability to readily make the draw. Sheers or booms properly placed to facilitate the passage of the draw by rafts and steamers are needed for this bridge.
CHIPPEWA RIVER, WISCONSIN.
This river is crossed at Durand, about 20 miles above its mouth, by a highway bridge, built under authority of an act of the legislature of Wisconsin, the act requiring the owners of the bridge to provide the necessary auxiliary works to insure safe passage of its spans. The bridge has draw-spans of 100 feet in the clear, measured at the surface of the mean stage of water, but the low-water width of the left hand, or shore, draw-span is not more than 85 feet, a width insufficient for the safe passage of rafts of the ordinary size, even when guided by steamers, without further assistance from shears or booms properly constructed and placed. In addition, the right draw-span is frequently reduced in navigable width by accumulations or jams of floating logs, which lodge against the square, up-stream face of the pier to the right of ne draw.pier. This pier should be altered in plan, or a sheer should be placed above it to divert floating bodies to the adjoining spans, and a boom should be placed along the left bank to assist rafts in making the left draw-span.
I understand that parties interested in the navigation of the Chippewa River have endeavored, but without success, to induce the bridge-owners to place booms, as required by the terms of the act of the legislature authorizing the construction of the bridge. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. J. ALLEN,
Major of Engineers. Brig. Gen. JAMES C. DUANE,
Chief of Engineers, U. S. A.
REPORT OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGI.
ENGINEER OFFICE, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., January 26, 1887. GENERAL: In compliance with General Orders No. 7, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, November 30, 1886, I have the honor to submit the following report, having reference to “ bridges, causeways, or structures now erected or in process of erectiou," that "do or will interfere with free and safe navigation" upon the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and pavigable tributaries.
1. Five bridges spanning the Tennessee River are of this character, forming complete or partial obstructions, as hereinafter shown, viz:
(a) The bridge which is now an absolute barrier to ordinary steamers is located at Florence, Ala., and was built by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company, upon a branch line of that road connecting Florence with the main line at Tuscumbia, about 7 miles distant.
At the time of its construction, this point was considered the head of navigation on the Tennessee River, as the Mussel Shoals, just above, practically closed this river to vessels of all classes. The piers of this bridge are quite near together, and being placed at an angle to the cur. rent, which is very swift, render the passage of vessels extremely difficult and dangerous.
This bridge is built for combined railroad and carriage traffic, has no draw, is of 17 spans of about 100 feet length, and has an elevation above high water of only 14 feet and above low water of about 331 feet. It was built with reference to light traffic, and is not consid ered sufficiently strong to admit the passage of the heaviest engines and trains in general use on other roads. It is a total barrier at all stages of the water to steamboats of the usual size plying upon our western rivers.
In view of the near completion of the Mussel Shoals Canal, and its being opened to navigation within the next twelve months, and the increase of the commerce of the Tennessee consequent upon communication to its upper tributaries, it would appear to be obligatory in the interests of navigation that this Florence bridge be abated, or be modified to the extent of the removal and reconstruction of at least three of its piers. The new piers should be placed parallel with the current of the river, and the distance between them, owing to the velocity of the cur. rent, should not be less than 150 feet in the clear, che middle pier of the three to carry a turning bridge.
Information has reached me informally that commercial interests in that region will soon demand a bridge adapted to heavier traffic, and pending such construction, or positive action looking thereto, I urgently press the necessity of an official declaration of the obstructive character of the present bridge to “free and safe navigation."
In this connection, reference is respectfully made to my letter of December 16, 1886, to the President et al. of the East Tennessee, Vir. ginia and Georgia Railway Company, and the reply thereto, dated Jan. uary 8, 1887. (Appendixes A and B.)
, (0) The bridge of the Memphis and Charleston Railway at Decatur, Ala., is also an obstruction to the present and prospective commerce of the river. It consists of 12 spans of about 1541 feet average available length; it has the narrowest draw-531 feet-of any bridge crossing the Tennessee or Cuniberland rivers. It is readily seen that with an increased commerce, and increased size of steamboats plying upon the river, that the draw-span should be enlarged to not less than 150 feet in the clear. In this connection see Appendixes A and B.
(c) The bridge of the Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railway Company at Bridgeport, Ala., is an obstruction now and will be more so in the future. It has five spans of an average length of about 140 feet; a draw of only 654 feet in width, and it is of faulty construction, so as to present a constant peril to life and property even to the small craft that now have to pass it. As in the case of the Decatur bridge, and for the same reasons, the draw should be enlarged to a width of not less than 150 feet in the clear, to provide even the present commerce with “ free and safe navigation."
In this connection reference is made to my letter of December 27, 1886, to the president et al. of the Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railway Company, and the reply thereto, dated January 19, 1887. (See Appendixes C and D.)
(d) The bridge at Johnsonville, Tenn. (Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railway), is of nine spans, each of about 164 feet aver. age length, having a draw of 97 feet width (estimated). This bridge is rendered a serious obstruction by reason of its faulty construction. The river is undermining its draw.piers, and to partially prevent this damage the company has deposited large masses of stone in the waterway, thus narrowing the channel and causing the formation of constantly enlarging sand-bars below the bridge.
Navigation reasonably demands that this obstructive riprap be removed. The piers, in my judgment, should be rebuilt, and the draw widened to not less than 150 feet in the clear, the interests of com. merce and the safety of life and property afloat requiring it.
On December 27, 1886, I addressed a letter to the Evansville, Padu. cah and Tennessee River Packet Company, asking for information pertaining to the present condition, &c., of this bridge. (See Appendix E.) The reply thereto forms Appendix F. In Appendix è inquiry was also made of the Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railway Company, but no mention was made of this bridge in their reply. (Appendix D.)
(e) The bridge of the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Company, at Gilbertsville, Ky., operated by the Newport News and Mississippi Valley Company, is a very serious obstruction to “ free and safe naviga tion."
It has nine spans of about 150 feet average width, avla draw of only 100 feet width. It is not built at right angles to the current; the upper rest-pier is actually in the channel used by boats, and the lower rest-pier has fallen in.
The present and prospective commerce demands that the piers should be rebuilt, and a draw of not less than 150 feet in the clear should, in my opinion, be constructed so as to amply provide for safely navigating the Lower Tennessee River.
In this connection I respectfully refer to my letter to the Newport News and Mississippi Valley Company, dated January 7, 1887, and the reply thereto, dated January 12, 1887. (Appendixes G and H.)
Also to the statement of the Evansville, Paducah and Tennessee River Packet Company in reference to this bridge. (Appendix F.)
2. The Hiawassee River is spanned at Charleston, Tenn., by a bridge of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway; it has no draw; has three spans of 120 feet width; its height above low water is about 36 feet. There has been no serious complaint of this bridge to my knowledge, but the fact remains that when the river is at a good boating stage only the smallest class of steamboats can pass under it. A draw will become a necessity when the commerce of the river is still further developed by the improvements begun and projected above Charleston. (See Appendixes A and B.)
3. The bridges herein described are undoubtedly obstructions in fact, though they may not be obstructions in law, having been erected under State legislative authority, Congress having been silent in the matter; but in the interests of the commerce and navigation of the present and of the near future it is respectfully submitted that the modifications herein suggested, or such as will be productive of like results, should be adopted and enforced by the declarative action of Congress assenting thereto.
4. The log-booms formed in the Upper Cumberland have been heretofore complained of by raftsmen, but these structures" are not deemed of sufficient importance to need official abatement at present; at least no complaints of any recent date have been received. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. BARLOW,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers. Brig. Gen. J. C. DUANE,
Chief of Engineers, U. 8. A.
LETTER OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TO THE EAST
TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA AND GEORGIA RAILWAY COMPANY.
ENGINEER OFFICE, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 16, 1886. GENTLEMEN : In view of the recent national legislation bearing upon the subject of bridge and other structures that “do or will interfere with free and safe naviga; tion” I have respectfully to call your attention to certain bridges under your control that do interfere with such navigation.
(1) The bridge over the Tennessee River at Florence, Ala., upon the Memphis and Charleston Division of your system, is, in my opinion the worst of the obstructions upon that river, and, as a matter of fact, presents a serious barrier to navigation as
carried on even now in boats that ply in the Tennessee below Florence and above Decatur, and in view of the near completion of the Mussel Shoals Canal and the conrequent increase of commerce, calling into use upon the Tennessee a larger class of steamboats, this bridge will then form an absoluto barrier to navigation.
It is well known to your honorable body that this Florence bridge has no draw, is very low, of narrow spans, and its piers located without regard to die direction of the current, which is very strong, and is structurally slender and weak. In fact, of the bridges that cross the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and their tributaries it has the shortest available span (100 feet) and the least height above the bigh-water surface, having at that stage only 1} feet and above the low-water surface it has about 331 feet.
(2) The bridge at Decatur, Ala., crossing the same river, is also a serious obstruction, having a very narrow draw-531 feet-the narrowest draw in any bridge crossing the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, and wbich will, in all probability, be prolitio of loss and damage to the craft seeking to pass through its piers.
(3) The bridge over the Hiawassee River at Charleston, Tenn., has no draw, has short spans, and only 36 feet above the low-water surface. “Free and safe navigation" cannot be had for steamboats under these conditions when the river is at a good boating stage.
In view of these facts it is readily seen that the Florence bridge should be provided with a draw-span of suitable dimensions (I suggest 150 feet) or be abated, and that the Decatur bridge should be modified to the extent of constructing a draw of sufficient dimensions to render the passage of boats safe and without unusual risk to life and property, and that a draw in the Charleston bridge is desirable, though the amount of commerce may not at present make it imperative.
It is respectfully desired that your company will favor me with an early reply, em. bodying its views upon this matter, with such suggestions as may be deemed pertinent thereto, and if any action has been taken, or is likely to be taken in the near future, having in view the modification or abatement of either of said bridges, that I may be officially informed of said facts, so that I may be enabled to give them careful consideration, and to submit “all information attainable" with my report to the War Department upon this subject of obstructions in the navigable waters of the engineer district in my charge. In this connection please read the following copy of “orders":
“HEADQUARTERS CORPS OF ENGINEERS,
“ UNITED STATES ARMY,
“ Washington, D. C., November 30, 1886. “GENERAT. ORDERS, }
“The attention of officers of the Corps of Engineers * is invited to the following provision contained in section 4 of 'An act making appropriations for the construction, repair, and preservation of certain public works on rivers and harbors, and for other purposes,' approved August 5, 1886: ""SEC. 4. The Secretary of Warshall * report to Congress
wbether any bridges, causeways, or structures now erected or in process of erection do or will interfere with free and safe navigation.'
“Officers and agents will prepare and submit to this office, as soon as practicable, full and detailed reports covering all facts within their knowledge and all information attainable by them, that the Chief of Engineers may present to the Secretary of War the data necessary to enable him to comply with the above-quoted provision of the river and harbor act of August 5, 1886. “By command of Brigadier General Duane:
“ John M. WILSON,
“Lieut. Col. of Engineers, Colonel U. S. Army." I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. BARLOW,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers,
Of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company.