C CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Ex. Doc,
2d Session. No. 241.
PEASE RIVER, FLORIDA.
THE SECRETARY OF WAR,
With a letter from the Chief of Engineers, a copy of the report of the ex-
amination of Pease River, Florida.
FnBRUARY 7, 1891.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and'Harbors.
Washington,. D. G., February 6, 1891.
SIR: I have the honorto transmitherewith, in compliance with the pro-
Svisions of the river and harbor act of September 19, 1890, a letter of the
Chief of Engineers dated the 5th instant, inclosing a copy of a report of
Capt. W. M. Black, Corps of Engineers, dated January 12, 1891, upon
the preliminary examination of Pease River, Florida.
It is the opinion of Captain Black, concurred in by Col. William P.
Craighill, Division Engineer, and the Chief of Engineers, that Pease
River, above Fort Ogden, is not worthy of improvement; that itis worthy
S of improvement below Fort Ogden; that there is no present necessity
for the improvement between Fort Ogden and Punta Gorda, and that
improvement below Punta Gorda is necessary only in connection with
the improvement of the channels through Charlotte Harbor, between
Boca Grande Entrance and Punta Gorda.
Secretary of War.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY,
S I e h r Washington, D. C., February 5, 1891.
*. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith report dated January 12,
1891, by Capt. Wm." M. Black, Corps of Engineers, upon preliminary
examination of Peace [Pease] River, Florida, made to comply with pro.
visions of the river and harbor act approved Septemnber 19, 1890.
S 2 .PEASE RIVER, FLORIDA.
Captain Black reports that in his opinion Pease River, above Fort
Ogden, is not worthy of improvement; that it is worthy of improve-
ment below Fort Ogden; that there is no pressing necessity at present
for the improvement between Fort Ogden and Punta Gorda ; and that
the improvement below Punta Gorda is necessary only in connec-
tion with the improvement of the channels through Charlotte Harbor,
between Boca Grande Entrance and Punta Gorda; and Col. Win. P.
Craighill, Corps of Engineers, Division Engineer, Southeast Division,
agrees with him that the river is worthy of improvement below Fort
Ogden, but not above that point.
An appropriation of $35,000 was made by the river and harbor act
approved September 19, 1890, for "improving, dredging, and deepen-
ing the channel of Charlotte Harboi and Pease Creek, Florida, to the
pier at Punta Gorda, the terminus of the Florida Southern Railroad."
Captain Black states that-
With the appropriation of $35,000, made in the act approved September 19, 1890, the
channel will be deepened at the mouth of the river as far as the railroad wharf at
Punta Gorda. Should the railway be extended to the deep water at Boca Grande
SPass, I do not deem a further improvement of the channel here necessary.
Veryrespectfully, your obedient servant,
THOSE. LINCOLN CASEY,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers.
Hon. REDFIELD PROCTOR,
Secretary of War.
PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF PEASE RIVER, FLORIDA.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
St. Augustine, Fla., January 12, 1891.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report on the
preliminary examination of Pease Creek, Florida:
Three appropriations have been made for the improvement of Pease
Creek or Pease River, aggregating $13,000. A portion of this sum was
expended in mapping the river and the remainder in sngging opera-
tions (1882-'84). As the work was not completed, owing tWthe exhaus-
tion of the appropriation available, no useful result was obtained. Ex-
cepting over short reaches, the river is not navigable. The approved
project is to open the river for navigation by boats drawing 2 feet of
water, during one-half the year, with a minimum channel width of 30
feet, by rock excavation and removing snags and overhanging trees,
from the mouth to Fort Meade.
The development of the phosphate mining industry in the Pease Creek
Valley has vastly increased the need for transportation' facilities. If
Pease Creek were navigable during the. entire year undoubtedly the
.volume of trade using it would be very great. Unfortunately the upper
reaches of the stream are narrow and crooked, with banks frequently
low and generally of light material, easily moved by the water; the
-river-bed is obstructed by rock ledges and shifting bars, and the stream
itself is subject to rapid and great fluctuations of level.
At its lowest stage the stream in the channels around the bends contractsto a mere
thread of water, while on the few rock and sand shoals that extend across the chan-
nel from bank to bank the water covers the entire river-bed, but is too shallow to
carry a skiff drawing even 6 inches. (Report of J. L. Meigs, Assistant Engineer, Re-
port of Chief of Engineers, 1880, part 2, page 1105.),
For these reasons the present limited project was adopted.
PEASE RIVER, FLORIDA. '
The lower portion of the river is, however, more capable of im-
provement; 5 feet can now be carried as far as Fort Ogden, 18 miles
: from the mouth, and 10 feet as far as Punta Gorda. The channel could
Sbe deepened to 8 feet as far as Fort Ogden for $34,000, and this should
be done as soon as the development of the phosphate industry near Fort
Ogden and Liverpool becomes sufficiently great to warrant this expendi-
ture. Froqi all points above Fort Ogden it will be necessary to use rail
transportation for so large a portion of the year that it would not be in
S the interests of economy for the phosphate companies to depend upon
S the river at all. Once loaded for the cars it would not pay to transship
the phosphate at any point short of the terminus of the railway or of
S With the appropriation of $35,000 made in the act approved Sep-
tember 19, 1890, the channel will be deepened at the mouth of the river
as far as the railroad wharf at Punta Gorda. Should the railway be
extended to the deep water at Boca Grande Pass, I do not deem a fur-
ther improvement of the channel here necessary. Should the railway
not be extended the channel at the mouth should be deepened to 15
'. feet at mean low water in connection with the improvement of Charlotte
I have the honor to submit herewith letters from Messrs. M. T. Sin-
gleton, Jos. Hill, and H. Robinson, relating to the improvements de-
For the commercial statistics of Pease Creek, I have the honor to in-
vite attention to the annual report of the Chief of Engineers for 1890.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SW. M. BLACK,
Captain, Corps of Engineers.
Brig. Gen. THOMAS L. CASEY,
SChief of Engineers, U. S. A.
(Through Col. Wm. P. Craighill, Corps of Engineers, Division En-
S. gineer, Southeast Division.)
[First endorsement. I
U.. S. ENGINEER OFFICE,
SBaltimore, Md., January 17, 1891.
S Respectfully submitted to the Chief of Engineers.
;: .In section 17 of the law of September 19, 1890, this stream is called
S Peace-River." In section 1, where mentioned in connection with the
S improvement of Charlotte Harbor, into which it empties, it is called
Because of the facts and reasons set forth in the report of the local
I engineer, of January 12, 1891, and from my own knowledge, it is my
.0 :Bopinion that the stream is not worthy of improvement above Fort
itOgden, 18 miles above the mouth.
SWM. P. CRAIGHILL,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers.
U. S. ENGINEER OFFICE,
SSt. Augustine, Fla., January 27, 1891.
etfully returned to the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
H ipy opinion that Pease River is not worthy of improvement above
g4dn; that it is worthy of improvement below Fort Ogden; that
S1:E z. 36-8
4 PEASE RIVER, FLORIIA.
There is no pressing necessity at present for the improvement between
Fort Ogden and Punta Gorda; and that the improvement below Punta
Gorda is necessary only in connection with the improvement of the
channels through Charlotte Harbor, between Boca Grande entrance
and Punta Gorda.
W. M. BLACK,
Captain, Corps of Engineers.
TT. S. ENGINEER OFFICE,
Baltimore, Md., February 2, 1891.
Respectfully forwarded to the Chief of Engineers.
In my opinion Pease River is worthy of improvement below Fort
WM. P. CRAIGHILL,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers.
LETTER OF MR. M. F. SINGLETON.
ARCADIA, FLA., December 8, 1890.
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 5th instant is just received. I am compelled to
leave for Charlotte Harbor to-morrow to dispatch a cargo of rock, but hope to get
back in time to meet you. If I should fail to do so my brother, Mr. J. J. Singleton,
will take pleasure in giving you all the information he can., and will also furnish
you with boats and oarsmen to facilitate your investigations, should you need them.
I have not seen the text of the last river and harbor bill, and do not know the
nature of the clause referring to Pease River. I infer from your letter that it only
contemplates an examination and report. In case I should fail to neet you I will
take occasion to say here that the Pease River Phosphate Company does not con-
sider the possible opening of the river as a factor in its business. Water transporta-
tion to the Gulf would, of course, be of immense value to us, and any assistance
from the Governmeiit in that direction would be appreciated; but we could at best
utilize the river for only a portion of the year, and I doubt if it would materially
benefit us. I take the liberty to say this much, as you kindly state that you wish to
consult us concerning the needs of navigation," etc. The banks of the river are so
unstable, the volume of water so small during the dry season, and the material in
the channel so mobile that we could hardly expect the Government to expend the
sum necessary to make the stream navigable all the year and maintain it in that
S condition. You, however, can best judge of the feasibility of making the river nayi-
gable at low water. If such a thing can be accomplished the benefits to us will be
almost incalculable, and we would transport by the river not less than 50,000 tons
To state the matter briefly, the expenditure of a small sum would not benefit us in
the least, and nothing would benefit us short of actual navigation all the year around.
Very respectfully, yours,
M. F. SINGLETON,
SEngineer and Supefintendent.
Capt. W. M. BLACK,
Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.
LETTER OF MR. JOB. HULL.
ARCADIA PHOSPHATE COMPANY
Savannah, G-a., December 15, 1890.
DEAR SIR: Mr. T. S. Moorlead has informed us of an interview he had with you
in regard to malting Peace River navigable at high water, and whether or not high-
water navigation would be of any benefit to us. We beg to state that high-water
D: navigation would not be of the slightest value to us. We have secured a rate by rail
from our works to Charlotte Harbor of 50 cents per ton, which is much cheaper than
SPEASE RIVER, FLORIDA. 5
it could possibly be barged from Arcadia to Charlotte Harbor. Again, we could not
Afford to equip and maintain a fleet of barges with tugboat simply to work on high
water, which only lasts a very short time at intervals. The river rises and falls from
10 to 15 feet in 30 to 60 hours, which really renders water navigation out of the ques-
tion. On high water the drift of logs and other impediments would seriously inter-
fere with water navigation, and we can't see how it would be possible to make use
of water navigation to Charlotte Harbor, aside from the fact that we have a rail rate
hat is much cheaper than it could be barged down.
What we think the proper thing to do would be for the Government to spend all
the money that is appropriated for Charlotte Harbor between the long docks at Punta
S Gorda and Boca Grande. A vessel drawing 12 feet is perhaps the greatest draft any
vessel could carry going out of Charlotte Harbor now, when the appropriations
properly spent in Charlotte Harbor, or properly spent from the railroad docks to
Boca Grande, would admit of vessels drawing much greater depth of water com-,
ing right up to the railroad docks at Punta Gorda. This is what the commercial in-
terests in Pease River would like to have, and we hope all the appropriations will
be applied in this direction. Any other information that we can render you we will
S be pleased to furnish it.
i Yours, very truly,
SARCADIA PHOSPHATE COMPANY,
Per Jos. HULL,
SSecretary and Treasurer.
S Capt. W. M. BLACK,
SU17. S. Engineer.
LETTER OF MR. H. ROBINSON.
THE JACKSONVILLE PEACE RIVER PHOSPHATE COMPANY,
acksonville, Fla., December 31, 1890.
DEAR SIR: Our company being largely interested in the commercial interest of
S Charlotte Harbor and Pease Creek, Fla., and being familiar with the needs of the
Shipping of the same, is my apology for this letter, and I respectfully request you
would give it due consideration.
The appropriation made by Congress for the improvement of Charlotte Harbor and
S Pease Creek can, in my opinion, be best used for the deepening of the channel be-
tween Boca Grande and the railroad wharf at Punta Gorda. Pease Creek proper can
not be made navigable north of township 38 without the expenditure of'millions of
dollars, and if so made would be of little or no value commercially, but, on the con-
trary, it would be an injury to commerce by displacing the phosphatic deposit in the
river. To ship phosphates now (from Punta Gorda, the terminus of the only railroad
in that section of country) by water is at present involved with great difficulties,
owing to the shallow water in the harbor, and if the appropriation is used for clear-
ing the channel and deepening of it from the mouth of the harbor to the railroad'
S wharf at Punta Gorda, so that steamers drawing 12 to 16 feet of water can load and
unload at the wharf, it will be of great benefit to commerce and meet general appro-
Hoping you will please give this matter favorable consideration, I am, very respect-
S fully, yours truly,
President of the Jacksonville Peace River Phosphate Company.
Capt. W. M. BLACK,
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