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gigantic red wood abounds there in all its magnificence, always affording to the hardy settler the readiest and most lasting material for neat and appropriate buildings. The fibre of this wood is so straight, and so easily separated, that it is split with comparatively little trouble into all the different forms requisite for an unpretending dwelling in a new country. The depredations of the Indians in that quarter have been, I am sorry to say, a serious drawback to their farming operations; so much so, indeed, that most of them have been compelled to leave their all and go into the town for protection..

On the 10th July we left Trinidad with a fair wind, and in a few hours were at anchor in Humboldt bay. We were employed about four weeks in making the survey of that place. Finding it much better in every respect than it had been represented, I gave it more care and made a closer examination than an ordinary reconnaissance required.

auch so, indeesay, a serious of the Indinpretendine little trouble

d, that mostus drawback to thin that quarterbai

This body of water partakes more of the character of a lagoon than an ordinary bay. It is sixteen miles long, and from one to five broad. It is broadest at either extremity, where it is but a great grassy flat, washed with about one foot of water, (when the tide is out, and broken here and there by navigable sluices. The entrance is practicable, except in very bad weather, when the sea breaks entirely across it. There are twenty-one feet on the bar at low water, and the ordinary strength of the tide does not exceed two kinots. Under unfavorable circumstances, at low water, and with a very light breeze blowing directly in the channel, this schooner went to sea without difficulty. The two sea walls, or narrow necks of land, which so nearly shut out the sea, are covered with sand-hills, ranging from ten to forty and fifty feet in height. On the north spit I have marked the place where I think the light-house should be located. It is the nearest point to the entrance, and is, therefore, less liable to be obscured by fog; and with a beacon farther back, the two would form the best range to pass between the north and south breakers--not that it should be attempted at night, unless under the most favorable circumstances. As Humboldt is rather out of the way of vessels passing up and down the coast, I have thought that a light of the second or third class would answer all purposes required at that point, and be sufficiently large for vessels bound in to maintain their position during the night. The country is hilly, almost mountainous, in the vicinity of Humboldt. The fir and the red wood predominate in the forests, and I am informed that the land possesses every requisite for farming purposes. The cattle luxuriate the year round in green grass and the tallest clover I ever saw. The temperature is very equable; they have a slight frost in the fall, and the winter only differs from the summer in being more pleasant. Elk and deer are found in abundance, and many varieties of wild fowl frequent the bay. There are no less than four villages or settlements on the bay. Humboldt, at the entrance, has thirteen houses; Eureka as many. Bucksport is just taking a start, and its location is thought to be superior to all the others, from the fact that it has better water and more room for commercial purposes. Union town is the largest, having about one hundred houses. It is located in the north end of the bay. Its proximity to the mines is the only advantage it has over the others

while the difficulty of transporting supplies from the depot at Eureka seems to be almost an insurmountable objection to its ever becoming a place of much importance. Everything has to be carried in small boats up a very narrow sluice, and that only at high water, while the nearest point of water communication is a mile from the town. A road can be cut from either of the other towns to communicate with the one from Union to the mines, with but little expense or trouble. I am, sir, very truly and respectfully, yours, &c.,

JAMES ALDEN, Lieut. Com'g. U. 8. N., and Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,

Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey.


Letter of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the

Treasury, transmitting the report of R. D. Cutts, esq., assistant in the coast survey, with sketches of his survey of Fort Point, at the entrance to San Francisco bay, and of Alcatraz, or Bird island, within the bay, proposed as sites for light-houses.


February 13, 1851. SIR: I have the honor to transmit a report by Assistant R. D. Cutts, of the Coast Survey, with sketches of his survey of Fort Point, at the entrance to San Francisco bay, and of Alcatraz, or Bird island, within the bay, proposed as sites for light-houses in the bill passed at the last session of Congress. The complete drawings which Mr. Cutts forwarded by Adams & Co.'s express have not come to hand, but the report and sketches of the sites, with a tracing from the chart of the bay, which shows the relative positions of the points, will supply the information essential to the action of the department. When the complete drawings are received, I will replace these and sketches by copies of them.*

I have examined, and confirm, the recommendations made by Mr. Cutts in his report; nor have any facts come to my knowledge from inquiries made of Lieutenant Patterson, United States navy, formerly attached to the Coast Survey, who has commanded the mail-steamer Oregon, plying on the western coast, of Lieutenant Bartlett, recently engaged in the hydrography of the western coast, and of Passed Midshipman McLane, second officer of the mail-steamer “Panama," and recently attached to the Coast Survey, to indicate that the location already adopted for lights at the entrance of San Francisco bay (the South Farrallone, Fort Point, and Alcatraz island) should be altered.

I respectfully recommend for the light on Fort Point one of the sec

* The drawings were subsequently sent in.

ond order, (French system,) or its equivalent; and for the one on Alcatraz island one of the fourth order, or its equivalent. Very respectfully, yours,


Superintendent U. 8. Coast Survey. Hon. Thos. CORWIN,

Secretary of the Treasury.

Dear SiRight-house surveys, I have to reppaz island


December 27, 1850. DEAR SIR: In conformity with your instructions of October 5, directing that light-house surveys should be my first and immediate duty upon arriving at San Francisco, I have to report that I have made the necessary examinations and surveys of Alcatraz island and Fort Point, in the Bay of San Francisco, the results of which, and sketches on a scale of Tobno, are herewith forwarded...

The magnetic course of Alcatraz island from Fort Point is N. 53 E., say NE., by E. which is the best range for crossing the bar and for passing between Points Lobos and Boucta. The Farrallones are visible from Alcatraz. The three localities, therefore, appear to be well selected; and when the lights are erected, every desirable object will be accomplished.

Alcatraz, or Bird island, is a large rock, rising to an elevation of one hundred and thirty-five feet above high-water mark. Its greatest length and breadth are one thousand six hundred and seventy-three, and five hundred and ninety feet, respectively. The summit is rounded, and has a thin layer of soil, the rock itself being soft, friable, and easily excavated; deep water-marks all around the island, and, with the exception of at two or three particular places, the sides are so precipitous that a landing can be with difficulty effected.

Fort Point is sixteen thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight feet, or three miles three hundred and nineteen yards, from Alcatraz island, and commands a full view of the entrance to the bay. The proposed site for the light-house is on an elevated and prominent point, (one hundred and seven feet above high-water mark,) and which was formerly occupied as a Mexican fort.

The sites for light-houses are marked on the sketches by a circle in red ink.

Fort Point belongs by reservation to the United States. Alcatraz is claimed by purchase from Mexican grants by Col. J. C. Frémont.

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I am, &c., yours, truly,


Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE, • Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey.


Report of A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey,

to the Secretary of the Treasury, correcting important errors in the position of the Farrallones and Point Lobos, entrance to San Francisco Bay.


Washington, April 24, 1851. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report from R. D. Cutts, esq., assistant United States coast survey, correcting important errors in previous reports as to the position of the Farrallones and Point Lobos, entrance to San Francisco bay, which I respectfully request authority to publish. These corrections are the results of a trigono metrical survey.

Very respectfully, yours,


Superintendent United States Coast Survey. W. L. HODGE, Esq.,

Acting Secretary of the Treasury.


San Francisco Bay, February 28, 1851. Dear Sir: Under the head of the “ Farrallones,” in the sailing directions for the western coast, it is stated that

“The southeast inlet is the largest of the group, and is distant from the fort, at the mouth of the harbor, twenty-eight miles, and bears from fort S. 68° W., time.

In the next edition of these directions the distance may be stated at 29.9 miles, and the true course from fort S. 75° 12' W.

Adopting for the starting point the latitude and longitude of Fort Point, as given by Lieutenant McArthur in the published “tables,” the latitude of the South Farrallone becomes 37° 41 37", instead of 372 36' 30"; and the longitude of Point Lobos (the most western extremity) 122° 29' 47", instead of 122° 27' 30'. Very truly, yours,

R. D. CUTTS. Prof. A. D. BACHE,

Superintendent U.S. Coast Survey.


Report of Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett, United States navy, assistant

in the coast survey, to the Superintendent, on the general character of the coast of California.

WASHINGTON, January 6, 1851. SIR : In answer to your several inquiries of the 31st ultimo, I have the honor to state, that the general character and configuration of the coast of California exhibit bold precipitous cliffs, variable in height, occasionally interrupted by sand and shingle beaches. In some places the shore-line, even where faced by cliffs, is also a flat sand-beach, but in such cases narrow, and entirely washed by a full tide.

On all parts of the coast vessels may approach within a very short distance of the beach, without encountering any dangers not visible to the eye, except that of being hove upon the beach by the swell, if the failing of the wind should leave the vessel becalmed.

The hill-tops are generally rolling, but at times present long ranges of slightly inclined plains, or tables, partially covered with gigantic redwood timber. Wid oats and rich grasses, are abundant on all the hills and forest opening of the coast range. .

The islands which lie off the coast between Cape Conception and San Diego are not yet determined in position, with any very close approach to accuracy. They are large and conspicuous objects to the navigation in clear weather, but require more thorough examination and determination. They are as follow : Santa Rosa, or Miguel, San Bernardo, Santa Cruz, Saint Nicholas, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, San Clemente, or Salvador, San Juan, and the Coronados isles.

Several of these islands have islets in their vicinity, and there are reefs and detached rocks reported in several places within their range.

Whether these reefs and islets are the same, being variously placed by navigators assigning them erroneous positions on the crude charts of that coast, which have been in general use by the coasters, or whether they are more numerous and dangerous than they appear on the general charts of the latest publications, is yet to be ascertained.

There is no part of the coast of the United States that requires an immediate and thorough examination with all the means at the command of the coast survey more than that part included between Monterey and San Diego. :

Our late reconnaissance to the northward shows how indeterminate

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