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Preliminary Examination of harbor at Cedar Keys, FLA.
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Title: Preliminary Examination of harbor at Cedar Keys, FLA.
Physical Description: Archival
Publication Date: 1898
Copyright Date: 1898
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54TH CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. j DOCUMENT
2d Session. ( No. 247.



PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF HARBOR AT CEDAR
KEYS, FLA.



LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,
TRANSMTrrING,
WITH A LETTER PROM THE ACTING CHIEF OF ENGINEERS
REPORT OF EXAMINATION OF HARBOR AT CEDAR KEYS, FLA.


FBRnUARY 2, 1897.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered
to be printed.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. G., January 29, 1897.
SnI: I have the honor to inclose herewith a letter from the Acting
Chief of Engineers dated January 27, 1897, together with a copy of a
report from Lieut. Col. W. H. H. Benyaurd, Corps of Engineers, dated
January 4, 1897, of a preliminary examination made by him in compli-
ance with the provisions of the river and harbor act of June 3, 1896, of
harbor at Cedar Keys, Fla.
Very respectfully, DANIEL S. LAMONT,
Secretary of War.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.


OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY,
Washington, D. C., January 27, 1897.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the accompanying copy of report,
dated January 4, 1897, by Lieut. Col. W. H. H. Benyaurd, Corps of
Engineers, of the results of a preliminary examination of harbor at
Cedar Keys, Fla., made to comply with the provisions of the river and
harbor act of June 3, 1896.
For the reasons given Colonel Benyaurd is of the opinion, which is
concurred in by me, that the harbor at Cedar Keys is not worthy of
improvement by the General Government.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. MACKENZIE,
Acting Chief of Engineers.
Hon. DANIEL S. LAMONT,
Secretary of War.






2 HARBOR AT CEDAR KEYS, FLA.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF HARBOR AT CEDAR KEYS, FLA.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
St. Augustine, Fla., January 4, 1897.
GENERAL: I have the honor to present the following report on the
preliminary examination of the harbor of Cedar Keys, Fla., in compli-
ance with the provisions of the river and harbor act of June 3 last.
The examination was made under my direction by Lieut. James J.
Meyler, Corps of Engineers, whose report is appended.
Between the years 1872 and 1890 appropriations aggregating $104,500
were made by Congress for the improvement of this harbor by dredging
the channel. In 1892 the officer in charge of this district recommended
that the improvement of Cedar Keys be discontinued until an increased
commerce, actual or fairly prospective, would make further improvement
necessary.
Lieutenant Meyler's report gives in detail the present state of the
channels, which, under ordinary conditions, appears to be all that is
necessary for the present commercial demands of Cedar Keys. There
has been no increase in the commerce of this place for a number of
years, and there appears to be nothing that would warrant any pros-
pective increase sufficient to demand that the improvement be again
taken up. Under these views, I am compelled to report that the
harbor of Cedar Keys is not worthy of improvement by the General
Government.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. H. BENYAURD,
Lieut. Col., Corps of Engineers.
Brig. Gen. W. P. CRAIGHILL,
Chief of Engineers, U. S. A.


REPORT OF LIEUT. JAMES J. MEYLER, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
St. Augustine, Fla., December 18, 1896.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with instructions received
from you, I proceeded to Cedar Keys, and on December 8 and 9 made a preliminary
examination of the harbor of that place.
I found that much uncertainty existed in the minds of those interested in the
improvement at this locality as to the extent and direction in which it was most
needed. Some contended that further deepening of the cuts and channels~in the
harbor was desired, while others stated that the resolution was intended to cover an
examination of the waters in the inside passage, between Cedar Keys Harbor and
the mouth of the Suwanee River. In this latter case the necessary improvements
would be confined principally to the shoals at Derrick Island Gap, about 7 miles
from Cedar Keys and about halfway between the town and the mouth of the river.
I accordingly made examination of both waterways. I had an excellent man to
act as pilot for me, a Captain Wilson, who probably is better acquainted with the
channels in that vicinity than any other person. He found no difficulty in taking
me over the best water in the natural channels and in the cuts made by the Govern-
ment across the middle ground shoal, the shoal near Buoy No. 12, and that across
the bar at the entrance from the Gulf. Numerous soundings taken along the axis of
the channel showed that very little, if any, deterioration had taken place in the cuts
made -ome years ago. In fact no doubt exists as to the continual deepening of the
cut across the outer bar. Both Captain Wilson and Captain Crevasse, of the Suwanee
Belle, which plies the Suwanee River, told me of boats they had piloted across the
bar in late years at comparatively low tide drawing as much as 13 feet of water.
The cut across it was made several years ago and 12 feet was the depth obtained. A
depth of 9j to 10 feet was obtained in the cuts across the Middle Ground and the
shoals lying between the Middle Ground and the southern point of Sea Horse Key,
and the soundings taken showed that such depth yet existed, even after several years
of practical disuse of the channel.






HARBOR AT CEDAR KEYS, FLA. 3

The soundings taken at Derrick Island Gap showed a similar state of affairs. In
the act approved September 19, 1890, an appropriation of $2,500 was made for Cedar
Keys Harbor, with the provision that a portion could be expended at Derrick Island
Gap, on the inside passage to the Suwanee Basin. Under the approved project,
which was to obtain a 5-foot channel at mean low water from Cedar Keys to the
mouth of the Suwanee, a channel was dredged at Derrick Island Gap 1,196 feet long,
37& feet wide, and 6 feet deep. Soundings along the axis of the cut showed a least
depth at present of 54 feet at mean low water throughout the cut. The only
trouble found with this cut was its narrowness, which, with the fact that the stakes
which marked out the cut were nearly all blown down in the great storm of Septem-
ber 29 last, made it extremely difficult to pick out the channel on either side of the
gap.
The same may be said of the cut across the middle ground and the shoals beyond
it. It is quite possible that that storm, which flooded the town of Cedar Keys to a
depth of 3 to 4 feet and destroyed portions of the railroad track and bed for a dis-
tance of 6 miles from town, may, by backing up such an enormous body of water,
have caused the slight decrease in depth found in the different cuts.
The commerce carried on in Cedar Keys Harbor has been very slight for several
years. Since 1888 it has shown no sign whatever of increase. However, it is con-
tended by some of those interested that if the Government were to improve the
channels from the town to the outer bar to a depth of 13 or 14 feet, so as to admit of
the entrance of vessels of greater draft, the town would soon resume its old-time
importance of the period when it was the most southern railroad terminus on the
west coast of Florida. The same parties admit that they can not hold out the
inducement of present commercial needs to warrant the Government in taking up
further improvements of the harbor proper. Those who advocate further improve-
ments of the inside passage to the Suwanee River are much more reasonable in their
demands. An increase in width of cut at Derrick Island Gap would be desirable,
though not at all necessary for the present water traffic through it, which is carried
on in light-draft vessels for which the existing channels afford ample facilities.
It is claimed that increased depths would facilitate the shipment of larger amounts
of phosphate from the lower Suwanee section, as well as a very much larger ship-
ment of cedar and pine lumber and timber. In all cases those who claim that they
are entitled to further harbor improvements by the General Government base their
claims on the prospective, not the present, demands of commerce, but in my opinion
these demands are entirely too uncertain and of too distant a future to warrant the
Government in making further improvements.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES J. MEYLER,
First Lieut. Gorps of Engineers.
Lieut. Col. W. H. H. BENYAURD,
Corps of Engineers, U. S. A,

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