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have been previous authorities, and how very much superior it is to previously conceived notions.
To the southward and eastward of Point Conception the islands of San Bernardo, San Miguel, and Santa Cruz form the western border of the Santa Barbara channel or sound. This is the route of the coasting trade and Pacific mail steamships generally.
The light-house proposed to be erected on Cape Conception will be of great benefit to this trade.
În consequence of fogs and haze, the cape (which is bold, and clear of danger) must be made, in order to shape a course with certainty through the channel or sound of Santa Barbara.
The island of San Bernardo lies nearly due south of Cape Conception, distant 30 miles, “San Miguel" 33 miles SE., (compass,) and “Santa Cruz" 33 miles ESE., and eleven miles south of the anchorage of Santa Barbara.
The coast is clear of dangers, both on the main land and the eastern shores of the island. Navigators prefer to take the channel, in consequence of reported reefs and shoals, to the westward of San Miguel and north of San Nicholas. There is no doubt such do exist, and are as yet very uncertain in position.
The light-house for Cape Conception should be as near the shore as possible, having regard to height, for sea view. This light should be seen ten or eleven leagues, and be of the first class.
A position can be had for Conception light which will not require a tower higher than those on Navesink.
Beginning with the light at the Farrallone, off San Francisco, as a fixed light, I would recommend the following order to the southward: Monterey a revolving light. Cape Conception a fixed " San Diego a revolving"
As the above will all be main sea-lights, they should be of the first class.
All other lights which the future wants of commerce may require in this district will only be secondary or local lights. Respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
WASHINGTON A. BARTLETT,
Licutenant U. S. Navy, and Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey.
APPENDIX No. 49. Letter of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the
Treasury, communicating a letter from Lieut. W. A. Bartlett, U. S. N., assistant in coast survey, relating to the commerce of the Columbia River.
Coast SURVEY OFFICE,
February 26, 1851. Sir: I have the honor to send herewith a letter from Lieut. Wash'n A. Bartlett, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey, enclosing a
list of vessels which have crossed the bar of the Columbia river during the year 1850. I respectfully request that it may be communicated to the Committees on Finance and Commerce of the Senate, and Committee on Commerce of the House of Representatives. Yours, very respectfully,
A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent Coast Surrey. Hon. Thos. CorWIN,
Secretary of the Treasury. .
NATIONAL HOTEL, WASHINGTON,
February 24, 1851. Dear Sir: I herewith enclose a list of vessels which have crossed the bar of the Columbia river, Oregon Territory, during the year 1850. I received it this evening direct from the United States collector at Astoria.
By this list you will perceive that while the large number of 160 sail-of ships, barques, brigs, and steamers—have safely crossed the bar of the Columbia river during the year, no less than one hundred and forty-four sail have entered and departed by the new south channel, which was surveyed by the late Lieutenant Commanding W. P. McArthur, U. S. N., and myself, under your direction, the past season; the chart of which is now being engraved.
This list of vessels embraces a fleet of over eighty thousand tons burden, which in one year have entered and cleared at the customhouse at Astoria, without a solitary accident or loss of one dollar to owners or insurers by the passage of the bar.
It is very doubtful whether the commercial statistics of any other port of equal commerce can show such an exhibit.
Of the sixteen passages made through the old north channel, all but three were made by steam vessels, which fact has fully demonstrated two things: first, that the prediction long since made, that steam would certainly and safely open the navigation of the Columbia, and, secondly, that our reports of the past summer, that the south channel is the practical commercial channel of the river, are fully established to be correct by the showing of the pilots; they having taken one hundred and forty sail of sailing vessels through the south channel, while only four have passed through the north channel.
Since the publication of our sailing directions in June last, ten sailing vessels have passed through the south channel without a pilot!
The pilots have taken 174 feet draught over the bar of the south channel.
In view of these facts, and my experience of the wants of the usual aids to commerce on this river, I have been addressed by a large number of the ship-masters and owners of vessels trading into the Columbia, to urge upon the proper departments of the government the necessity of hastening the work of building the light-houses, and placing the buoys, already provided by act of Congress.
Also, that the growing commerce of the port of Astoria denands en
immediate appropriation for a custom-house at that point, in order that the public business may be properly transacted. I have the honor, therefore, to request that copies of this communication be transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate.
In this connexion I may also mention that I was this day informed by Mr. Preston, surveyor general for Oregon, that in consequence of the publication of my report, made to you in June last, of the safety of the south channel of the Columbia, the insurance companies of St. Louis at once took risks for the river, at the same as for San Francisco. This is the direct influence of correct hydrographical information. Sir, I have the honor to be, with high respect, your obedient servant,
WASH'N A. BARTLETT,
Lieut. Com'g U. S. N., and Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,
Superintendent Coast Survey.
APPENDIX No. 50.
Letter of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the
Treasury, communicating information relating to Trinidad, Humboldt, and
September 29, 1851. DEAR Sir: The following information in regard to Humboldt harbor, Trinidad bay, and San Diego harbor and its approaches, has been received from Lieutenant Commanding James Alden, United States navy, Assistant R. D. Cutts, and Sub-Assistant A. M. Harrison. I would respectfully request authority for its publication.
Trinidad and Humboldt bays have been surveyed, and the charts will be ready to forward by the first proximo. The first-named is a very convenient and safe anchorage during six months in the year, and will be found by vessels that have suffered from the strong head (northerly) winds that prevail along the coast, a comfortable harbor of refuge.
Humboldt bay is, I think, the third harbor on this coast; it is sixteen miles long, and from three-quarters to four or five miles wide. The entrance between the breakers is nearly straight, but rather along the coast; it is about a mile long, and two hundred metres wide, between the eighteen-feet curves on either side, with twenty-one feet at low water on the bar. It is perfectly accessible, except in very heavy weather, when, I am informed, the sea breaks entirely across the entrance; but we had.no trouble in getting in, and beat out against a very light air, with little or no tide in our favor. We have made a very careful examination of it.
San Diego bay.-From the perfect shelter it affords from all winds, and the depth of its water, San Diego bay is considered, next to San Francisco, the best on this coast. That such a large volume of water should have such a small outlet is somewhat remarkable, as is also the very singular natural breakwater, Ballast point.
The Port La Playa is situated on the western shore of the bay, about one mile and three-quarters from the entrance. The anchorage is in between nine and ten fathoms. The custom-house is placed here, and it is also the place where the mail-steamers stop. An excellent road leads from La Playa to Old San Diego, which is a small town of a few adobe houses and unapproachable by water, even in boats.
New San Diego, now about a year old, is situated on a plain, at the base of the hills, on the east side of the bay. It consists of a few American-built houses, and a large storehouse for the quartermaster's department. The United States military depot is established there. A channel runs in a curve from La Playa to New San Diego, and vessels can carry from six to seven fathoms water. Both New San Diego and La Playa are dependent upon the river at Old San Diego for their water. Between the above-named channel and Old San Diego are large flats, mostly covered with grass, and partly bare at low tide.
The most important subject, however, connected with the bay, is the effect of the debouchement of the San Diego river-bringing with it, when high, (in the rainy season,) great quantities of sand directly into the channel.
It is believed, and apparently with reason, that unless the course of the river be changed, the channel will be ultimately filled, which will have the effect, I think, of not only cutting off communication with New Town, but also of destroying the bay entirely as a harbor; for it appears that nothing keeps the bay open but the great amount of water flowing in and out at the narrow entrance; and, when the channel is closed, the greater part of the bay is cut off, leaving an insufficient amount to keep the entrance clear. A bar would doubtless form across the mouth, and the bay will gradually fill up.
That the river does bring sand into the bay is asserted by the deputy collector of this place, and others who have the means of knowing; and, further, it is known that vessels at one time could anchor in False bay, but the river flowing into it destroyed it by filling it with sand; and it then turned its course into San Diego bay.
If such be the facts—and I see no reason to doubt them—the only remedy for the evil is to turn the river into False bay again. This is an excellent harbor, and its loss would be severely felt.
Respecting the tides, Mr. Gray gives the average as six feet, which is approximately correct. The pilots tell me that the tides vary in their rise and fall from nine feet (spring-tides) to three and a half during the year.
About two-thirds of the way from the Playa to the end of Ballast point is a shoal, having nine feet of water at low tide, but lately discovered.
Sailing directions for San Diego.—Vessels in sight of the coast, and approaching San Diego from the north, will observe an opening in the hills, and the appearance of an inland bay. This is the “False port," and must be avoided. Immediately north of "False port” commences a table land, about four hundred and fifty feet high, and extending southwardly six or seven miles. The extremity of this table-land is called Point Loma, and forms the entrance to the harbor of San Diego. Those bound from the southward will first sight the group of high, rocky islets, called “ Los Coronados." From thence to Point Loma the course is N. 4 E., and the distance fifteen nautical miles. On a clear day “Los Coronados" will serve as a landmark and guide for vessels coming from any direction.
Steer right through the kelp, giving Point Loma a berth of one-half mile, and in a few ininutes you will open Ballast point, a low beach of shingle stones forming a natural breakwater. Then round up gradually, until you bring Ballast point in range with the easternmost house on the Playa, and be very careful not to open more of the village; otherwise you will be too far to the east and in danger of getting aground on Zuningo shoal. The breakers show its position. During the summer keep as close to the hills, on your port side, as your draught of water will allow, as you will then be able to lay on the wind right up to Ballast point. You can carry four fathoms within a ship's length of the point. Koep on the above range, and, when up with Ballast point, steer direct for the Playa, and anchor as you please.
Inside of the breakwater, and about two hundred and fifty yards true north of its extremity, is a shoal spot, with twelve feet water at low tide. The shoals on the starboard hand are plain in sight, except at very high water.
Beyond the Playa, the shoals are easily distinguished. The channel, however, is buoyed. From the Playa to New Town-four miles distant—you can carry six fathoms of water. A mile or two beyond New Town the bay becomes shoal. Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
A. D. BACHE, Superintendent. Hon. Thos. CORWIN,
Secretary of the Treasury.
APPENDIX No. 51.
Sailing directions for entering the Columbia river as far as the harbor of
Astoria, by Lieutenant Commanding W. P. Mc Arthur, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey.
It is best, under all circumstances, to have a pilot; but should it be necessary to enter the river without one, the directions for the north channel are: First, bring Sand island in range with Point Ellice, and stand in towards Sand island, passing the south end of the north breaker. When Cape Disappointment and Leading-in cliff are in range, haul off towards the cape, keeping Leading-in cliff in range until nearly abreast the cape. Give the cape a small berth, and continue on towards Baker's bay until the second island in the bay can be seen; then keep off, and, with the second island and cape in range astern, it will pass clear of the north part of the middle sands. As soon as the soundings shoal on this course, keep off towards Sand island, and, passing close by the east end of the island, get the beacon on the island in range with a tree on Cape Disappointment, (which is trimmed up