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I propose three sets of bug-lights for Beaufort, N. C.-first, a single light, due north of the present channel buoy; second, a range light, for crossing the bar, or for the first course in; third, a range light on “Lower Bank,” for the second course to anchorage. Two additional buoys are also required to mark out the channel.
A bug-light is required for the upper jettee of the Cape Fear river. There should be three spar-buoys in Charleston harbor, one at each end of the “Middie Ground," the other at “ White Point," to define the end of that spit for the benefit of vessels bound up the Ashley.
A couple of beacons, for a range, should be erected near “Fort Johnson," as a guide for vessels to clear “Sumter Flats” and the end of the Middle” when bound in and out of the South city channel..
• To render South Edisto vrviceable as a harbor of refuge, a secondorder light should be placed on Seabrook Point, and three buoys in the channel-way.
Charleston light should be a “fixed light," with improved reflectors. No light should revolve—that is, one of a range for entering a narrow cbannel, as the loss of it, even for a few seconds, might be attended with danger.
I have frequently experienced the truth of this.
The beacon-light connected with the main light should be increased in brilliancy and shifted further south, to render the range complete for crossing in the best water. A railway for this beacon is required, as the bar is materially influenced by northeast storms, and the range consequently changing to southward.
The “Overall beacons" of Charleston harbor are useless, leading a vessel into six feet at low water. I propose that they be shifted to “Fort Sumter," as a range for the “Swash channel,” one-eighth of a mile south of the “North," and with the same depth of water. This would enable coasting vessels and steamers that now use the “ North channel” to enter the harbor at night by the “ Swash.”
A buoy is required on the southwest end of the Rattlesnake shoal.
The lights at Hatteras and Roman are very poor; both should be overhauled and furnished with improved reflectors.
Bell-boats would be of infinite service at the extreme point of Cape Lookout and the Frying Pan shoal.
The light-boat at Martin's Industry, South Carolina, should be furnished with two good lights, one forward and the other aft, of different elevations, that the boat may not be confounded with St. Helena lightboat. As the light-boat on “Martin's Industry” is old and unfit for its exposed and dangerous position, I propose that a new light-boat of great capacity, with an additional light, be placed on that shoal, and the preseni boat be moored off “Hilton Head,” Georgia, to mark the point of “Grenadier shoal,” which lies due north from "Tybee light.” It is a dangerous spot, and a light-boat has repeatedly been called for by the Charleston and Savannah Steamboat Company.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN N. MAFFITT, Lieut. Commanding, and Assistant U. 8. Coast Survey.
Ertracts from letter of Lieutenant Commanding John Rodgers, United States
navy, assistant in coast survey, in reply to foregoing letter of the Superintendent, in relation to lights, beacons, and buoys needed on the coast of Florida-Section VI.
UNITED STATES Coast SURVEY OFFICE,
Washington, August 25, 1851. SIR: In reply to your letter of July 30, enclosing a circular from the Light-house Board, making inquiries in regard to the present condition of the lights and other aids to navigation which have come under my observation, I have the honor to say:
Additional lights are required on the Florida reef. The difficulties of navigation along this reef, arising from the curved shape of the channel, requiring continual change of course; the strength and irregularity of the current; the coral reefs which fringe either shore, and the lowness of the land, added to the vast amount of passing commerce, and the number and value of the wrecks, call for a full illumination. I think four more light-houses, and the shifting of a light-boat, would be sufficient.
I would place them thu3: one about Alligator reef, off Indian key; one about Collins' Patches, off Key Vacas; one on Looe key; one half way between Cape Florida and Carysfort reef.
These should all be first-class refracting lights, or possibly, with the latest improvements, second class.
The light-boat now on Carysfort reef might have a proper lantern fitted to her, and be placed on the Rebecca shoals, between the Tortugas and Marquesas keys. The passage between the Tortugas and Marquesas keys is so much frequented by vessels bound into the Gulf of Mexico, as to call for a light-boat to point out the shoals in it.
With these lights, in addition to those now erected, or in progress, vessels could scarcely get on shore upon our side of the Florida channel without having been warned by a light.
.With the increased safety there seem incidental advantages. Our shore being better lighted than the opposite one, vessels will keep in our own waters in passing through the Florida channel. The wrecks inevitable to extensive commerce will pay salvage to our citizens, rather than to foreigners; and foreign goods thus introduced, pay duties to our government.
The wrecks brought into Key West amount annually to about $1,200,000, and those on the Bahama Banks to twice as much.
It is a point with vessels coasting along the southern States to keep as far as practicable within the influence of the Gulf Stream, for time is of so much importance to them that they are willing to risk something to save time. Coasting steamers run from Cape Canaveral shoal to Jupiter inlet, where the trend of the land alters. A light-house would be useful as a point to run for, and to indicate when the change of course had become necessary. Such a light-house may perhaps be made to guard a shoal which lies between Jupiter inlet and Indian river, on which the United States mail steamer Georgia touched. Captain Coste, United States revenue marine, kuows that such a shoal
he inequal tolles.
exists. Captain Willey, a ship-owner and master, who has traded for many years along our southern coast, has furnished me with the following information : “Nine miles from land, ten miles E. by S. I S. from Indian river, lies a shoal about one mile long and two cablolengths wide. It has five fathoms water on the north end, and fifteen feet on the south end; ten fathoms inside of it.”
“SE. I S. from Indian river, and five miles from land, is another shoal with fifteen feet water on it."
“ With Gilbert's bar bearing E. 1 N., distant four miles, is another shoal with five fathoms on it."
“A rock, with six or seven feet water on it, lies half a mile ESE. from the south side of Jupiter inlet : five fathoms close alongside of it.”
The light-house can only be properly placed after an examination has been made.
A light-house would be useful about Hillsborough inlet, or where it shall be found that the first spur of the Florida reef starts from the main land.
In the distance of one hundred and seventy miles between Cape Canaveral and Cape Florida there is now no light. The two I propose should both, I think, be of the first class refracting lights, unless it should be found that the recent improvement in the second class make them nearly equal to the first.
"Improvements, if any, which particular lights may require, to render them equal to all the wants of commerce and navigation in their respective localities."
Över-estimate of distance, in consequence of dimness of the Tortugas light, is sometimes given as a cause of wreck. Its situation is one of the most important on our whole coast-nearly all the commerce of the Gulf of Mexico passes within sight of it. If additional force be needed to the requirement of a first-class light, it may be found in the military position of the Tortugas. To develop the full usefulness to commerce and the navy, of the extensive fortific tion now in progress there, as powerful a light as possible seems necessary. . Cape Florida has a good ordinary reflector light. Its position seems to point out as proper a first-class refracting one. I hope it will not be considered foreign to the subject of these lights for me to offer the suggestion, that the Florida channel is the natural outlet of the Mississippi ; that the lights along the Florida reef are those in which the western planters of the United States are particularly interested ; and that in lessening the danger of getting their produce to market, its price to them will be enhanced.
Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear, seem all positions for first-class lights.
The light-house on Cape Fear is, according to Blunt's Coast Pilot, one hundred and ten feet above the level of the sea. Its range of visibility to an eye eleven feet above the sea, is, by calculation, 12.76 nautical miles. The Frying-pan shoals, off this cape, extend twenty miles from land. An inspection of the chart shows that these shoals should be illuminated. It does not seem practicable to give a tower on Smith island the height necessary to be seen so far. Light-boats are placed
unce, in consequi
P° Cape Floras proper a b subject of thes
in situations as exposed : it is possible that an examination might discover a sheltered berth for one.
In such situations it may be sound discretion to build screw-pile or other beacons, to be left some years to test their stability; when, if they stand the test satisfactorily, the light may be placed on the beacon and the boat removed.
The light at Cape Canaveral is not sufficient. The tower was built when it was believed that the shoals extended only three or four miles from the cape. Subsequent examination has discovered a shoal, with cight feet water on it, at the distance of eleven nautical miles. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN RODGERS, Lieutenant U. S. N., and Assistant Coast Survey.
APPENDIX No. 17.
Table of light-houses, beacons, buoys, &c., recommended by chiefs of hydrographic parties of coast survey, for which no appropria-
Section. State. iNo. Object recomended. By whom examined. Report of superintend’nt.