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cotton are in a flourishing condition. The soil contains marl, and, it is said, under the same for sixteen feet, clay. The depth of the river is considerable, but not more than five feet can be carried, under the most favorable circumstances. All shipments from here are made in flatboats, to Depot key. 5. Withlacoochee bay.—Below, to the south of the Wacassassa bay, the Withlacoochee bay begins, and forms the mouth of the river of the same name. The shores of the bay are similar to those of the Wacassassa—low, flat, marshy, intermixed with mangrove bushes, and a mile or two inland very thickly wooded. The point of land in the middle, between the two rivers, is called Mangrove Point. The whole bay is very shoal, and not more than three or four feet of water can be carried into the river. The latter has very little hammock land, and is less settled than the other rivers, perhaps on account of the difficulty of navigation. An oyster reef extends a few miles from the river's mouth into the bay. ' 6. Crystal river and bay.—From the Withlacoochee the shore runs southward, making a slight curve to the east. Five miles below is the Crystal river. The nature of the border is similar to the Wacassassa and the hammock land, equally fertile and rich. At the mouth of the river is Shell island, the channel into the river running on the north side. The island is rather elevated, being formed by two hills in saddleshapes, which make a fair landmark for navigation. From the mouth of the river, or rather from the south side of the entrance, the St. Martin's keys commence, and extend for two or three miles to the west, thence turn in an angle southward again. These keys are low and marshy, and generally thickly covered with mangroves. Outside of these is the famous and very dangerous St. Martin's reef, which runs parallel to the coast, to the southward, and extends at some points as far as ten miles to sea. It is said this reef extends to the Anclote keys, a distance, perhaps, of from fifteen to thirty-five miles, which I am inclined to believe. While I was beating up the coast, I generally ran in nine or ten feet of water on the land tack, without ever being able to see the coast. To the north of this reef, just abreast of Crystal river, is a fine anchorage, into which vessels may run for refuge, with from sixteen to twelve feet water, perfectly safe for southerly, easterly, and northerly winds. Even from westerly gales there is much protection here, the Sea-horse reef breaking much of the heavy sea. I have called this anchorage Crystal river offing, as the name St. Martin's bay is altogether inappropriate, and does not designate the place. From the offing a channel runs through the oyster reef, which encircles the mouth of Crystal river, and consequently forms a beautiful harbor. I found twelve feet at low tide through the principal gut; and, as the inlet is the only one of any consideration, I have left two large signal-poles on each side, on the oyster bars. It must be borne in mind that the tide rises here two, and frequently three feet, and that therefore, under favorable circumstances, fourteen feet can be carried in. The importance of such a harbor is very great, as it must and will become the shipping port of all the produce for the neighboring rivers, viz: the Withlacoochee, the Crystal river, the Homossassa, and the Chassahowitzka. The Homossassa is only five miles below the Crystal river, and the Chassahowitzka about ten miles; but neither has any channel through the St. Martin's reef, and their produce, which will be in a short time quite considerable, has to be shipped from the nearest harbor. The honorable Senator from Florida, Mr. Yulee, mentions, in a letter to you, the reported existence of a harbor and anchorage below the Cedar keys, with fourteen feet water, but he does not intimate the position nearer. I am certain that the harbor of Crystal river is the one he mentions, as there is no other channel to be found anywhere above.
B.—Survey of the Coast.
1. Triangulation—The country from the Suwannee river to Homossassa river is so shaped that the regular method of the Coast Survey in all branches may be employed for the survey of the same. There are facilities which may be used in laying a good-shaped triangulation with very little clearing across the islands and along the coast. With the aid of several oyster bars, which are solid and above high-water mark, the shape even may be handsome, although the nature of the flat country does not admit of very large sides. The triangles, as projected on the map, will show at once the possibility, and, with one or two exceptions, the whole series will appear well-shaped and of regular formation. The sketch shows the proportions, facilities, and difficulty of the triangulation. One of the above-mentioned exceptions is an artificial signal to be erected off the Withlacoochee river. Without making a proposition at present, I should think that one or two screw-piles for soft bottom (I say two for a double series) would answer exceedingly well. Signal-poles can be procured from either river, especially on the Wacassassa. 2. Topography—There being little or no land under cultivation near the coast, the whole being marsh and wood, the topography will be very simple. To extend the survey further into the country than the woods would be impossible, as they are impenetrable for instruments; besides, there is nothing behind them. The plantations on the river generally do not approach nearer than seven or eight miles to the shore, and therefore cannot be included in the survey. A plane-table may be used here with great success, as the off-shore reefs afford a thousand opportunities for intersecting signals. The surveying comÉ. must be employed with great care, as the coast from Mangrove oint above the Withlacoochee, all the way down, is rather rocky, and supposed to contain much local attraction. 3. Hydrography—The hydrography can be carried on with success in small vessels and boats. There is seldom any sea inside the Seahorse reef. Snake key and the Sea-horse being elevated, afford excellent points for high signals. 4. Astronomy.—Sea-horse key, being the most important key for navigators, possesses all the facilities for an astronomical station. 5. Base lines.—I have paid every attention during the investigation of the coast to find suitable sites for a base line, upon which the triangulation may be grounded, but I have been unsuccessful so far. The marsh along the shore has no stability for our apparatus; the land,
wherever it is solid, is uneven or thickly wooded. A more special
C.—Tides and Currents.
During my stay at the Cedar keys the tide was observed, on the .
wharf of Depot key, for seven days. The diagram on the map will show that it consists of a full and a neap tide nearly every twenty. four hours. The following are the results:
Mean-tide rises and falls........................ 1 foot 9s inches.
Time of rise and fall, 24 hours 40 minutes.
In the map of Cedar keys published by the Topographical Engineer corps, the average rise and fall is 2.75 feet. I . not know whether my observations were of too short a duration; but the above is what I found. On the coast outside and to the southwest of the keys, the general tendency of the current is to the southward. It is uncertain how much F. winds and storms may influence them. The pilot of the eys asserted that the currents were altogether governed by them, and that sometimes they run in quite an opposite direction.
D.—Railroad across the Peninsula of Florida.
By the survey of the officers of the United States Topographical Bureau, it appears that Way key was proposed as the terminus of the railroad on the gulf shore. How far this, in regard to the track itself, is advisable, I cannot judge; but it seems to me, certainly, by far the most desirable spot in regard to the harbor. At Way key and Depot key there is a safe anchorage; and although the channel is rather narrow, still it is sufficient for vessels of large size to turn in. Twelve feet may be carried, ordinarily. The pilot, Captain Sam. Johnson, assured me that fourteen feet can be carried, if circumstances are favorable.
The only harbor besides this is Crystal harbor; but vessels have to lie about two miles from the main land; and furthermore, the railroad itself would have to cross several rivers and marshy plains to reach
Costetication for the del for that purposbiy more opportunhis short
E.-Light-houses and Buoys. There are no lights in the neighborhood of Cedar keys; but I hear that an appropriation for one has passed in Congress, and Captain M. Coste, of the revenue service, in the cutter Crawford, has made an investigation for the special locality. I am confident that Sea-horse key has been selected for that purpose, as there is no other place near so suitable; but as I have had probably more opportunities to see the localities than the above-mentioned gentleman, during his short stay, I beg leave to remark, that on Sea-horse key the highest land is just to the southwest of an old shanty, or fish-house, which stands on the east beach of the island. By aciual measurement, by vertical angles, I found 45 feet 6 inches above high-water. As the reef from this key runs out for fifteen miles, it will be desirable to occupy the highest spot, that the light may be visible from beyond it. There ought to be a buoy placed on the point of this reef, by all means. In foggy weather the Sea-horse is invisible from there, and the reef is very difficult to distinguish, as the water outside deepens only gradually, and retains the same color. A screw-pile, (disk-screw,) with a barrel, could be inserted easily, the reef having only quicksand and a sort of coral sand.
F.—General Remarks on the Harbor of the Cedar Keys. It is obvious, by looking at the map of the western coast of the Florida peninsula, that in a severe southwest storm the navigation must be very dangerous. From Tampa Bay to St. Mark's the coast is generally shoal, and, with the exception of the Cedar keys, no harbor of refuge is to be found. At the latter place the coast forms a point, and through the position of the keys and Sea-horse reef, quite a large bay is formed, in which vessels may run with almost every wind, and find shelter at any time.
This will be still more the case when the light-house on the Seahorse key has been built, by the aid of which every part of the bay may be safely entered in dark and stormy nights. Not alluding at all to the commerce from the four or five rivers which empty, close to the keys, into the Gulf, and which is concentrated entirely at Depot key, but alone for the sake of a safe and spacious harbor in westerly gales, it is most desirable to develop all the facilities which the Cedar keys bay may afford, and to commence a regular survey at the earliest opportunity. Five large streams are, in fact, combined at the Cedar keys, and the produce to be shipped from there doubles yearly. The place will become still more important after the building of the railroad from the St. Mary's across the peninsula, and the erection of a light-house on the Sea-horse.
A survey, grounded upon a preliminary base, might be made in a short time, and it would be practicable to publish a harbor chart comparatively very soon. Respectfully submitted :
F. H. GERDES,
Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent Coast Survey.
APPENDIX No. 32.
Extracts from the report of Lieutenant Commanding John Rodgers, United
States navy, assistant in the coast survey, to the Superintendent, of a reconnaissance of Mosquito inlet. United States Coast SURVEY OFFICE,
Washington, July 19, 1851. Sir:
* This inlet is made by the Halifax and Hillsborough runs, which, at their meeting, force an outlet to the sea.
Mosquito inlet has, for a number of years, been moving to the southward. The light-house formerly erected at Mosquito was built upon a high sand-hill on the southern peninsula, about an eighth of a mile from the water. In two years it fell down, undermined by the southward movement of the inlet. The place of the light-house is now said to be about high-water mark on the north beach.
The south beach is still rapidly washing away, and the north beach extends to the southward as fast. Mr. Sheldon, collector at Mosquito, says that the barrier about half a mile to the northward of the present position of the inlet is rapidly washing away. He infers that the water will soon cut a passage there, when this new opening will become the entrance to the harbor, and the present inlet close. His opinion is the result of long observation. I have no means of forming any opinion of my own as to its correctness.
As many as thirteen small vessels have, I understand, been lying in the harbor at once, waiting for cargoes of live-oak, but none very lately. A few plantations make sugar, which is here exported. I did not learn of any other trade worth mentioning. I do not deem the commerce of Mosquito sufficient to demand the erection of a light-house.
Very respectfully, your obedient sery
Lieut. Com., Assistant U. S. Coast Survey. A. D. Bache, LL. D.,
Superintendent Coast Surrcy.
APPENDIX No. 33.
Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the
Treasury, in regard to the expediency of placing buoys in Mosquito inlet, Florida, and transmitting the report of Lieutenant Commanding John Rodgers, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey.
Coast SURVEY STATION,
Near Alfred, Maine, October 1, 1851. Sir: In pursuance of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1851, and of the instructions of the department, I have the honor to report in regard to the expediency of placing buoys in Mosquito inlet, on the