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The light-house should be built on iron piles, well sunk beyond the sand.
From this place to the Red Fish bar there are no obstructions, the soundings being very regular, eight and nine feet.
2d, Red Fish bar.–At this place a light is of such importance that there has been one placed here by private enterprise—the trading vessels paying an annual subscription. The light stands on the key indicated in the triangulation as “Middle Pass.”
I would suggest that a light be placed on the east end of a small key, situated about two hundred and twenty metres ESE. of the present light. As you will perceive by the chart, a better range can be had for running through the channel than at present. On this bar there are at low tides 4.5 quicksand. There is better water in the channel SW. of the light-house, but the channel is so crooked and so very narrow that it is rarely used. The light-house on Red Fish bar should be on iron spikes, sunk to a good depth; and if the light has an elevation of twenty-five feet it will be quite sufficient.
The light at present there is not elevated more than eighteen feet above the water. I have made an examination of a shoal off Dollar point, on which there are three and a half feet water, and would suggest that a buoy be placed on its east side, in nine feet, which will give muddy bottom.
3d, Half-Moon shoal lies directly in the channel principally used by trading vessels and steamers; and I have found on it one foot. It is of small extent, and has a channel between it and the shore of seven feet. East of it the water is nine and ten feet, and very regular. This bank is composed of sand and shells. I would recommend that at Half-Moon shoal a small light-vessel be placed; a common bay sloop of forty tons would be sufficient. She should be coppered, as the worm is very destructive here; and her anchor should have but one fluke. She should be placed in ten-feet water, to the eastward of the shoal. The light placed at an elevation of twenty feet above the deck would be sufficient; and lights for each of these should be of the third class.
I recommend a light vessel at this shoal, as it is my belief that a light-house built here would be undermined by the current, and the sand, thus cut away, deposited in another place, thus rendering the light useless. I believe, too, that the same difficulty will be encountered in a permanent structure at Red Fish bar, where changes frequently take place, but am not prepared to say whether the substratum will give sufficient stability to the piles. I can best illustrate my meaning by calling your attention to the fact that the steamer wrecked in the channel several years ago (and the position of whose cylinder is given on the chart) was originally in five-feet water; the tides have cut away the sand to about twelve feet, all about the wreck. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. AUGS. CRAVEN, Lieutenant Commanding, Assistant U. S. Coast Surrey, Professor A. D. Bache, Superintendent United States Coast Survey,
APPENDIX No. 39.
Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey to the Sec
retary of the Treasury, recommending a light-boat and buoy at Aransas Pass, and transmitting the report of the examination, by Lieutenant Commanding T. A. M. Craven, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey.
Coast SURVEY STATION,
Mount Pleasant, Maine, July 17, 1851. SIR: I have the honor to report, in conformity with the law approved March 3, 1851, and the instructions of the department, that the examination of the necessity for a light-house at Aransas pass, Texas, has been made, and I enclose, herewith, the report of Lieutenant Commanding T. A. M. Craven, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey, the officer by whom the examination has been made, with the accompanying sketch of a reconnaissance of the locality.
It appears clearly, from this report, that the facility to navigation proposed in the appropriation bill is not “most suitable for the exigency which exists,” but that it is expedient to place a light-boat of forty tons, with a harbor-light apparatus, instead of the light-house. Such a light-boat will subserve both the general and local wants of trade and navigation, and its position can be changed to accommodate it to the changing character of the entrance. The boat can be securely moored. I therefore recommend a suitable light-boat for Aransas pass, instead of the proposed light-house.
I would respectfully call the attention of the department to the fact stated by Lieutenant Commanding Craven, that there are no buoys in Aransas pass; also his views in relation to the position of the Galveston light-boat. Very respectfully, yours,
A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent U. Stutes Coust Survey. Hon. Wm. L. HODGE,
Acting Secretary of the Treasury.
exists." opriation billeport, that the locality
UNITED STATES SCHOONER MORRIS,
Galveston Buy, June 21, 1951. SIR: By the extraordinary inclemency of the season, I have been delayed in the examination of Aransas pass (as required by your instructions of April 1) until the last week.
I now enclose you my sketch of the pass, and have to report as follows:
From the frequent and rapid changes of the bar, (which I will indicate in this report,) I am of opinion that a light-house cannot be built at this place, in a suitable location, with any certainty of its standing five years.
The point in my reconnaissance, designated as “old range,” was, in 1846, within one hundred and twenty yards of the channel, and the “range" itself was a wush. It is now three hundred and fifty metres from the beach, and upwards of half a mile from the main channel. The scapstan" was planted in 1849 for heaving off a vessel which had grounded in this channel.
The point I have marked as “E range,” was formerly a pilot's range, and fifteen months since was about fifty yards from the beach in the channel way; it is now three hundred and forty metres from the beach.
You will see from the above, that the point of St. Joseph has, for years, been making rapidly out to the southward, and as it encroaches on the channel, the opposite point of Mustang island wears away with equal rapidity. All of the point of St. Joseph, from the “old range" to the spit at the narrows, is a loose sandy flat, which has been entirely formed since 1846, and on which vegetation has commenced. I found an unusual depth of water on the bar—91 to 10 feet-which may be accounted for by the strong and continued southeast winds of this season; ordinarily there are from 7 to 8 feet. The harbor is a good one, and is a place of some little coasting trade, there being one or two settlements up the bay.
I consider it of more importance as a harbor of refuge than as one of any present commercial advantage, and am of opinion that a light is very desirable at this place. A small light-vessel of forty tons and light draught may be anchored inside the south breakers, in 21 fathoms, in good holding ground, and well sheltered from any storms, the bar forming a complete breakwater. A light of fourth class will be sufficient. The vessel should be well coppered.
I have to report that the buoys, which were placed on the bar, not having sufficient chain, have long since parted and gone adrift. There are at present no channel marks whatever.
The soundings on the sketch are expressed in feet, as there is much irregularity of bottom. I have thus guarded against mistakes.
The breakers are long spits of sand which are constantly changing with every storm, so that ranges for running in are altering every five or six months.
In connexion with this subject I have to report, that after a careful examination of the matter, I may say, confidently, that the light-ship at Galveston, in her present location, is of scarcely any use to sea-going vessels. She is anchored nearly three miles inside the bar, and knowing the approaches as well as I do, I consider it unsafe to run for it at night, because of the difficulty of seeing the light at a safe distance outside; and, in consequence, a sailing vessel not “having hold of the light,” cannot ascertain her position, and having no guide to her movements, is liable to be swept to the southward and westward by the current.
I know that it has been urged that the present location of the lightvessel is of great advantage to coasters, as being at the junction of the three channels.
The coasting trade, however, is small, and is carried on in vessels not exceeding four or five feet draught. These vessels alone, save one or two steamers of light draught, use the south channel; they could, most of them, run over any part of the shoal forming the bar without danger; the sea steamers use the main channel ; the north or cylinder channel is only used by two or three small craft trading with the Šabine, and which might safely pass anywhere over the shoals. These coasting vessels, therefore, hardly require a light, particularly where, in giving it to them, the interest of the external commerce suffers. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. AUGS. CRAVEN,
Lieut. Com., Assistant U. S. Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent U. S. Coast Surrey, Washington, D. C.
APPENDIX No. 40.
Tribute of respect to the memory of Lieutenant Commanding Wm. P. Mc
Arthur, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey.
Intelligence having reached Washington city of the death, at Panama, on the 22d December last, of Lieutenant Commanding Wm. P. McArthur, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey, the civilians and officers of the army and navy on coast survey service met at the office on Wednesday, February 8, 1851, to pay the tribute of respect due to his memory.
The meeting being called to order,
On motion of Lieutenant Chas. H. McBlair, United States navy, seconded by Lieutenant Maxwell Woodhull, United States navy, Alexander Dallas Bache, LL. D., Superintendent, was called to the chair, and Lieutenant Thornton A. Jenkins, United States navy, appointed secretary.
Professor Bache addressed the meeting as follows:
We are met here, as you all know, to pay a melancholy tribute of friendship and respect to one who was dear to us all—dear as a brother to many of us. Instead of greeting his arrival among us, as we had fondly hoped, in health—in the full flush of success-we meet to mourn over his loss from our band.
The work which he accomplished will live forever. Surrounded by circumstances the most difficult, perhaps, which ever tried the constancy, the judgment, the resources of any hydrographer, he vanquished circumstances. His reconnaissance of the western coast, from Monterey to Columbia river, and his preliminary survey there, were made in spite of desertion and even mutiny-in despite of the inadequacy of means to meet the truly extraordinary circumstances of the country. Happy that in his officers he had friends devoted to him and to their duties—especially happy in the officer next to him in the responsibilities of the work.
Prostrated by an attack of fever of a malignant type, contracted while preparing his vessel for sea, Lieutenant McArthur, nevertheless, persisted in volunteering for the charge of a hydrographic party on the western coast. A subsequent relapse did not abate his determination to enter as a pioneer upon this arduous service-trying alike to his powers of mind and body. Steady in the midst of excitement, he laid his plans in the way to command success. Seizing the peculiar wants of the hydrography of that coast, he applied all his energies to supply
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them. The gratitude of his fellow-citizens, then, is already his-the praise of the new country, the resources of which he has aided in developing. He has been called away just as his wishes were realized, ample means furnished, and the worst difficulties overcome. In his letter and report he urged strongly the necessity for enlarged appropriations, and for a steam vessel for the hydrography. The last letter from this office brought him news that both his wishes were gratified, and called him home to make the enlarged arrangements for continuing his work. The arrival of Mr. Cutts, with instructions as late as the beginning of October, confirmed the necessity of his return, and he took passage in the steamer Oregon, commanded by his friend, Lieutenant Patterson. An attack of dysentery prostrated him completely, and from this, in spite of the best medical attendance of such nursing and attendance as only the circumstances to which I referred could insurehe rallied but for a time, and sank to his final rest before he could be landed at Panama. His remains were consigned to a foreign soil, to be brought, let us hope, to his country, where all his affections centred.
He has not lived in vain. His name will ever be bright in the annals of our survey-whether in the more usual labors on the Atlantic coast, or as the pioneer on the shores of the Pacific-always advancing as life advanced—the last his crowning work.
Professor Bache having concluded his remarks, Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett, United States navy, arose and said,
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen : After the appropriate and feeling remarks of the chairman, it is unnecessary for me to add more than to say that when I left Captain McArthur on the western coast he was in excellent health and buoyant spirits, in view of what had been done, and what he hoped yet to accomplish. It was my good fortune to be long associated with him, and that association caused me to love him as a brother. I will not detain you, but offer the following resolutions for your consideration:
1. Resolved, That the civilians and officers of the army and navy engaged in the United States Coast Survey, now assembled in Washington, have received, with feelings of deep emotion, the melancholy intelligence of the death of Lieutenant Commanding Wm. P. McArthur, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey; and that, in his sudden and unexpected decease, the navy has lost one of its most gallant and accomplished officers, and the coast survey one of its most zealous and efficient laborers.
2. Resolved, That the successful reconnaissance of the western coast of the United States, from Monterey to Columbia river, and the preliminary survey of the entrance to the Columbia-accomplished under the most peculiar and extraordinary difficulties—while they are proofs of his unconquerable energy, determination and skill, have forever identified the name of Wm. P. McArthur with the progress of the republic in the West.
3. Resolved, That we most sincerely sympathize with the bereaved and afflicted family of our generous and warm-hearted friend in their irreparable loss, and commend the widow and orphans to the gratitude of the republic, to whose service the husband and father was so ardently devoted throughout his life.