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various roads of the North and West. The entrance is defended by Fort Macon, a work of the same class as Fort Carroll.
There are several inlets for vessels drawing six and seven feet of water to the interior sounds, viz. : Bogue Inlet, with eight feet on the bar; New Topsail Inlet, with ten feet on the bar, and Deep Inlet, with seven feet on the bar, all of which are unimportant, as they lead to no ports of entry or rail-road towns. A vessel stationed at the entrance to Beaufort, by looking down the coast occasionally, could effectually guard these minor straits.
It is proper to state that in giving the depth of water, when the extreme highest figure is used, it indicates the depth only at a special point. The average depth will be found nearer the lower figure employed. With this explanation, we proceed to
III. Wilmington.—The next harbor of importance is that of Wilmington, North Carolina, on Cape Fear River.
This port has a single channel with two inlets, fifteen miles in length, rather tortuous and narrow in places, with a depth of seven and a half feet to eight on the bars in low water, which could be easily blockaded by two vessels. Wilmington is connected by rail-road with the interior, and is thus important as a commercial entrepôt. Near the mouth of Cape Fear River are Forts Johnson and Caswell, recently seized by the secessionists. Fort Johnson is rather a collection of barracks, with a blockhouse, than a fort. Fort Caswell is a third-class work.
SOUTH CAROLINA. IV. Georgetown.—The next accessible harbor is that of Georgetown, South Carolina, seventy-two miles southwest from Cape Fear, having a single winding channel, ten miles in length, running among shoals. The depth of channel varies from seven feet to thirty. The Pedee River connects Georgetown with the interior, being navigable as far as Conwayboro, by brigs. The blockade of the entrance to this harbor would be easy. Further down the coast empties the Santee River, whose mouth is obstructed by shoals, on which the depth of water is only from two to two and a quarter feet.
V. Bull's Bay.—This is a good harbor of refuge from southeast winds, and very accessible. The depth on the bar at mean low water is thirteen feet, and the anchorage is good in twenty-one feet, inside. Capers' and Dewees' Inlets, below Bull's Bay, admit vessels drawing six feet water.
VI. Charleston.—The harbor of Charleston has six entrances, which, beginning with the one furthest north, are in order: Maffitt's, or the Sullivan's Island Channel, with eleven feet; the North Channel, with eight feet; the Swash, with nine feet; the Overall Channel, which is not now used; the main Ship Channel, with eleven feet; and Lawford Channel, which gives eleven feet at mean low water. The entrance by North Channel is extremely precarious to vessels drawing seven feet of water, and impassable at low tides to any other. Swash Channel varies in depth from seven to ten feet. Maffitt's Channel is narrow at the bulkhead near Fort Moultrie jettee. The entrances to Charleston are such that a single vessel could easily blockade the harbor, without being molested from possible fortifications on shore. Charleston is connected with the interior by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, and by two rail-roads that join the national net-work. The entrance to Charleston is perfectly protected by Forts Moultrie and Sumter, the latter on a shoal near the channel. There are also military works on Morris Island and Cumming's Point. The city, lying at the confluence of two rivers and surrounded by low rice marshes, is difficult of approach. There is an approach through Elliott's Cut, from Stone River. North Edisto River, between Charleston and St. Helena Sound, has nine feet of water on its bar at mean low tide. This and the Stono and South Edisto River entrances are good harbors of refuge from northeast winds for vessels of light draft.
VII. Beaufort.--- Following the coast downward, the next seaport of any importance is Beaufort, South Carolina. This place, situated on St. Helena Island, is accessible by two inlets, viz., the south channel of St. Helena Sound, in depth seventeen feet; the second inlet, of twenty feet, being the southeast channel of Port Royal entrance. Beaufort River has an average depth of sixteen feet at low water, to a point within two miles of the city, and nearly fifteen up to Beaufort. The entrance to this port is easier than that of Charleston, but as there are no railroad or river communications with the interior, the importance of the place as a port of entry is limited.
GEORGIA. VIII. Savannah.—The city of Savannah furnishes the next accessible harbor, to which there is a single entrance, with a depth of water of eleven feet at mean low water on the bar. At high water, vessels drawing fifteen feet can reach the city, and those drawing eighteen feet, can anchor within two miles of the city. Savannah is one of the most important southern Atlantic cities, having connection with the interior both by lines of railway and the Savannah River. The city is entirely surrounded by rice swamps; would be difficult of approach by land, and the entrance by sea is effectually guarded by Fort Pulaski, on Cockspur Island, under whose guns all vessels have to pass in entering. Fort Jackson is three miles below the city. Wassaw, not far from Savannah, is reached by an intricate entrance, with ten feet of water on the bar. The place has no connections nor importance, except its proximity to Savannah., Ossabaw Inlet, off the mouth of the Ogeechee River, has a depth of fourteen feet on the bar. St. Catharine's Channel has eight and half feet on the bar, and is not more than two hundred yards wide. Sapelo Inlet has from eighteen to twenty feet of water. These three channels lead to Sunbury and other insignificant places on the sounds, not connected by rail-road or navigable rivers with the interior. Darien, on the Altamalia River, has a single inlet, with thirteen feet on the bar, called Doboy Inlet. The place has no rail-road or other commercial connection with the inland towns.
IX. Brunswick.—The entrance to the harbor of Brunswick is. by St. Simon's Inlet and Sound, which has a depth of seventeen feet at mean low water. The channel of Turtle River, leading from St. Símon Sound, has twenty-one feet of water up to the town. Brunswick has a rail-road partly finished, which is intended to connect it with the great national roads. At present it could not be made an important port of entry.
FLORIDA. X. Fernandina.—The first important seaport after leaving Savannah is Fernandina, near the entrance of St. Mary's River, the boundary between Georgia and Florida. The entrance is by a channel between Cumberland and Amelia Islands, with fourteen feet of water on the bar. Fernandina is connected by a railway, one hundred and thirty-five miles in length, running across the State, with Cedar Keys, on the Gulf of Mexico, and is thus an important commercial point. It was proposed to make this road part of a great communication between New-York and NewOrleans.
XI. St. John's River.—The St. John's River is a broad arm of the sea, extending almost parallel with the coast for a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, affected by the tide almost to its source. There is a depth of seven feet at mean low water on the bar. The channel up to Jacksonville affords about twenty-three feet of water. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the navigation of most of those inlets, as the bars are constantly shifting. Ossabaw and St. Simon's, Georgia, have been tolerably constant in depth, and the channel of Sapelo quite so, the changes being favorable in depth and position. A single vessel could effectually blockade the St. John's River. On this river is Jacksonville, which is about twenty-seven miles from the bar at the entrance of the St. John's.
XII. St. Augustine.—The last place of any importance on the Atlantic coast of the Southern States is St. Augustine. The entrance to this harbor is by two inlets, with only five to six feet of water on the bar at low tide. The harbor is commanded by Fort Marion, an old Spanish work, which has been recently renovated. The commercial facilities of St. Augustine are limited, and the place is of small importance as a port of entry. Southward from St. Augustine there is a stretch of seventy miles of shoal and sand-bar before another inlet opens a passage for ships of even the lightest draft. This inlet has less than five feet of water at low tide, eight in high water, and leads only to a few small fishing towns.
Indian River Inlet, one hundred and ten miles to the southward, has a channel of barely three feet water, leading to Fort Pierce and Fort Capron, established during the Indian wars.
XIII.—Key West.—Key West is a harbor on the island of that name at the southern extremity of Florida. A well-constructed fort (Fort Taylor) guards the town and various entrances, which is in the hands of the United States government, rendered safe by recent reinforcements and supplies. It is of great importance as a naval station and strategic point, being one of the keys to the Gulf of Mexico.
XIV. Fort Jefferson.—West of Key West lie the Tortugas Islands, at the largest of which is Tortugas harbor, guarded by Fort Jetferson. This fortification, recently garrisoned and fully provisioned, may be considered safe for almost any contingency. The harbor is a valuable strategic point, as, together with Key West, it commands the entrances to the Gulf of Mexico. On the Gulf coast of Florida, coasting northward, there are a few shallow and unimportant inlets leading to small fishing towns, surrounded by wilderness. The harbors thus opened up are valuable only as affording safe anchorage in a storm. Among these are Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay. Boca Grande is the proper entrance to Char
lotte harbor. The bar is five miles west of the entrance, and has ten to twelve feet of water.
XV. Tampa Bay.—The south entrance of Tampa Bay has a depth of nineteen feet, and the north entrance a depth of seventeen feet at mean low water.
XVI. Cedar Keys.—The first port on the Gulf coast, of commercial value, is Cedar Keys, situated ten miles south of the debouchment of the Suwanee River. This is one of the termini of a rail-road which crosses Florida, connecting with roads north and west. The entrances to Cedar Keys harbor are narrow; the best has a depth of only eleven feet over the bar. The bar of the Suwanee River, ten miles above, has but five feet of water.
XVII. St. Mark's.-One hundred miles up the coast, after turning to the west, St. Mark's is reached, a town commercially important on account of its connection by rail-road at Tallahassee, both with the northern and western interior. St. Mark's harbor is connected with Appalachee Bay by a single narrow entrance, eight miles in length, with nine feet of water on the bar, but only seven up to Fort St. Mark's. The blockade of St. Mark's by a single vessel of moderate size would be easy.
XVIII. St. George's Sound.-Fifty-five miles to the westward is Apalachicola, a small town at the mouth of Apalachicola River, on the bay of the same name. This river admits vessels drawing six feet of water. Those vessels drawing seven and a half feet only can approach near the town. The entrances to the bay and harbor are such that a single vessel could blockade it, if such a blockade were considered necessary.
As the town is cut off from the interior by long reaches of dense swamp, through which a straggling post road is kept up, it will be considered of no importance. Next in value to Pensacola, as a capacious and safe harbor, is the Bay of St. Joseph. It is nearly land-locked, and has an anchorage depth of twenty-five to thirty-three feet, its entrance measuring seventeen feet of water on the bar. There is an unimportant fishing town called St. Joseph on this bay, and a tolerable road from it to Apalachicola.
The Bay of St. Andrew's, the next harbor on the coast, though a shelter for ships in bad weather, has only one small town upon its shores. Equally a wilderness is the country about St. Rosa Bay, which has a narrow entrance, with but six feet of water on the bar. Connecting this bay with the Bay of Pensacola, is St. Rosa Sound, navigable only for vessels drawing less than four feet of water.
XIX. Pensacola.-One of the most important points, in many respects, upon the Gulf, is Pensacola, the next approachable harbor to the West. Rail-roads connect it with Montgomery, the capital of the State of Alabama, at which point it is connected with the great net-work of national roads. The location near Pensacola of a United States navy yard adds to its importance. The Bay of Pensacola, on which the town lies, affords the finest harbor on the Gulf. The water on the bar at the entrance measures twenty-two feet; within the bay it is still deeper, but the depth is only twenty-one feet off the wharves of Pensacola.“ Santa Rosa Island, nearly forty miles in length, throws its western extremity across the mouth of the bay, leaving a single entrance one and a quarter miles wide. Near the extreme western end of the island is Fort Pickens, so
situated that the entrance channel sweeps around it in a semi-circle; and vessels entering are exposed in turn to the fire from three sides of the fort, within a range of less than a mile. Santa Rosa Island is scarcely a quarter of a mile wide at its broadest portion, and so low that heavy seas sometimes break entirely across some parts of it. Opposite Fort Pickens, on the main land, is Fort McRae, and a little to the south of the latter is the water battery. The Warrington Navy Yard and Fort Barrancas lie on a point of the main land within the bay, about one and two-thirds miles from Pickens. Fort Pickens can alone maintain a blockade of Pensacola, so long as it remains in the hands of the United States government.
A short distance west from Pensacola is Perdido Bay, with a bar on which lies but four feet of water.
ALABAMA. XX. Mobile.—Forty miles west from Pensacola, on a bay of the same name, lies Mobile entrance, the second place of entry on the Gulf after New-Orleans. Two rail-roads connect it with the great national routes. The Mobile River and its branches, the Tombigbee and Alabama, navigable for steamboats several hundred miles, also make important connections with the interior. The population of Mobile is twenty-five thousand ; its business wholly commercial. The entrance to the bay lies between Sand Island, on which the light-house stands, and a shoal making off from Mobile Point, a long narrow spit projecting from the main land, nearly fifteen miles in length. On the bar of the deepest channel the water lies twenty feet in depth. Fort Morgan guards the entrance, a fortification on Mobile Point, and all heavy draft vessels have to pass immediately under its guns in entering the bay. This fort is in the hands of the secessionists. The vessels blockading this port will experience some difficulty in finding safe anchorage during heavy weather, as the fort will prevent their using the bay as a refuge. The pass between Petit Bois and Horn Island, having sixteen feet, is the nearest refuge from southeast or southwest gales.
From Mobile Bay, westward, a line of low sand islands lies parallel to the coast, forming Mississippi Sound, which is navigable for coasters drawing six feet of water. Through this sound considerable trade is carried on with New-Orleans, by way of Bayou St. Jean and Lake Pontchartrain. The sound communicates with Mobile through a narrow channel of five feet at low water, called Grant's Pass. There are several connections between Mississippi Sound and the Gulf, viz. : between Dauphine and Petit Bois Islands, between Petit Bois and Horn Islands, and beyond Horn Island. The coast communication between New-Orleans and Mobile could be cut off by a small cutter, cruising between Horn Island and Chandeleur Reef, a distance of thirteen miles, cutting off at the same time the communication of New-Orleans with the Gulf, through Lake Pontchartrain. The latter body of water is navigated by vessels drawing seven feet of water. Cat and Ship Islands have good harbors, the first at its northeast end and the last at the northwest end. Their channels afford, respectively, seventeen and nineteen feet.