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Group Title: House document - 56th Congress, 1st session ; Document no. 76.
Title: Examination of Boca Grance and Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Letter from the secretary of war, transmitting, with a letter from the chief of engineers, report of examination of Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor, Florida
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 Material Information
Title: Examination of Boca Grance and Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Letter from the secretary of war, transmitting, with a letter from the chief of engineers, report of examination of Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor, Florida
Series Title: House document 56th Congress, 1st session
Physical Description: 7 p. : fold. map ;
Language: English
Publisher: U.S. G.P.O.
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1899
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Florida -- Charlotte -- Charlotte Harbor
United States -- Florida -- Charlotte -- Punta Gordo
 Notes
General Note: December 7, 1899 -- Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered to be printed.
Funding: House document (United States. Congress. House) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00004576
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - AAA5796
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Full Text

56TH CONGRESS, 9 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. { DOCUMENT
1st Session. No. 76.




EXAMINATION OF BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HAR-
BOR, FLORIDA.



LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,
TRANSMITTING,
WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORT OF
EXAMINATION OF BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR,
FLORIDA.

DECEMBER 7, 1899.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered
to be printed.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
SWashington, December 6, 1899.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief
of Engineers, United States Army, dated November 24, 1899, together
with copy of a report from Capt. Henry Jervey, Corps of Engineers,
dated September 5, 1899, of a preliminary examination made by him
in compliance with the provisions of the river and harbor act of March
3, 1899, of Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
Very respectfully,
ELIHU ROOT,
Secretary of War.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.


OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY,
Washington, November 24, 1899.
SIR: Among the localities for which provision for examination and
survey is made by the river and harbor act approved March 3, 1899, is
Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor, Florida, with a view to obtaining
a depth of 24 feet of water over the bar at the entrance of the harbor
and 18 feet thence up to Punta Gorda.
The preliminary examination provided for was made under direction
of Capt. Henry Jervey, Corps of Engineers, and his report of Sep-
tember 5, 1899, of the results, is submitted herewith. The informa-
H. Doe. 57----47




2 BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.

tion secured indicates thav while an increased depth over the bar would
probably be of material benefit to the commercial interests by enabling
vessels to load to their full capacity in the anchorage grounds within
the entrance, there is no apparent demand for a deeper channel from
the entrance up to Punta Gorda.
The existing project for the improvement, now nearing completion,
provides for a mean low-water depth of 12 feet up to a point abreast
of the railroad wharf at Punta Gorda, and a greater channel depth than
this could be secured only at an extraordinary cost. Accordingly, the
local officer was directed, by authority of the Secretary of War, to pre-
pare and submit a plan and estimate of cost of securing increased depth
on the bar, and I have the honor to submit his report of November 3,
1899, presenting such plan and estimate, with map. The improvement
proposed is to excavate a channel across the bar 300 feet wide and 24
feet deep (to be dredged to a depth of 25 feet, allowing 1 foot for back
filling), at an estimated cost of $140,000. The annual expense for main-
tenance will probably amount to $1,000.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN M. WILSON,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Enngineers,
U. S. Army.
Hon. ELIHU ROOT,
Secretary of War.



PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE
HARBOR, FLORIDA, WITH A VIEW TO OBTAINING A DEPTH OF 24
FEET OF WATER OVER THE BAR AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE HAR-
BOR AND 18 FEET THENCE UP TO PUNTA GORDA.

UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Tampa, Fla., September 5, 1899.
GENERAL: I have the honor to present the following report upon
the preliminary examination of "Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor,
with a view to obtaining a depth of 24 feet of water over the bar at
the entrance of the harbor and 18 feet thence up to Punta Gorda,"
made in accordance with section 22 of the river and harbor act
approved March 3, 1899. The preliminary examination was made by
Lieut. Frank C. Boggs, jr., Corps of Engineers, to whose report
herewith attention is respectfully invited. The present examination
was confined to taking a line of soundings along the existing channels
as the locality is under improvement and all necessary data as to
hydrography and commercial statistics were already available.
The project now in progress was inaugurated by the river and har-
bor act of September 19, 1890, and contemplates the formation of a
channel 12 feet deep at mean low water and 200 feet wide from the
wharf at Punta Gorda to Boca Grande Pass. The original channel
depth was 19 feet on the bar, 9 feet on the shoals south of Cape Haze,
and 10 feet upon the shoals near the Punta Gorda Wharf.
The work thus far done has resulted in a channel of the prescribed
depth throughout and 200 feet wide throughout except near the wharfs.
The :2- ,: appropriated by the act of March 3, 1899, is for the com-
pletion of the project, based on the revised estimate made in 1896 of




BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA. 3

$100,000 for the whole work. This amount will suffice to widen the
upper portion of the cut near the wharfs to within 5 or 10 feet of the
prescribed width, but will leave two sections below Long Dock con-
siderably less than the width called for. One of these sections is 160
feet wide for a distance of 4,729 feet and the other 120 feet wide for a
distance of 1,764 feet.
Lieutenant Boggs's examination indicates that shoaling has occurred
in the dredged channels to a greater extent than expected, as no com-
plaint has been made by the shipping interests of any lack of depth in
these channels. The great bulk of the commerce from Punta Gorda
and the only part of it requiring deep-draft vessels consists of the
phosphate shipments.
Phosphate rock is now brought down from the mines up Peace
River on barges and loaded upon vessels at the Boca Grande entrance
The vessels are loaded until they can just cross the bar and their car
goes completed, if necessary, on the outside. The depth over the bal
now guaranteed by the local towage company is 20J feet for sailing
vessels and 211 feet for steamships. This necessarily operates as a
restriction upon the draft of vessels seeking phosphate cargoes, as the
operation of loading outside the bar is hazardous.
It is evident that an increase in depth of water on the bar to 24
feet would immediately and materially benefit a commerce already
well established, and in view of this fact I am of the opinion that Boca
Grande is worthy of improvement by the General Government to the
extent of obtaining a depth of 24 feet at mean low water over the bar
at the entrance. No survey is necessary upon which to base a plan of
improvement and estimate of cost. There is no present demand for
an 18-foot channel up to Punta Gorda. Such a channel would require
extensive dredging for the entire distance, and should it be made there
is nothing to indicate that it would benefit commerce. Neither phos-
phate vessels nor other seagoing craft find an 18-foot draft econom-
ical, and a channel of this depth, therefore, while permitting partial
loading at Punta Gorda would still require lighterage to the bar.
The conditions would be but little better than at present and the bene-
fit accruing would not justify the cost of the proposed improvement.
A statement of the water commerce of Punta Gorda for the year end-
ing December 31, 1898, is as follows:

Commerce of Charlotte Harbor and Peace River, Florida, during the year ending
December 31, 1898.
Gross Estimated
Name of articles. Tonnage. value.

Fertilizers and pebble ............................................................. 69,878 $708, 780
Cattle...................................................................... 225 11,250
raine..................................... .. ............................... 00
Hides...... ..................... .. ......... ........... ............ ............. 10 2, 250
Honey, syrup, etc s .. ................................................................. 0 6 371,250
Lumber ............................................. ........................... 1,250 15,000
Merchandise ..................................................................... 2,400 120,990
Hay n..................................................................... 1,000 18,875
Vegetables ........... ........................................................... 1,700 510,000
Fish and oysters.................................................................. 25,758 146,895
Oranges........................................................................ 887 32,000
Pineapples, etc............................. .... ..... ........ .................... 232 9,315
Total........... ........................................................ 106,46 1, 613, 830




4 BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.

Arrivals and departures of vessels for the year ending December 81, 1898.

Number Number
Class of vessels, of ar- Tonnage. of depar- Tonnage.
rivals. tures.
Steamships.. ....................................... 13 14,567 13 14,567
Steamboats, light draft.................. .............. 352 138,885 352 138, 885
Sailing vessels ....................................... 34 27,715 34 27,715
Yachts........................................ .... ..... ........ 15 412 15 412
Total............................................... 414 181,579 414 181,579
Estimated number of passengers carried by the above vessels during the year ending December
31,1898 ....................................................................................... 9,618
Estimated percentage of total trade of neighborhood carried by water ...................... 80
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY JERVEY,
Captain, Corps of Engineers.
Brig. Gen. JOHN M. WILsoN,
Chief of Engineers, U. S. A.
[First endorsement.]
OFFICE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
U. S. ARMY,
September 19, 1899.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
This is a report upon preliminary examination, provided for by the
river and harbor act of March 3, 1899, of Boca Grande and Charlotte
Harbor, Florida, with a view to obtaining a depth of 24 feet of water
over the bar at the entrance of the harbor and 18 feet thence up to
Punta Gorda.
For the reasons presented by Captain Jervey, the local officer, he is
of opinion, in which I concur, that Boca Grand.e is worthy of improve-
ment by the General Government to the extent of obtaining a depth
of 24 feet at mean low water over the bar at the entrance, but that
there is no present demand for an 18-foot channel up to Punta Gorda,
as such channel would require extensive dredging for the entire dis-
tance, and there is nothing to indicate that were it so improved it
would benefit commerce.
A survey in the ordinary sense is not required, and I recommend
that the local officer be directed to prepare and submit a plan and esti-
mate of cost of securing increased depth on the bar, as proposed by
him, the preparation of which can be effected without cost to the
Government.
JOHN M. WILSON,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers,
U. S. Army.
[Second endorsement.]
WAR DEPARTMENT,
September 15, 1899.
Approved as recommended by the Chief of Engineers.
By order of the Secretary of War:
A. N. THOMPSON,
Acting Chief Clerk.




BOOA GRANDE AND OHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.


REPORT OF SECOND LIEUT. FRANK G. BOGGS, JR., CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Tampa, Fla., August 81, 1899.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your instructions I
proceeded to Punta Gorda, Fla., and on August 20 made a preliminary examination
of Charlotte Harbor from Punta Gorda to Boca Grande entrance, Gulf of Mexico.
For a description of this locality, the requirements of commerce, the project adopted,
and its modifications; the methods used, the work accomplished, its cost, and the
results obtained, attention is invited to Reports of Chief of Engineers, 1896, Part II,
pages 1329-1331; 1897, Part II, pages 1559, 1560; and 1898, Part II, pages 1335, 1336.
No work was done during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1899. The result of the
improvement was a channel with an available depth at mean low water of 12 feet
from a point opposite the railroad wharf at Punta Gorda to Boca Grande entrance,
Gulf of Mexico. This channel is 200 feet wide for its entire length, except in the cut
near the wharf at Punta Gorda. The first section of this cut is 1,764 feet long and 120
feet wide. The next section is 4,729 feet long and 160 feet wide.
There is a basin 300 feet square at the end of the long wharf. From this basin the
channel continues upstream for a distance of 5,620 feet to a point opposite the ter-
minal wharf of the Plant System Railway. The first 1,000 feet of this section of the
dredged channel is 70 feet wide. Thence the channel has been dredged to a width
of 35 feet for a length of 4,520 feet, ending in a basin 100 feet square. The $25,000
appropriated by the river and harbor act of March 3,1899, is being used for widening
this section of the channel under the project approved March 29,1899.
The object of this examination was to ascertain whether there had been any filling
in of the channel made under the present project. For this purpose soundings were
taken at points about 200 feet apart for the entire distance from Punta Gorda to Boca
Grande entrance. These soundings show that the original 12-foot channel no longer
exists throughout the entire course.
Leaving the long wharf at Punta Gorda, and following the channel toward Boca
Grande there is, for about 1 miles, an average depth of 11 feet, the minimum sound-
ing taken giving 10.4 feet at a point about three-fourths of a mile from the wharf.
From the red beacon (1a miles from the long wharf) to Cape Haze Light, the lead
shows a depth of from 12 to 18 feet. From this point for a distance of about 4 miles
the average depth is not more than 11 feet, the bottom rising at various points to
within 9" feet of the surface of the water. About 9 miles from Cape Haze Light
another rise was noted, the soundings giving about 11 feet of water. The depth on
the bar is about 21 feet.
In addition to the obstructions to the channel due to shoaling there are, near the
long wharf at Punta Gorda, four groups of piles, which are very dangerous to navi-
gation. These groups marked the edge of the channel made under the present
project, and were set back from the channel 10 or 15 feet. They have, however,
with the exception of one pile in one group, been eaten away, leaving only the stumps
standing. These stumps are below the surface of the water, and are very dangerous
to light-draft vessels. If it were possible to use the plant now doing the work of
dredging, these piles could be removed at an estimated cost of $200. This would be
too low an estimate unless the work is done at once, for there is no plant at Punta
Gorda suitable for this purpose.
My attention was also called to the fact that the only markers for the channel near
Cape Haze Light are the range stakes used during the dredging.
In a conversation with Mr. Albert Dewey, of Punta Gorda, who has for the past
ten years been in charge of transporting the phosphate rock from the mines to the
vessels, he explained the method now used. The rock is loaded on barges at the
mines, these barges being towed to the Boca Grande entrance. Here the vessels are
loaded until their draft will just permit them to pass over the bar. If not completely
loaded the barges are then towed over the bar and the work is completed. This
transfer of material from the barges to the vessel outside the bar is a dangerous
operation, and is subject to frequent interruptions on account of the heavy local
storms. At present, being able to guarantee only 20 feet of water over the bar, the
size of vessels which may be chartered is limited. If, however, the proposed depth
of 24 feet were obtained this restriction would in a great measure be removed.
From the above and other conversations, I gather that the general desire is, first,
an increased depth on the bar, and then an improvement of Peace River from Punta
Gorda to Liverpool.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK C. BOGGS, Jr.,
Second Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers.
Capt. HENRY JERVEY,
Corps of Engineers.




6 BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.
PLAN AND ESTIMATE FOR SECURING A DEPTH OF 24 FEET AT MEAN
LOW WATER ON THE BAR AT BOCA GRANDE, THE MAIN ENTRANCE
TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Tampa, Fla., November 3, 1899.
GENERAL: In compliance with instructions contained in Department
letter dated September 21, 1899, I have the honor to submit the follow-
ing plan and estimate for securing a depth of 24 feet at mean low water
on the bar at Boca Grande, the main entrance to Charlotte Harbor,
Florida, as proposed in my report of September 5, 1899, upon the
preliminary examination of this locality:
Charlotte Harbor lies about 74 miles south of Tampa Bay, and offers
the most southerly deep-water harbor on the west coast of the main-
land of Florida. The main entrance to the harbor, known as Boca
Grande, enters between Gasparilla Island on the north and. La Costa
Island on the south. It is straight and stable in position and depth,
with a depth exceeding 24 feet, except upon two shoals or bars, respec-
tively about 21 and 31 miles seaward of the entrance, and upon which
the least channel depth is 19 feet at mean low water. The average
rise of the tide is nearly 2 feet.
Within the entrance is an anchorage ground with an area of 350
acres and a mean low-water depth of not less than 24 feet, the depth
in 250 acres of the area being 27 feet and over. In this anchorage sea-
going vessels can generally receive their cargoes from lighters without
difficulty.
The preliminary examination referred to was made in accordance
with the provisions of section 22 of the river and harbor act approved
March 3,1899, and covered "Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor, with
a view to obtaining a depth of 24 feet of water over the bar at the
entrance of the harbor and 18 feet thence up to Punta Gorda."
The information available indicates that, while an increased depth
on the bar would probably be a material benefit to commerce by
enabling deep-draft vessels to load to their full capacity in the anchor-
age grounds within the entrance, there is no apparent demand for a
deeper channel from the entrance up to Punta Gorda. The existing
project for the improvement, now nearing completion, provides a
mean low-water depth of 12 feet up to a point abreast of the railroad
wharf at Punta Gorda, and a greater channel depth than this could be
secured only at an extraordinary cost.
The data for the plan and estimate herein submitted have been
obtained from the survey made by Capt. W. M. Black, Corps of Engi-
neers, U. S. A., in 1890-91, supplemented by the United States Coast
Survey charts.
The plan proposed is to form a channel across the bar 300 feet wide
and 24 feet deep at mean low water by dredging the shoals as indicated
on the accompanying map. The proposed channel consists of two cuts,
aggregating 8,583 feet in length, in the same straight line and sepa-
rated by a pocket of deep water about 2,000 feet across. The depths
where dredging is required are generally 19 to 21 feet at mean low
water.
The following estimate is based on dredging to a depth of 25 feet,
allowing the extra foot for back filling, side slopes of 1 vertical to 3
horizontal (1 on 3), and scow measurement which is assumed to be 25
per cent greater than place measurement.




BOCA GRANDE AND CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLORIDA.


Estimate of cost.
Dredging 421,484 cubic yards sand and broken shell, at 30 cents........ $126, 445.20
Engineering and contingencies, about 11 per cent.-..-.............. 13, 554.80
Total -----------................. -------------------......... 140,000. 00
Annually for maintenance -.....---- ...----..---..--........-- ........ 1, 000.00
The dredged channels if quickly made to full dimensions will prob-
ably be reasonably permanent and require but little work of mainte-
nance. The observed velocity of currents averages 1 to 1I miles per
hour.
The high unit price estimated for dredging is due to the exposed
site and the prevalence of violent winds at certain seasons. Dredging
operations can be carried on to the best advantage in the spring and
summer months and as late as November.
A map showing the main entrance, the anchorage ground, and the
proposed location of the new channel accompanies this report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY JERVEY,
Captain, Corps of Engimeers.
Brig. Gen. JOHN M. WILSON,
Chief of Engieers, U. A.
(Through the Division Engineer.)
[First endorsement.]
U. S. ENGINEER OFFICE,
Baltimore, Md., November 6, 1899.
Respectfully submitted to the Chief of Engineers, United States
Army.
I concur in the opinions expressed by the district engineer.
PETER C. HAINS,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
Division Engineer, Southeast Division.

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Prepared under the direction of


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from U. S. Engineer's Chart No. 13A, Drawer


No. 27, (Tampa office files), Survey of 1890-91;


and from U. S. C. & G. S. Charts Nos. 175 and 474.


OCTOBER, 1899.


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