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the army attempting to defend the place; or, instead of landing in the bay, he might, at his option, land the main body guite near to Norfolk; and having possession of James river, he would prevent ihe arrival of any succor in steamboats, or otherwise, hy that channel.
There are two or three defiles on the route from Lynnhaven bay to Norfolk, caused by the interlocking of streams, that, with the aid of field works, would possess great strength; and, being occupied in succession, would undoubtedly delay, if not repulse, an enemy assailing them in front. Since the naval depôt seems fixed at Gosport, these must, indeed, be chicfly relied on for its security from land attacks; and timely attention must be given, on the breaking out of a war, to the occupying of these defiles with appropriate defences. These positions possess no value whatever, if they can be turned; and, without adequate fortifications at the outlet of Hampton roads, there would seem to be no security for Norfolk or the navy yard, except in the presence of a large military force.
On the completion of the projected defences, the circumstances will be very different. Then, those defiles must be attacked in front, because no part of the enemy's force can be landed above the mouth of the roads. But This is not all. The moment an enemy advances toward Norfolk from this point of debarcation, his communication with his fleet will be jeoparded ; because, as the defiles do not require a large body to defend them against an attack in front, the greater part of the reinforcements arriving from above, by way of the river, may be landed upon his flanks, or in his rear. An offensive land movement by the enemy, under such circumstances, could be justified only in the case of his finding an entire want of preparation, calised by the unexpected commencement of hostilities. In connexion with this disposition for defence, it may be expedient, on the opening of a war, to throw up a field work on the shore opposite the position of Fort Calhonn; which would, besides, contribute to the exclusion from the road. stead of vessels of small draught. • The above remarks show that the fortifications in progress are not less necessary to the security of the navy-yard and the city of Norfolk from a land attack, than from an attack by water; and that both these important functions are superadded to the task of defending the only good roadstead of the southern coast, and of contributing, in a very important degree, towards the desence of the Chesapeake bay.
As in the case of Narraganset roads, it has been objected to this system of defence, that, although it may shut up this anchorage, it leaves others in this region open. May we suppose, then, that if there were no other than this harbor, its defence would be justifiable? If so, it would seem that the objection rests on the principle, that, in proportion as nature has been bountiful to us, we must be niggard to ourselves; that, having little, we may cherish it; but, having much, we must throw all away.
The same criticism complains of the unreasonable magnitude of one of these works, (Fort Monroe ;) and we concede that there is justice in the criticism. But it has long been too late to remedy the evil. It may not, however, be improper to avail of this opportunity to remove from the country the professional reproach attached to this error. When the system of coast defence was about to be taken up, it was thought best, by the Government and Congress, to call from abroad a portion of that skill and science which a long course of active warfare was supposed to have supplied. Fort Monroe is one of the results of that determination. It was not easy, probably, to come down from the exaggerated scale of warfare to which Europe was then accustomed ; nor, for those who had been brought up where wars were often produced, and always magnified, by juxtapo. sition or proximity, to realize to what degree remoteness from belligerant ? nations would diminish military means and qualify military objects. Certain it is, that this experiment, costly as it was in the case of Fort Monroe, would have been much more so but for the opposition of some whose more moderate opinions had been moulded by no other circumstances than those peculiar to our own country.
The mistake is one relating to magnitude, however; not to strength. Magnitude, in fortification, is often a measure of strength; but not always, nor in this instance. Fort Monroe miglit have been as strong as it is now, against a water attack, or an assault, or a siege, with one.third its presents capacity, and perhaps at not more than half its cost. We do not thiuk this work too strong for its position, nor too heavily armed ; and as the force of the garrison will depend mainly on the extent of the armament, the error has caused an excess in the first oullay chiefly, but will not involve much useless expense after completion.
Although there is much important work to be done to complete the fort, it is even now in a state to contribute largely to the defence of the roadstead ; and there is no doubt that in a very short time all the casemated parts may be perfectly ready to receive the armament.
This work will be found in statement 1, table C; $223,367 being required to complete it.
Fort Calhoun cannot yet be carried forward, for want of stability in the foundation. The artificial mass on which it is to stand having been raised out of the water, the walls of the battery were begin some years since; but it was soon found that their weight caused considerable subsidence. On an inspection by engineer officers, it was then decided to keep the foundations loaded with more than the whole weight of the finished work, until all subsidence has ceased. The load had hardly been put on, however, before it was injudiciously determined to take it off, and begin to build, al. though the settling was still going on. Happily a better policy prevailed before the construction was resumed; but not before the very considerable expense of removing the load had been incurred, and the further expense of replacing it rendered necessary. It is hoped the whole load will be replaced early the present year. (Statement 1, table C.) Required to complete the work $416,000.
It may be expedient, in time of war, by way of providing interior barriers, to erect batteries on Craney island, at the mouth of Elizabeth river ; and to put in condition and arm old Fort Norfolk, which is just below the city.
Harbor of St. Mary's.— The central situation (as regards the Chesapeake) of this fine basin, its relation to the Potomac, its depth of water, and the facility with which it may be defended, indicate its fitness as a harbor of refuge for the commerce of the Chesapeake bay, and as an occasional, if not constant, station during war of a portion of the naval force. A survey has been made, but no project has been formed. The Engineer Deparunent, some years ago, conjectured that the cost of defences in this harbor might amount to $300,000. (Statement 1, table F.)
Annapolis harbor.—No surveys or plans of defence have been made. The existing works are inefficient and quite out of repair. A former esti.
mate, made by the Engineer Department, amounting to $250,000, is adopted here. (Statement 1, table F.)
Harbor of Baltimore.—The proximity of the city to Chesapeake bay greatly endangers the city of Baltinore. In the present state of things, an enemy in a few hours' march, after an easy landing, and without having his communication with his fleet seriously endangered, can make him. self master of that great emporium of commerce. There are required for its security two forts on the Patapsco-one at Hawkins point, and the other opposite that point, at the extreme end of the flat that runs off from Sollers poiot; these being the lowest positions at which the passage of the Patapsco can be defended. Besides the advantages that will result, of obliging the enemy to land at a greater distance-thereby gaining time, by delaying his march, for the arrival of succor, and preventing his turning the defensive positions which our troops might occupy-it will be impossible for him to endanger the city by a direct attack by water.
The present Fort McHenry, redoubt Wood, and Covington battery, should be retained as a second barrier. The first mentioned is now in good con. dition, and the repairs required for the others may be applied at the beginning of a war.
The fort on Sollers point flats, which should be first commenced, is estimated to cost $1,000,000. (Statement 1, table D.)
The fort on Hawkins point to be found in statement I, table F) will cost, it is supposed, $376,000.
Mouth of Elk river.-- The completion of the line of water communication froin the Delaware to the waters of the Chesapeake makes it proper to place a fost somewhere near the mouth of Elk river, in order to prevent an enemy from destroying, by a sudden enterprise, the works forming this ontlet of the caual. There have been no surveys made with a view to estab. lish such protection, which are estimated at $50,000. (Statement 1, table F.)
Cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandrin.-Fort Washington covers these cities from any attack by water, and will oblige an enemy to land at some eight or ten miles below Alexandria, should that city be his object, and abont twice as far below Washington. It will also serve the very important purpose of covering troops crossing from Virginia with a view to fall on the flanks of an enemy moving against the capital from the Patuxent or the Chesapeake. To put the necessary repairs on Fort Wash. ington will cost about $20,000. (See statement 1, table A.)
Cedar point, Potomac river. But all these objects would have been better fulfilled had the work been placed at Lower Cedar point. As it is, however, the contemplated works being constructed in the Patuxent, and the militia of the surrounding country in a due state of preparation, an enterprise against Washington would be a hazardous one.
As giving complete security to the towns in the District, covering more than sixty miles in length of the Potomac, and a large tract of country lying between the Potomac and the Patuxent, the work on Cedar point should not be omiited. There have been no surveys made of the ground, nor projects of the fort, which, in a conjectural estimate of the Engineer Department, was set down at $300,000. (Statement 1, table E.)
Patuzent river.— The more effectually to protect the city of Washington from a sndden attack by troops landed at the head of navigation in the Patuxent, and to provide additional shelter for vessels in the Chesapeake, a fort has been planned to occupy Point Patience, and another to occupy Thomas's point, both a short distance up the river. The work on Thomas's point is (in statement 1, table D) estimated $250,000; and the work on Point Patience, (in statement 1. table F,) estimated to cost $246,000.
It will be perceived that the system of defence for Washington contemplates, first, defending the Potomac on Cedar point, and maintaining a second barrier at Fort Washington ; second, defending the mouth of the Patuxent. This system is criticised, in the document before referred to, in a way to induce the suspicion that it was not understood.
During the last war, there was no fort in the Patuxent; and the consequence was, that the British approached by that avenue, and occupied the whole river as high as Pig point-learly fifty miles from its month, and less than twenty miles from the capital; while, in consequence of there being no forts in the Potomac, they occupied that river as high as Alexandria, inclusive; by this latter occupation, perfectly protecting the left flank of the movement, during its whole advance and retreat. Boih flanks being safe, the British had nothing to fear except from a force in front; and that this risk was not great, in the short march of less than twenty miles from his boats, was proved by the issue.
On the ninth day from that on which the fleet entered the Chesapeake, the English army was in possession of the capital, having penetrated near fisty miles beyond the point of debarcation. On the twelfth day from the time of landing, the troops were again on ship board, near the month of the river. This attack, exceedingly well conceived, and very gallantly executed, owed its success entirely to the want of defences, such as are now proposed.
Let us suppose both rivers fortified as recommended, and an enemy landed at the mouth of the Patựixent. If now he attempt this enterprise, his march will be prolonged by at least four days; that is to say, it will require more than sixteen days, during which time he will be out of com. munication with his fleet, as regards supplies and assistance.
The opposition to his invasion will begin at the landing, because our troops having now nothing to fear as tɔ their flanks, either from the Potomac or Patuxent, will dispute every foot of territory; and although he should continue to advance, it must be at a slower rate.
While he is thus pursuing his route towards Washington, the forces of Virginia will be crossing the Potomac, and concentrating at Port Tobacco, or some position between that place and Fort Washington, preparatory to falling on his flank and rear. This would seem to be conclusive; for it is difficult to conceive of troops persevering in an expedition, when every moment will not only place them farther from succor, but greatly increase their need of it. Railroads reach from near the crossing places of the Potomac to the very heart of the country south ; and a very few days would bring forward a larve force, all of which would arrive upon the rear of the enemy.
It is said, in the criticism, that, if shut out of the Patuxent, the enemy might land between the mouth of that river and Annapolis, and thence proceed against Washington. But the same dithculties lielong to this pro. ject, and a new difficulty is added. The Virginia forces arrive, as before, and assail his flank, eithos between the Potomac and Patuxent, or between the Patuxent and the Chesapeake; and there is, besides, the Patuxent for the enemy to cross, both in going and returning-itself a formidable military obstacle.
It is said, also, that the landing may be made in the Potomac; but this only proves that the system animadverted on had not been studied, it being a fundamental principle of the system that such landing must be prevented by fortifying the rivers as low down as possible.
The southern coast, stretching from Cape Hatteras to the southern point of Florida, is invariably low, and, for the greater part, sandy ; much resembling the coast from the abovementioned cape to Montauk point, on the east end of Long Island.
A ridge of sand, here and there interrupted by the alluvion of the rivers, extends through its whole length. This ridge, in certain portions, lies on the main land; while, in others, it is divided iherefrom by basins or “sounds" of various width and depth ; aud is cut up into islands by numerous channels which connect these interior waters with the sea. Wherever this sand ridge is interrupted, its place is occupied by low and marshy grounds, bordering the principal and the many lesser outlets of the rivers.
Ocracock inlet, N. C.-The shallowness of the water on the bars at this inlet effectnally excludes all vessels of war-at least, all moved by sails. But as this is an outlet of an extensive comnierce, and as, through this opening, allenipis might be inade in small vessels, barges, or the smaller class of steamvessels, to destroy this commerce, or to interrupt the line of interior water communication, tiinely preparation must be made of temporary works equal to defence against all such minor enterprises.
Branfort harbor, N. C.- A work called Fort Macon has been erected for the defence of this harbor, which will require some repairs. Some operatio:is are also called for to protect the site froin the wearing action of the sea. (Statement 1, table A.) Estimate $10,000.
Mouths of Cape Fear river, N. C. The defence of the main channel of Cape Fear requires, in addition to Fort Caswell, (now nearly completed,) on 0.1k island, another sort on Bald Head. And the defence of the smaller channel will require a redoubt on Federal point. The battery.magazine, block house, &c, at Smithville, should remain as accessories. Fort Cas. well, Oak island, (statement 1, lable C,) requires $6,0110) to complete it; the forl on Bald Head (statement 1, table F) will require $180,000); the redoubt on Federal point (statement 1, table F) will require $18,000; and the battery, &c., called Fort Jolinslon, at Smithville, (statement I, table A,) $5,000.
Georgetown harbor, S. C.-The first inlet of any consequence south of Cape Fear river is at the united months of the Waccamaw, Pedee, and Black rivers, forining Georgetown barbor ; which is a commodious and capacious bay, having sufficient water within, and also upon the bar near the mouth, for merchant vessels and small vessels of war. A survey of this harbor was beguin many years ago, but never completed ; and no projects for defence bave been made. It is probable that a work placed near Moscheto clerk, or on Winyaw Point, would give adequate strength at the cost of about $250,000, (statement 1, table E.)
Santee river and Bull's bay.--About ten miles south from Georgetown are the months of the Santee, the largest river in South Carolina. It is not known whether the bars at the months of this river have sufficient water for sea going vessels. The same uncertainty exists as to the depth into Bull's hay. It may be sufficient to consider these, and the other inlets between Georgetown and Charleston, as calling for small works, capable of resisting boal enterprises, and to assign as the cost $100,000. Should they prove to be navigable for privateers, they will require a larger expenditure. (Statement 1, table F.)