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LETTER OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EAST TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA AND GEORGIA RAILROAD COMPANY TO LIEUTENANT-COLOXEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
East TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA AND GEORGIA RAILROAD COMPANY,
Knoxville, Tenn., January 8, 1837. DEAR Sır: The president of this company has referred to me your communication under date of the 16th ultimo, calling attention to the fact that certain bridges on the Memphis and Charleston and East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroads interfere with navigation. Absence has prevented an earlier reply.
The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company operates the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as lessee, and expenditures for the reconstruction of bridges can only be made by authority of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company. The president of that company, with whom I have conferred on the subject, advises me that the question of putting a draw into the Florence Bridge was up for consideration some years ago, and his company then took the position that in view of the fact that Florence had been declared by statute the head of navigation at the time the company's bridge over the Tennessee River at that point was constructed, any changes necessary on account of the extension of navigation should be made at the expense of the Government ont of the fund appropriated for the improvement.
Whether or not this position is tenable I do not pretend to say; the matter has been referred to the legal department of the company for advice.
Upon diligent inquiry I have learned that so far the bridge over the Tennessee River at Decatur has not proved any obstruction to navigation. Whether the completion of the river improvements will make such changes as will necessitate the sub. stitution of a wider draw-bridge remains to be seen.
In regard to the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company's bridge over the Hiawassee River I will say that the commerce above that bridge is so very small, and not likely to increase in the near future, that the cousideration of the question of putting a draw in that bridge can, in my opinion, be deferred. Yours, very respectfully,
Vice-President. Licut. Col. J. W. BARLOW.
LETTER OF LIEUTENANT. COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TO THE NASH
VILLE, CHATTANOOGA AND SAINT LOUIS RAILWAY COMPANY.
ENGINEER OFFICE, U. S. ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 27, 1886. GENTLEMEN: In view of the recent national legislation bearing upon the subject of bridges and other structures that “do, or will, interfere with free and safe navigation," I have to respectfully call your attention to certain bridges under your control that do interfere with such navigation.
(1) The bridge over the Tennessee River at Bridgeport, Ala., is now, in my opinion, a serious obstruction, and in view of the near completion of the Mussel Shoals Canal and the consequent increase of commerce, calling into use upon the Tennessee River a larger class of steamboats, this bridge will then form an obstacle demanding modiification.
This bridge, as your bonorable body well knows, is of short spans and narrow draw (654 feet), and forming by its faulty construction a constant peril to life and property seeking to pass through it.
(2) The bridge at Johnsonville, Tenn., over the same river, is also a very serious obstruction, and in consequence of faulty construction, causing the undermining of the draw-piers, to remedy which your company has deposited masses of stone, thus narrowing and obstructing still further the already too narrow channel.
In view of these facts, it is readily seen that the Bridgeport Bridge should at least be modified to the extent of enlarging the draw to suitabıle dimensions (I suggest 160 feet), and that the Johnsouville Bridge should have its draw-piers rebuilt, and tho draw widened.
It is respectfully desired that your company will favor me with an early reply, embodying its views upon this matter, with such suggesions 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 any modification of either of said bridges, that I may be
officially informed of said facts, so that I may be enabled to give them careful con-
In this connection, please read the following “Orders :"
J. W. Barlow,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers, In charge of Improvements of Tennessee and Cumberland. PRESIDENT, DIRECTORS, ET AL.,
Of the Nashville, Chatianooga and Saint Louis Railway.
LETTER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NASHVILLE, CHATTANOOGA AND SAINT LOUIS
RAILWAY TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
NASHVILLE, CHATTANOOGA AND SAINT Louis RAILWAY,
Nashville, Tenn., January 19, 1887. DEAR SIR: Referring to yours of December 27, with reference to our bridges over the Tennessee River at Bridgeport and Johnsonville, would respectfully state that I am at a loss what answer to give in regard to this matter.
The Bridgeport Bridge was constructed in 1850, under an act of the Alabama leg. islature. It has not iuterfered with the navigation of the river for a period of thirtyfive years, and should it in the future do so, owing to a larger class of boats that may be placed upon the river after the completion of the improvements at Mussel Shoals, whether the requisite changes should be made by this company, by the Government, or by both jointly I am unable to say. Yours, truly,
J. W. THOMAS,
President. Col. J. W. BARLOW,
United States Engineer.
LETTER OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TO THE
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE EVANSVILLE, PADUCAH AND TENNESSEE RIVER PACKET
ENGINEER OFFICE, U. S. ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 27, 1886. Dear Sir: In October 1884, you kindly furnished my predecessor, Maj. W. R. King, a statement showing the condition of the bridges over the Tennessee River at Gilbertsville (Chesapeake, Ohio, and Southwestern Railway), and at Johnsonville (North Carolina and Saint Louis Railway), in regard to their obstructing the channel and imperiling the lives and property of those navigating and commercially using the Tennessee River.
Not having been able in the few months that I have had charge of the improving of the Tennessee River, to personally inspect the bridges and the Lower Tennessee River generally, I ask you to be kind enough to furnish me a statement of the present relation that each of these bridges bears to commerce and navigation.
As your boats are constantly plying upon the river, there is no person, I think, who can give me more trustworthy information than yourself.
An early reply is very necessary, as I am required to report on the matter to the
J. W. BARLOW,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers. JAMES MONTGOMERY, Esq.,
Superintendent Evansville, Paducah and Tennessee River Packet Company.
LETTER OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE EVANSVILLE, PADUCAH AND TENNESSEB
RIVER PACKET COMPANY, TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF EN-
Eransville, Ind., January 3, 1887. MY DEAR SIR: Yours 27th ultimo to Mr. James Montgomery, superintendent Evansville, Paducah and Tennessee River Packet Company, concerning bridges on Tennessee River, has been referred to me, as I have succeeded him in the office of superintendent.
I cannot give you exact measurement, &c., but can give you a general idea of these bridges, based on an experience of eighteen years continuous service between Paducah, Ky., and Florence, Ala.
The Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad Bridge, 20 miles above Paducah, is considered very dangerous by all Tennessee River steamboatmen, and more espe. cially in high water, as it is not constructed at right angles with the current of the river.
The upper rest-pier is almost exactly in the channel that a boat should run in order to keep straight with the current, which is very essential to safety. I here witb inclose yon a drawiug* that will give you a better idea of the situation than I can describe in a letter.
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Bridge, 90 miles above Paducah, is not all that we desire in the way of construction, though it is so much better than the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern, and also the Johnsonville Bridge, that we have no special complaint to make concerning it.
The Johnsonville Bridge, which is 110 miles above Paducah, is the most difficult one we have to contend with, and is considered dangerous to steamboats both ascending and descending when being navigated by the most skillful pilots, either in daytime or at night, on account of the short span and a large gravel-bar, which has formed only a short distance below the bridge. I also inclose a drawing* of this bridge and bar, which is not according to exact measurements, but it is in the main correct.
The bar spoken of is less than the length of a steamboat below the end of the draw when the draw is open for boats to pass. In consequence of this bar pilot has to begin to make a turn when descending while the boat is yet between the piers, and in ascending the channel is so narrow and crooked it is impossible to get a straight rup between the piers.
I have often noticed that a boat 34 feet wide with a coal-boat 20 feet wide in tor, has barely room to pass through this bridge. Even then at a low stage of water the boat will rub on one side and the barge on the other against the riprap which has been thrown around the piers in order to support them. Somo years ago Major Willard, who was then in charge of the work at Mussel Shoals, made a trip on one of our boats, and, if I am not mistaken, made a sketch of the Johnsonville Bridge and the bar below it. If I am correct about this statement concerning Major Willard, I think he could give you more accurate information than any one else.
There are three regular weekly boats running in the Lower Tennessee all the year round, and a considerable portion of the time as many as six, in addition to tow boats that often make trips up the river for the purpose of bringing out barges loaded with staves, lumber, pig-iron, tan-bark, and timber.
Some months ago we furnished your office, through Messrs. Fowler & Co., of Padocah, with an approximate statement of the business done on the Tennessee River between Paducah, Ky., and Florence, Ala. This statement, while it was not gotten up from actual statistics owing to the fact that no records have been kept of the amount of towing, we consider it as near accurate as it could have been made, as it was prepared by careful and experienced men who have been connected with the business for many years. If you now have this statement it would give you some idea of the importance of the commerce on the Lower Tennessee. We feel a great interest in these matters and will cheerfully give you all the information we can, and stand ready to render all the assistance in our power looking to the permanent improvement of this important stream.
I shall endeavor to call on you soon if you so desire, in order that these matters may be fully discussed. Yours very truly,
R. D. MORROW,
Superintendent. Col. J. W. BARLOW, Lieut. Col. of Engineers.
LETTER OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TO THE NEW
PORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COMPANY.
ENGINEER OFFICE, U. S. ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., January 7, 1887. GENTLEMEN: In view of the recent national legislation bearing upon the subject of bridges and other structures that “do or will interfere with free and safe navigation," I have to respectfully call your attention to the draw-bridge crossing the Tennessee River at Gilbertsville, Ky., forming a part of the western division of your system, i. e. on the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railway. This bridge forms a very serious obstruction to navigation and should be remedied with as little delay as possible. ·
Definite and well-sustained complaints have been made to my predecessor, Maj. W. R. King, and more recently to myself, by those interested in the commerce and navigation of the Tennessee, extending over a period of several years, against that bridge to a degree that implies a necessity for its modification or abatement.
The obstruction chiefly consists in the fact that it is not constructed at right angles with the current of the river, and that its lower rest-pier has fallen in, and the upper rest-pier is almost exactly
in the channel that a boat should run in order to keep straight with the current, which is essential to safety."
'In view of these facts it is readily seen that the piers should be rebuilt, at the same time securing a draw-span of not less than 150 feet in the clear.
It is respectfully desired that your company will favor me with an early reply, embodying 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 any modification of said bridge, that I may be informed officially of that fact so that I may be enabled to give it 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 abis connection please read the following “Orders."
[Here follows a copy of General Orders No.7, which may be found in Appendix A.] I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J.' W. Barlow,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers, In charge of Improvement of Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. PRESIDENT, DIRECTORS, ET AL.,
Newport News and Mississippi Valley Company.
LETTER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COM
PAXY TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COMPANY,
New York, January 12, 1887. DEAR Sır: I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 7th instant, calling my attention to a provision in the Army regulations requiring you to report to the Secretary of War whether any bridges, causeways, or structures do, or will, interfere with the free and safe navigation, and pointing out that there is a liability to an obstruction to navigation in the railroad bridge piers at Gilbertsville, Ky.
This company bas but recently taken charge of the division of road extending from Louisville to Memphis, and I am without specific information in regard to the condition of this bridge and the piers. I have requested General Echols, the vice-presi. dent, who is in immediate command, however, to cause an examination and report to be made to me as to the present dimensions and condition of that structure, so as to be able to comply with the reasonable requirements of the War Department as soon as the seasons and elements favor. When I obtain the views of the resident engineer I may have some plans and suggestions to submit for consideration on the subject in a further communication. Yours very respectfully,
C. P. HUNTINGTON,
President. J. W. BARLOW,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers.
LETTER OF LIEUTENANT.COLONEL J. W. BARLOW, CORPS OP ENGI
ENGINEER OFFICE, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., February 19, 1887. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith correspondence received from C. P. Huntington, president of the Newport News and Mississippi Valley Conipany, dated New York, February 7, 1887, furnishing additional information pertaining to the bridge of the Chesapeake, Obio and Southwestern Railway over the Tennessee River at Gilbertsville (Eddyville), Ky., and request that this communication may be tiled as supplementary to my report of January 26, 1887, on bridges obstructing navigation.
The interests of commerce and navigation demand, in my judgment. that the two rest-piers be removed at once; therefore I respectfully recommend their removal under the provisions of the act of July 5, 1884, section 8, the cost being estimated as within the $15,000 annual limit.
This action will give temporary, but not full relief, for the necessity of securing a wider draw-span would still remain ; the draw should be widened to not less than 150 feet in the clear, as previously recommended by me. Very respectfully, your obedient scrvant,
J. W. BARLOW,
Lieut. Col. of Engineers. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.
LETTER OF THE PRESIDENT OF TIIE NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COY
NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COMPANY,
New York, February 7, 1887.' DEAR Sır: Referring to your letter of the 7th ultimo, already acknowledged, I have Dow to say, in further response thereto, that I have requested Vice-President Ecbols to give me a report upon the condition of the bridge across the Tennessee at Eddy, ville, and have the pleasure to inclose copy of his report relative thereto.
It will be seen therefrom tbat the chief engineer does not regard the present condition of any of the piers as being an obstruction to navigation, but nevertheless, if upon an inspection and maturer judgment, the Secretary of War is of the contrary opinion, it will be practicable to remove the lower rest-pier. Respectfully submitted,
C. P. HUXTIXGTON,
President J. W. BARLOW, Esq.,
Lieut. Col. of Enginecr3.
LETTER OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
NEWPORT NEWS AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COMPANY,
OFFICE OF THE THIRD VICE-PRESIDENT,
Louisville, Ky., February 2, 1887. MY DEAR SIR: On the 12th ultimo you wrote to me inclosing copy of a letter from Mr. J. W. Barlow, lieutenant-colonel of Engineers, United States Army, in charge of improvement of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, calling your attention io what he thought was an obstruction of navigation by our bridge-piers in the Tenuesses River.