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Of the canal enlargement.
11. Assuming 75 feet as the width of the lock chamber, the width of the water way of the canal should be about 100 feet. This width would leavefor windage on both sides of a boat 75 feet wide, 25 feet, or 12 feet on each side, which I regard as a suitable allowance merely for a boat of that width, the movements of which, in passing through the canal, ought to be regulated by her rudder. According to the facilities for propelling a boat through the canal by the use of steam, will be the speed of her movements. In a canal whose width does not exceed that of the lock chamber, the movements of the boat must, unavoidably, be retarded, and sometimes entirely arrested by frequent impacts against the sides of the canal.
12. The enlargement should be made on the northerly side of the canal, in order that the excavations required therefor may be applied to the formation of an embankment and causey on that side, rising to an elevation at least two feet above the surface of the highest known flood. This would give for the height of the embankment above low water 42 feet at the head of the canal, and 67 feet at the foot of the canal.
13. The side walls of the canal should rise to the level of the lock walls, viz: 43 feet above the mitresills of the lock, or 18 feet above the bottom of the canal. At this height the tops of the walls would rise above the guards of a boat at the highest stage of water for canal navigation.
14. The slopes of the embankment should rise from the summit of the canal and lock walls, at the rate of 1 to 1, quite to the grade or roadway at the top of the embankment.
15. At least two passing places should be provided for on the southerly side of the canal, in addition to that at the head of the lock, each of which should have a width equal, or nearly so, to the width of the canal. One of these should be situated, if practicable, at the point most suitable for the pivot drawbridge.
16. The drawbridge should traverse horizontally, on a suitable stone pier erected for its support, about midway of the line between the canal and the passing place. The draw should rest upon a properly constructed turning table and platform, covering the head of the pier. Thus situated, one end of the draw would span the canal, while the other would span the passing place; and, being in itself equi-librated on the platform and top of the pier, may readily be made to traverse back and forth on its pintle in a manner to admit the passage of one or two boats at once, as occasion may require.
Of the guard gate and its piers, &c.
17. The guard gate should be located in the basin at the head of the canal. Its piers and the guard gate should rise at least 42 feet above the surface of ordinary low water at their base, and should be arranged in such a manner that the shore pier head may serve as a boom post for the shore end of a boom, and the river pier head as
post for the other end of the boom, the former being situated further up the river than the latter, in order to afford the requisite obliquity to the boom when stretched from one pier head to the other. The shore pier should be connected to the shore by a wing wall of the same height as that of the piers and gates. In like manner the river pier should be connected to the embankment or causey by a wall, all being of a uniform height.
18. The gates should consist of two leaves to each, the lower leaf rising about 20 feet above the mitre sills, and the upper leaf rising about 27 feet above the top of the lower leaf. The lower leaves are designed to be short, whenever there may be occasion to employ the canal for any purpose whatever, while the upper leaves are to subserve the purpose of stopping the ingress of water into the canal space whenever a freshet rising above the lower set of leaves may occur.
19. The boom should be of a coffer form, about fifteen feet wide, one hundred feet long, and five or six feet deep, constructed somewhat after the manner of a flat-boat, square at both ends. Such a boom may readily be floated to the heads of the piers, and occupy a position oblique to impinging currents, drift, &c., and prevent the accumulation of drift, &c., between the piers and above the guard gates whenever the higher stages of the river render the canal useless. On the subsidence of such freshets the boom may readily be withdrawn and moored in some suitable place, the guard gates thrown open, and the canal made free for the passage of boats.
20. Thus fortified and protected by the high embankment through the whole extent of the canal on its northerly side, and by the guard gates, piers and wing walls at its head, the canal will be exempt from overflows by floods loaded with drift, suspended silt, &c., and secure from the deposition of floating materials and sedimentary deposits. Inundations of the entire canal space in rear of the embankment and below the guard gate will, of course, occur in very high freshets, but such overflows will be occasioned exclusively by back water entering from below the canal after having parted from its drift and deposited its silt to such an extent as will exempt the canal from annoyances of this character.
21. The views attempted to be sustained by the foregoing remarks seem, in a few instances, to be somewhat in conflict with some of the suggestions contained in your letter. I have deemed it expedient to present, in a more intelligible form, sundry leading objects, and the reasons therefor, as contemplated in my hurried letter of the 16th
22. The whole is respectfully submitted to your arbitrament with the desire of obtaining your concurrence, or, rather, your decision, in regard to their relevancy or otherwise.
23. I have had a brief interview with the president and directors of the Louisville and Portland Canal Company, who concur in the propriety of commencing the surveys as soon as practicable, by wings at and near the foot of the present canal, for the purpose of ascertaining the position, depth below the surface, and configuration of the rocks underlying the canal at that point. The developments expected
to be made in this way are regarded as suitable preliminaries to a judicious location of the contemplated new lock.
I propose to enter on the field work of the survey within a few days.
S. H. LONG.
DOCUMENT No. 8.
Agent Fuller to Col. Long.
OFFICE RED RIVER IMPROVEMENTS,
August 12, 1857.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my annual report on the state and progress of the work committed to my charge, viz: the improvement of Red river at and around the raft, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1856, and ending June 30, 1857.
My receipts and expenditures during the year on account of this service are as follows, viz:
Balance on hand June 30, 1857....
At the close of the last fiscal year the white laborers employed on this work had nearly all been discharged, their term of service having expired. The steam snag-boat Gopher was laid up at Coshatta Bluffs for repairs, and the laboring force of thirteen blacks went into camp on the banks of Dooley's bayou, to be employed with the hand machine boat during the summer, under charge of the master of the Gopher, Captain Dillingham, in removing obstructions to the navigation of the bayou and lakes, and in doing such other work as might be found necessary there during the low water season. The force was entirely too small to enable me to prosecute the work with the desired success, or to complete the removal of the obstructions between the head of Dooley's bayou and that of Stumpy bayou, as contemplated in my last annual report. All my efforts to increase the black force, by hiring from the planters within a distance of one hundred miles, were futile. On the contrary, several of those engaged were either withdrawn by their owners, or having gone home without permission, were suffered to remain there. The river during the summer was at a remarkably low stage-one most favorable for operating successfully;
and, with an addition of eight or ten laborers, I could probably have removed all the stumps, logs, &c., throughout the entire distance referred to. The force employed, however, succeeded in pulling up and removing with the machine boat, during the low water season, seven snags and 238 heavy stumps; and, in addition thereto, cut down to a level with the bottom 951 stumps, besides digging up roots, cutting down small islands, and felling impending trees.
On the 15th September a very heavy freshet occurred unexpectedly while the party was at work down the bayou, which not only suspended low water operations, but brought with it a heavy run of timber from the upper waters of Red river, and caused an accumulation of raft in the vicinity of Elmer's bayou, and near the head of the original raft, of more than a mile in length.
From that date till the latter part of October the force was employed in cutting and hauling light raft through the bayou to the first small lake, and stowing it therein.
During the summer the Gopher and machine boat were painted, caulked, and otherwise repaired.
On the 16th of October the new force of white laborers, which had been shipped in Kentucky and Indiana, arrived at the work. Of the thirty-nine who left New Albany, but thirty-three reached Coshatta Bluffs; one was accidentally killed, two were drowned, two deserted, and one was discharged, sick, at Shreveport. On the 17th, the day after their arrival, eleven deserted, and on the 21st nine more left, leaving me but thirteen out of the original thirty-nine These men had all signed shipping articles to remain on the work until the 15th of June, 1857, unless sooner discharged, but, without good cause, deserted in gangs, led or controlled by one or two of the party. The rates of wages on the river, being from forty to fifty per cent. higher than those I feel authorized or willing to give, may have induced the desertion on the part of some; others found the work too dangerous or too laborious; while many left because their comrades were going. I had no power to retain them, they simply forfeiting whatever wages might be due them at the time.
With the small black and white force remaining the Gopher resumed service, and the work was prosecuted with all diligence till the ensuing March, when, learning that Congress had failed to pass the desired appropriation for the completion of the improvement, it was deemed advisable to reduce the expenses to as small a monthly expenditure as possible consistent with the good of the service for the preservation of the boats, &c., and to endeavor not only to keep the work open, but also to go on with the removal of raft, &c., until the action of the ensuing Congress could be known, a total suspension of the work being considered almost fatal to its successful completion. Accordingly, the steamer Gopher was laid up at Coshatta; the officers, (with the exception of the mate and watchman,) together with all the white laborers, were discharged; and the black force sent into camp, to be employed in working the machine boat, under charge of the mate of the Gopher, in storing raft and removing obstructions in the bayou. The water is now nearly low enough for resuming operations on the stumps in the lower part of the bayou
and in Shift Tail lake, and with an ordinary summer stage I am in hopes of completing their removal.
The present state of the work is briefly as follows: Upwards of three miles of old raft having been removed from Red river and stowed in Dooley's bayou and the small lakes, the route is open, though not completed, from Shreveport to Coshatta Bluff, on Red river, and might be navigated to the upper river were the mile of new raft removed. A cut has been partially made in Dutch John's lake, above the head of this new raft, both for the purpose of stowing raft, and of avoiding that portion of the river at which this new raft has lodged. An outlet into the river above Coshatta and below this raft will not only allow the river to pass through the lake, but will give a receptacle for the stowage of several years' run of timber. The route through Dooley's bayou, the lakes, and Twelve Mile bayou, to Shreveport, although susceptible of navigation, requires much labor to render it safe. A portion thereof, where it crosses Shift Tail lake, and the pass into the head of Soda lake, will need some dredging. A light draught dredge boat will be required for this purpose, and an estimate for the construction thereof will be submitted in connexion with the usual annual estimate.
Notwithstanding the representations of interested persons in favor of other routes, I am still of the opinion, all things considered, that the one adopted is the most favorable of all, and feel sanguine of the success of this improvement, provided the desired appropriation be made by Congress at an early date. The quantity of water passing through the new channel is constantly increasing; the bayou is widening, and already is larger and deeper than that portion of old Red river between the raft and Shreveport. The only evil I fear is delay in passing the appropriation. Every year's postponement causes an increase in the final cost of the work, not only from the accumulation of new raft, but also from the deterioration of boats, tools, and rigging. In submitting the required estimate, an increase of the amount called for in my last annual report will be necessary to cover these contingencies.
Estimate for the fiscal year, commencing July 1, 1858, and ending June
Amount required as per annual report of Sept. 1, 1856 $75,000 00
Preparing additional receptacle for new raft.....
Removing raft accumulated since last report..
Deterioration of tools, rigging, &c..
Construction of light draught dredge-boat, with scows, &c..........