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cure, should be built to the bluffs for a double track thirty feet wide on top. While at St. Louis in the spring, from the observations I then made, I concluded that the dike or pier then in progress of construction from Illinoistown to Bloody Island, contracted the river too much, and was not of sufficient elevation, not having seen it since the freshet, I am not so well able to judge if my
inferences were correct. Should a flood occur as high as that of 1844, and the rivər be contracted too much, either the pier must give way, or the buildings on the Missouri shore be severely damaged by the current. It is important for the security of the work that there be no culverts or bridges under the road bed between the end of the Pier and the Bluff, as they will certainly be washed out during extreme floods.
Owing to the embankment having to be made mostly from earth taken from the side, a ditch sufficiently wide and deep can be left on either side to drain the bottom without culverts, &c.; and Cahokia creek should also be made to enter the river above it. It is a question of calculation to determine the exact width to which the Mississippi can be safely confined, but my impressions are, that the pier built by the city and Ferry company, extends some 800 or 1000 feet too far into the river. It will be necessary for the railroad pier to extend out as far as the ferry pier, otherwise the railroad boat will de unable to land against it, as a deposit of mud will be caused by the extra projection of the other. I consider it important that a connection be made directly with the river, and see nothing to prevent it. Such an arrangement with a good boat will be found to facilitate the working of the road materially, and be also most economical as to time and expense.
I doubt not that the day is near when the Mississippi will be bridged, and the trains pass accross to the city. The numerous improvements made by Mr. C. Ellet and J. L. Roebling in suspension bridges, has made it perfectly practicable, and all that is required to carry it out successfully, is the funds ; in fact, cable suspensions are the only secure means of bridging large streams, as they require, in most cases, no obstructions to be made in the water-way. My estimate for the Wabash bridge is for such an one with a draw for steamboats. Another advantage is their safety from fire.
I would here call your attention to the track; the part of a railroad the most essential of all to be inade as perfect as possible. It is a settled question, taking everything into consideration, that the cheapest and best track is made with a heavy iron rail, laid on ties which rest on a bed of gravel, or coarse sand, of not less than 20 inches in depth; experience has shown that even these did not secure a perfect structure—for the want of connection where the two bars come together made them settle, and has stimulated the inventive genius of two eminent engineers to provide a remedy; the first is the new compound rail, manufactured by J. S. Winslow of New York; the second is the three-part rail designed by Benj. H. Latrobe, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and manufactured near Baltimore. Either of which I would recommend to your favorable consideration. Both have been tried, the former on two or three lines, and approved by all, the other, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, I believe has given every satisfaction. In my estimate for track, I have rated the iron at $50 per ton, delivered; it is a fluctuating article in price, and should you use the English iron, it can be furnished for less. You will also perceive that the item of ballast is a heavy one-see table appended to this report. It arises from the entire absence of the article excepting at two or three points, viz: The Wabash, Carlyle and Mississippi, consequently will have to be transported by the road a great distance. Appended to this report is a table showing certain levels in reference to Lake Erie and the Ohio river, which may be of value, and can be extended to the Pacific, by future surveys, and elsewhere.
There is nothing to prevent the construction of your road in from fifteen to eighteen months from commencement; no engineering will be required, further than the judicious adjustment of the line, (after the Company decides upon which to construct,) the ground and actual measurements of the quantities, which can all be done during the interval which must necessarily elapse between the order for letting and the expiration of a reasonable time for advertising for proposals.
ESTIMATE OF ONE MILE TRACK.
100 Tons T iron rails, delivered at........ $50 00 $5,000 00 2600 Ties, oak, flattened .........
30 780 00 16 Kegs( 200 H each) spikes.... 10 00 160 00 580 Joint fastenings, wrought iron..... 22 127 60 Laying track, distributing material and first leveling up......
400 00 Cost of superstructure per mile............... $6,467 60 66 high
BALLAST. 5280 lineal feet ballast, yard per foot, or 3529 yards per mile......
50 1,764 50 Levels of prominent points across Illinois in reference to level of Lake Erie and the Ohio at Cincinnati—Zero point, or Base line for levels for Ohio and Mississippi Railroads, is surface of highest flood ever known in the Ohio at Cincinnati, February 22, 1832, which point is 623 feet above low water, or 71 99-100 feet below the level of Lake Erie. Level of low water in Wabash at Vincennes, in reference to Lake Erie......
-136,91 ft. • high
-114,91 ft. Bluff east of Mississippi river which is the highest
ground passed over........ 70,00 ft. “ low water in Mississippi at St. Louis.......
108,38 ft. Lowest ground in Illinois crossed by Ohio and Mississippi road.
Wabash bottom in reference to Lake Erie...........-122 ft. Embarras River 66
-122 ft. Fox River
-118 ft. Little Wabash
-118 ft. Kaskaskia River
-114 ft. Shoal Creek
-115 ft. I may be allowed to say in conclusion, that from personal and careful examination no tract of country, on this continent, is better, if so well calculated for the kind of improvement which you contemplate, as this, none holds out greater inducement to enter in such an enterprise. It will reclaim a vast tract of fertile and, at present, waste land, and cover it with a dense population, which must enlarge immensely the business of the commercial entrepots in its vicinity. It will form a section of the road nearest an air line stretching on the same line of latitude from east to west, and it must from its position secure an amount of business and pay to its shareholders a dividend, such as in my judgment no other road on this continent will pay.
I would here take the liberty to return my thanks to Mr. G. F. Tuttle, principal assistant, Thomas Pattison, assistant, and to the other gentlemen of the party, for their exertions while prosecuting the surveys under very unpleasant circumstances.
E. GEST, Chief Engineer 0. & M. R. R.
Southern Route to the Pacific
Recent events have placed the project of a rail road from the lower Mississippi to the Pacific in a light more favorable to the interests of Missouri than we have formerly regarded it. The actual commencement of the Pacific rail road at St. Louis under auspices which seem to ensure its completion to the Western boundary of the State, appears to have awakened the people of the south-western counties to a just sense of the inconveniences under which they have heretofore labored; and they are now ardently canvassing the subject of a rail road from that region to St. Louis. And from present indications we are persuaded that the construction of a branch of the Pacific rail way to the valley of the Neosho, within a few years, may be regarded as certain.
This improvement having passed the Ozark range, the valley of the Red River, and the rich and salubrious region watered by the tributaries of the Brazos and Colorado of Texas will demand its extension until it shall have been brought into connection with the Gulf of Mexico, by as ystem of improvement which will, doubtless, in time, be estal lished in the State of Texas.
This is one branch of our system of public improvement, west of the Mississippi, which is obviously indicated by the geographical relations of the several parts of this extensive region; and its accomplishment may be looked to with as much confidence as that of any other public work that has been proposed in any part of the Union.
Keeping this important fact in view, it is evident that St. Louis will be brought into connection with a rail way which may be constructed from any given point on the lower Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. And although we do not yield our preference for the Central route, yet if that cannot be accomplished we are prepared to support the construction of a road to the Pacific through a more southern region. In the mean time let our citizens press forward with the main trunk line West, and the branch South; and if neither of these should ever reach the Pacific, those who build them will nevertheless be abundantly rewarded for their enterprise.
The recent movements in the south-western counties, in respect
to the construction of a rail road, to connect that region with St. Louis, has suggested the propriety of publishing the following extracts from the very interesting report of R. B. Marcy, Captain 5th Infantry, commanding escort from Fort Smith, on the Arkansas river to Santa Fe, in the year 1849. From Captain Marcy's report it appears, that the country between those points presents no serious obstacles to the construction of a rail way; though, for certain reasons, he seems to regard the route from Fort Smith to Dona Anna, a town on the Rio Grande a short distance above El Paso, in a more favorable light than that to Santa Fe. The following are his concluding remarks respecting the route from Fort Smith to Santa Fe:
Continuing up the ravine this morning, we struck the Indpendence road at the top of the inountain, and from here continued in it until we reached Santa Fe, about four o'clock in the evening.
The geological formation of the country changed the moment we entered the Independence road. Up to this time we had seen no primitive rocks, but now our road wound through the “canons” of the mountains, bordered by cliffs composed by huge masses of granite, until we arrived within five miles of Santa Fe; from here to the town the country is a succession of barren hills, covered in places with a growth of dwarf cedars, destitute of grass and totally unfit for cultivation.
The route we have travelled over from Fort Smith to Santa Fe, as measured with the chain, is 8194 miles; and, for so long a distance, I have never passed over a country wh re wagons could along with as much ease and facility, without the expenditure of any labor in making a road, as upon this route. Our course being altogether upon the south side of the Canadian, and generally upon the ridges dividing the tributaries of that river from those of Red river and the Washita, until we reached the grand prairie, we were not obliged to cross any large streams, and but few ravines or gullies. After passing beyond the head of the Washita we found the plains approached and continued near the Canadian; consequently all the streams flowing into it were short and small, thereby affording water sufficient for the traveller's purpose, but not presenting any obstacle to his progress.
The general course of the Canadian, along our route, is east and west; and as Santa Fe is almost due west from Fort Smith—the latitude of the former being N. 35° 44' 6", of the latter about N. 35° 20,—this makes our route very direct between the two points. The country lying between the two meridians of Fort Smith and Santa Fe is intersected by a narrow belt of timbered land, running from north of the Canadian to the southern part of Texas, varying from ten to thirty miles in width. This, bordering the great western plains, forms the boundary line between the woodlands and prairies. That portion of the country lying east of this is generally a rich and fertile soil, varied by lawns and woodlands, abounding with a multi