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Title: Report of the U. S. Nicaragua surveying party, 1885
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Title: Report of the U. S. Nicaragua surveying party, 1885
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: United States Senate
Publisher: Government Printing Office
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: 1886
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    Index to maps and drawings
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    General Index
        Page 55
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    Maps and drawings
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Full Text





49TH CONGRESS,
1st Session.


SENATE. Ex. Doc.
No. 99.


REPORT



OF THE




S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY,




1885,


BY CIVIL ENGINEER A. G. MENOCAL, U. S. N.










WASHINGTON:
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
1886.


U.
































J. ~ '~


jt lV, 1-. ;
Resoloc#v,
ninth CongreiL '
the photograph
Attest:


S-- : ; ATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
APRIL 22, 1886.
ler of Senate Executive Document No. 99, first session, Forty-
Sr,. Menocal on the Interoceanic Canal, be printed, omitting


ANSON G. McCOOK,
Secretary.


La L~ g

Zfs-~


I -






















LETTER

FROM


THE SECREBA -OF THE Y,

TRANSMITTING,

In resa~ se to Senate resolution January 29, 1886, drauirgs and report of ." .. "


MARCH 16, 1886.-Referred to the Committee on Foreign Be'. ,i.,,2.


.~a, 1886.
SIR : In compliance with the resolution of the Senate wt uW r.. ., il. if I have the
honor to transmit herewith "copies of drawings and repottn ... caguan
Canal route," made'by ivil Engineer A. G. Menocal, of to.. I, T
Very respectfully,
STNEY,
Ho. ...etary of the Navy.
Hon. JOHN SHERMAN,
President pro tempore United States Senate.


NAvY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., December 15, 1884.
SIR: A treaty has been lately concluded with Nicaragua which gives to the United States the
right to build a canal across the Isthmus within the territory of that Republic, following the most
available route from ocean to ocean. This route will be fixed by United States engineers, but is
understood to be substantially that already selected, and with which you are familiar.
Because of your long service and great interest in this canal, and your thorough knowledge of
the projected work and the country it is to traverse, you have been selected to proceed to Nicaragua
to perform certain preliminary labors in connection with it, and it is expected that you will sail
for Aspinwall by the steamer from New York of the 20th instant. Your movements after that are
left largely to your discretion, but it is expected that you will leave Panama tor Nicaragua as
soon as the officers of your party and the camp equipage have been transported on board the
naval vessel which will there await you, and you will land at Corinto, Nicaragua, at as early a
date as practicable.
The commander of the naval vessel at Panama will be properly instructed.
After your arrival you will direct your attention to the direction of the surveys already made,
and particularly to any change in route which has been suggested as possibly available for short-
ening the canal and diminishing its cost.
Should the Nicaraguan Government desire your knowledge on the subject to assist them in
making clear the advantages to Nicaragua of the treaty, you will aid them as seems to you proper
under the circumstances.
3



2U0319














LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.


Unless otherwise instructed, you will leave Nicaragua and return to the United States not
later than the 1st of April next, at which time a vessel will be at Corinto to convey you to
Panama, if desired, whence you will secure passage for yourself and party to New York.
At the proper time you will communicate, by telegraph or otherwise, to the commander of this
vessel, informing him as to the probable date of he arrival of your party at Corinto.
It is unnecessary to inform you that the treaty, not having been ratified, has not the force of
law and is not finally binding upon the two Governments.
In the event of your finding no naval vessel at Panama upon your arrival, you will proceed to
Corinto at your discreton.
Very respectfully,
U, WM. E. CHANDLER,
SS secretary of the Navy.
Civil Engi ne' t. MENOOAL, U. S. N.,
Navy- Yard, Washington, I). 0.






a9




























SURVEY OF THE NICARAGUAN CANAL ROUTE.



UNITED STATES NAVY-YARD,
Washington, November, 1885.
SIR: I have the honor to submit a report of the work performed and the results accomplished
by the survey ing party lately operating in Nicaragua for tLe purpose of rectifying the location for
an interoceanic canal previously made by orders of the Department.
The report of Commander (now Captain) E. P. Lull, U. S. N., of the work done and results
obtained by the United States surveying expedition in 1872-'73, of which this report may be
regarded as a supplement, contains such a full description of the country, its inhabitants, and
other salient features, as to render it unnecessary for me to dwell upon these subjects. I will,
therefore, enter at once upon the report of our movements and labors, beginning from the date of
the orders.

FITTING OUT AND SAILING OF THE PARTY.

After collecting all the note field-books and original maps of previous surveying expeditions
in Nicaragua, and other important papers pertaining to the canal question, I left Washington on
the evening of December 17, 1884, for New York. The 18th, 19th, and morning of the 20th were
spent in selecting and purchasing certain outfits, and in properly packing and freighting in the
Pacific mail steamer Colon the tents, instruments, and other articles needed for the equipment of
the surveying party. In this work I was most efficiently assisted by Commander H. B. Robeson,
U. S. N., navigation officer of the navy-yard, New York, who kindly volunteered to supervise the
packing of the several articles, and to whose care and foresight was due in a great measure the
safe transportation of the same.
On the morning of December 20, Civil Engineer R. E. Peary, U.S.N., and Ensign W. I. ..- /
Chambers, U. S. N., reported for duty in connection with the proposed surveys, and at noon of the
same day the party sailed from New York on the steamer Colon.
We arrived at Aspinwall in the afternoon of December 29. The necessary arrangements
were immediately made with Captain J. N. Dow, general agent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Com-
pany on the Isthmus, and with Mr. George A. Burt, the superintendent of the Panama Railroad,
for the prompt discharge of the freight pertaining to the expedition and its transfer by rail, with-
out loss of time, to Panama, and it was due to the marked courtesy and kindness of these gentlemen
.in giving the matter their personal attention that no delay was experienced in that particular.
The afternoon train had already left for Panama, but having received an invitation to go across
on a special train furnished to Mr. Theodore de Sabla, one of the directors of the road and a pas-
senger on the Colon from New York, 1 left Messrs. Peary and Chambers on board the steamer to
look after the freight and baggage, and left myself for Panama, with a view to communicate next
morning with the commanding officer of the U. S. S. Lackawanna, lying in the bay. Owing to
low tide, however, boats could not approach the landings until a late hour, and it was near
noon of the 30th when I was able to board that vessel. I delivered to Capt. A. P. Cooke the
Department's communication, of which I was the bearer, and this officer informed me that he
would be ready to sail for Corinto, Nicaragua, as soon as our equipage could be brought on board.









6 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

Upon my return ashore I was met by Messrs. Peary and Chambers, who had arrived at Panama
about 11 a. m., bringing with them all the personal baggage and the instruments. Before leaving
Aspinwall they had seen all the freight belonging to the party discharged from the steamer and
placed on the wharf, ready to be taken on board the cars, and later in the day I received a tele-
gram from the railroad company's officials to the effect that the freight would be forwarded at the
first opportunity.
It was evident that with one holiday intervening and having to contend with the difficulties
attending low tides in the forenoon, our luggage, even if promptly transferred by the railroad,
could not be taken on board the Lackawanna before the 2d of January, and it was decided to
profit by this unavoidable delay in making an inspection of the works of the Panama Canal. Mr.
Burt, the superintendent of the Panama Railroad, having been informed by T. de Sabla of my
desire and intention to do so, kindly furnished me with a free pass for myself and the officers of
the party, to be used on all passenger trains, with the right to stop at all stations.
The 31st of December and 1st of January were spent on the line of the canal, leaving Panama
at 7 in the morning and returning at 6 in .the evening. All parts of the canal where important
works were going on were carefully examined and complete notes made on a map of the work.
On the afternoon of January 2, the baggage and equipage having been placed on board the
Lackawanna, the ship left Panama at 4 p. m., and after a pleasant and uneventful trip arrived at
Corinto at 1 p. m. on the 7th.
It had been my desire to arrive at Corinto in time to enable me, by rapid traveling, to reach
Granada on the 7th of January, so as to leave that place on the regular trip of the mail steamer
for Greytown on the morning of the 8th, and thus be enabled to commence the work of the survey
about the 12th of the same month. The unavoidable delay at Panama and the slow speed of the
Lackawanna, however, defeated that part of the plan of operations. Our departure from Granada
was necessarily postponed until the 18th and the beginning of the work put off not less than ten
days.
Immediately after landing I informed President Cardenas, by telegraph, of the arrival of the
party and of the object of our visit. A reply was soon received extending to us a hearty welcome
to the country, and stating that orders would be sent to the proper authorities to pass our personal
baggage and camp equipage through the custom-house without previous examination, and for the
transportation of the same and of the officers over the National Railroad, extending from Corinto
to Masaya, free of charge. Messages of welcome and congratulations were also received from the
minister of the treasury, Mr. Elizondo, and other high officials; and the governor of Corinto called
in person to offer his services, both in his official and private capacity.
Captain Cooke had decided to visit the capital with some of the officers of his ship, and as
nothing could be lost by a delay of one day, and the departure from Granada for the river San
Juan being controlled by the movements of the only steamer plying on Lake Nicaragua, it was
decided to remain in port until the 9th, the day fixed by the captain for his departure.
The 8th was spent in packing a quantity of provisions obtained from Paymaster Thomson,
U. S. N., of the Lackawanna, for the use of the party in the field, pending the arrival of those
purchased in New York and sent as freight by way of Greytown. Mr. Chambers made good use
of his time taking photographic views of the buildings and other objects of interest in and around
the place.
At noon of the 9th we left Corinto by rail, arriving at Momotombo at 4.30 p. m., where we were
compelled to stop for the night. Momotombo is the terminus of the northern section of the
Nicaragua Railroad, at the northwestern end of Lake Managua, close to the base of the volcano of the
same name. This volcano, a perfect cone, 7,000 feet above the surface of the water, rises majestically
from a peninsula projecting into the lake and forming a picturesque little bay, on the shore of which
the wharf and railroad station are situated. At this point the passengers and freight are trans-
ferred to a small steamer and carried to Managua, the capital of the Republic, where connection
is made with the other section of the road, extending now to Masaya, and in course of construction
as far as Granada. Mr. Chambers took some photographic views of the superb panorama before
us, and after supervising the transfer of our luggage and outfits to thle steamer we repaired to the
hotel and retired for the night. A delightful cool lake breeze added greatly to the attractive












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


charms of the locality, and contributed, with the soothing sound of the light surf of the lake
breaking on the sandy beach, to a recuperating sleep after the heat of the day. Five o'clock next
morning had been fixed by the captain of the steamer as the hour of leaving, but at 2 o'clock
the whistle commenced to blow, the passengers were aroused, the little hotel thrown into great
commotion, and after taking some bread and coffee and a hasty walk on the beach, we found our-
selves on board the little craft. She left the wharf at 3 a. m., arriving at Managua at 7.30 a. m., a
distance of about thirty miles.
President Cardenas, who had been absent from the capital on account of a death in his family,
was returning from the town of Rivas on the afternoon of the day of our arrival. The minister of
the treasury kindly extended to us an invitation to go with a party of Government officials in a
special train to meet his excellency at Masaya and escort him to the capital. This act of courtesy
was accepted with the same cordiality in which it was offered, and leaving Managua at 2 p. m.
we arrived at Masaya at 3 o'clock, the distance of 21 miles having been run in just an hour. The
President extended us a very hearty welcome. The train returning to Managua at 5.15 p. m. At
noon on the 11th, Captain Cooke, with the officers of the Lackawanna and the surveying party,
called in a body to pay an official visit to the President, who extended us a cordial reception, in
the course of which he emphatically expressed the hope that the American Congress would ratify
the pending canal treaty, as he felt confident the Nicaraguan Congress would do without serious
opposition, and that he would be thus fortunate enough to see the work inaugurated during the
time of his administration. During the 11th and 12th I had private interviews with his excellency,
in which he repeatedly manifested a decided interest in favor of the construction of the canal and
a desire to promote and assist in the proposed surveys. He gave me letters for the prefect of
Granada, the agent of the Nicaraguan Steam Navigation Company, and for the governors at San
Carlos, Fort Castillo, and San Juan del Norte (Greytown), directing their unqualified support in
all matters pertaining to the work. These instructions were found, later, of much value, in the
assistance rendered by those officials in enlisting the proper men for the work, in excluding all men
thus engaged from forced military service, and in other matters which contributed in a marked
degree to our comfort and the better success of the survey.
Un the morning of the 13th we left Managua in a special train furnished by the Government.
Upon arriving at Masaya, at that time the terminus of the road, the freight and luggage were
placed on two carts and started immediately for Granada. We followed at 11.30 a. m. in carriages,
arriving at that town at 1.30 p. m. From that day to the 19th our time was employed in over-
hauling the instruments and camp equipage, in obtaining additional outfits, and in enlisting a
number of natives as macheteros. The compensation agreed upon for these men was 20 soles per
month, food and transportation each way. Mr. Enrique Cole, the son of an American citizen, was
engaged as rodman at the rate of 60 soles per month, board and transportation. This young man
had been employed by me on similar work some years before, and had rendered good service. Mr.
Peary made adjustments of the transit, gradienter, &c., and Mr. Chambers devoted his time to ad-
justing his level and taking photographs of objects of interest in and about the city.
I had been informed by the Department at Washington that Passed Assistant Surgeon John F.
Bransford, U. S. N., had been ordered to proceed from the South Pacific Station to Panama, and there
report to me for duty in connection with the surveying expedition. Failing to reach Panama before
our departure for Corinto, I left instructions for him, with the American consul at that place, to pro-
ceed upon the first opportunity to Nicaragua, and report to me there, in compliance with his orders.
Arriving at San Juan del Sur on the 14th, he reported by telegraph and was ordered to proceed
to Granada without delay and report in person, which he did on the morning of the 17th. The
party was now properly organized and equipped and ready for work, waiting only for transportation.
This had been somewhat delayed by injuries received by the lake steamer, and an effort of the
company to make the necessary repairs thereto. On the morning of the 19th the party left
Granada with all the necessary equipage, nine natives, and two men enlisted as cooks, and second
chairman. On the following morning we arrived at San Carlos, the outlet of Lake Nicaragua.
Here another delay of twenty-four hours was caused by the transfer of freight on the river steamer
for Greytown. Two canoes, with their necessary paddles, were engaged at 65 cents per day for
the two, for use in the survey; and on the morning of the 21st another start was made down the











8 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

river San Juan, which took us to Castillo Rapids, 37 miles from the lake, at 11.30 a. m. The
balance of the day was spent here in another transfer to a third steamer at the foot of the rapids.
Messrs. Peary and Chambers utilized a part of the time in exploring the surroundings and in
taking photographs of the old historic Spanish fort and other places of interest in that picturesque
locality.
FIELD-WORK.

Early on the morning of the 22d we left Castillo, in hopes to reach our point of destination in
time to land the equipage and outfit, put up the tents, make ourselves comfortable for the night,
and complete the necessary preparations to start the work of survey on the following day.
I had in contemplation two important modifications of the canal line located by the United
States surveying expedition of 1872-'73, either of which, if found to be practicable, would shorten
the distance very materially; simplify the engineering problem by the elimination of sharp curves,
and a reduction of the watershed that.had to be taken care of, by the old location, and diminish
the cost considerably.
One of these changes consisted in the construction of a dam just below the confluence of the
rivers San Juan and Sarapiqui, by which 22- additional miles of the San Juan River could be made
navigable, and the actual canal excavation, from the dam to Greytown, reduced to about 21 miles,
through a comparatively level country. Col. 0. W. Childs, a well-known American engineer, who,
in 1850-'51, made the first careful instrumental survey for a canal by this route for the "American
Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company," had proposed to raise the waters of the river about
14 feet by the construction of a dam at that point; and later, in 1879, Mr. Blanchett, an enthusiastic
Frenchman, had proposed to convert the river above that point into an extension of the lake, by
the construction of a dam 74 feet high at the same place. While engaged in the United States
Government surveys of 1872-'73, and in subsequent trips by the river in later years, I had
occasion to observe high land on both sides of the river at that point, but I had no opportunity
to make a careful examination of the right bank of the river with a view to secure slackwater
navigation down to that point, and it was my purpose now to definitely establish the practicability
of that problem by a thorough investigation of all the facts connected therewith.
The other proposed change consisted in locating a line from Greytown direct to the val
ley of the river San Francisco, and through this valley to the river San Juan. This route
suggested itself to me while surveying the basin of the river San Juanillo in 1876, and again in
1880, in a reconnaissance undertaken for the purpose of obtaining further information on the same
subject. Limited time and insufficient means prevented me from carrying an instrumental exam.
nation across the "divide" and into the valley of the San Francisco, and I was, to my great dis-
appointment, compelled to abandon the exploration while there yet remained about eight miles to
connect with my preliminary survey of the valley of the San Francisco in 1873. However, I went
far enough to satisfy me that there was no serious obstacle in the way to prevent the location of
such a line; and to establish its practicability beyond doubt, by an instrumental survey, was, in
my opinion, essential before the final route could be regarded as located.
It was decided to first examine the location for a dam at Sarapiqui, all future operations to be
subordinate to the result of our investigation at this point. The party arrived at the confluence
of that river with the San Juan at 2.30 p. m. of the 22d; the stores and equipage were immediately
landed, the ground cleared of the undergrowth and the tents set up, so that by 5 o'clock the stores
were properly protected from the weather, dinner served to all hands, and every one made as com-
fortable as the circumstances would permit. The day had been showery, and the ground being
uncomfortably damp, the necessary precautions were taken to avoid sickness.
Soon after landing a disagreeable incident took place, which I feared at the time might prove
a serious obstacle in the prosecution of the survey. The custom-house officer of the Government
of Costa Rica, stationed at that place, informed me that while he would not object to our camp
being established on Costa Rican territory or to the prosecution of the land survey, he could not
permit an examination of the river Sarapiqui, or even an ascent of that stream, without previous
instruction from his Government. I assured him that our mission was of a peaceful nature and
directly in the interest of Central America in general and of Nicaragua and Costa Rica in particu-












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY. 9

lar-the two states especially benefited by the construction of the canal; and even showed him
a telegram from the President of Nicaragua, dated the 18th of the same month, by which I was
informed that the President of Costa Rica would direct her employs not to place any obstructions
in the way of the proposed explorations and surveys. That officer, however, seemed determined
to carry out his decision, and said that while he firmly believed the character of our mission to be
as I had represented, yet his instructions were such that he could not consent to a survey of the
river without gross violation of his duty. He would, however, start a courier immediately for the
interior, and in about ten days he had no doubt a satisfactory answer would be received. I was
much annoyed by this unexpected check at the start, but continued to make our preparations to
commence the work of cross-sectioning the river San Juan, and to carry the survey as far as
practicable into the country lying between the rivers San Juan and Sarapiqui, trusting that in the
mean time matters would take a more favorable aspect. It will be seen hereafter that I was not
disappointed in my expectations, and that the Government of Costa Rica disapproved the action of
this employ, and instructed him, and also the commandant at the mouth of the river San Carlos,
to render me any assistance in their power.
On the morning of the 23d I left camp, Mr. Peary, Mr. Cole, the rodman, and nine men, and,
beginning at a point on the left bank of the river San Juan, started the first cross-section connect-
ing two elevations favorably located on either side of the river as abutments for a dam. Mr.
Chambers remained in camp to straighten up matters while the transit line was being advanced
sufficiently to allow the running of the spirit level. But little advance could be made in the fore-
noon, as Mr. Peary and myself had all we could attend to in initiating the green hands in a work
entirely novel to them. However, by noon they were pretty well broken in and the always difficult
and arduous operation of cutting a trail through the dense forest and undergrowth, interwoven
with thorny vines, was progressing well, but slowly. Mr. Peary succeeded in carrying the transit
line to the summit of the hill on the right bank, a distance of about 1,200 feet from the water's
edge. This elevation was found by the pocket aneroid to be 175 feet above the water in the river.
In the mean time, I had been questioning Mr. Dezman, an old resident at the moufh of the Sar-
apiqui, and supposed to be well informed as to the topography of the neighboring country. He
stated that a wet swamp extended for several miles back of the hill on the right, and that this
swamp was drained by two creeks; one emptying into the San Juan but a short distance below,
the other into the Sarapiqui about two miles above its mouth. In times of flood he thought the
headwaters of these creeks were united, thus converting the hill in question, as it were, into an
island. The information was unquestionably but little encouraging to the end we had in view,
but I was not disposed to give up the idea of the proposed improvement in location on the strength
of his statements. I decided to satisfy myself of the facts by personal investigation, and to that
end I felt the pressing need of exploring at once the Sarapiqui and the creek mentioned by Mr.
Dezman. I concluded, therefore, to make another effort to obtain the consent of the Costa Rican
officer, and for that purpose I made an official call, in course of which I succeeded in securing the
privilege of ascending the river in boats, provided no instrumental survey was undertaken pre-
vious to receiving the consent of his Government.
Early on the morning of the 24th, Mr. Peary was directed to continue his survey of the pre-
vious day down the southern side of the hill, and, in case he should descend to the level of the
immediate banks of the San Juan, to make a reconnaissance westerly and around its base, with a
view, rather to satisfy himself whether there existed any connection with a continuous range
extending to the interior, than to make a formal survey of the locality. Mr. Chambers was ordered
to ascend the Sarapiqui in a canoe as far as practicable, so that he could return to camp by sun-
down, to examine the characteristics of the stream, the height of the banks and of the adjacent
valleys, and to obtain such other information as might be of interest in connection with the prob-
lem. I went in another canoe with Dr. Bransford and five men up the same river, and when
about one-and-a-half miles from the San Juan entered a narrow creek coming from the right bank.
We traveled about eight miles in a southeasterly direction and found the ground on both sides
very low and swampy, generally below high-water mark, as indicated by driftwood and even large
logs lodged in the branches of trees on the banks. At several places I left the canoe and made
examinations for several hundred feet from the stream, the result being, in every instance, a gradual









REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


fall of the land from the banks of the creek for a short distance and flat, swampy land beyond,
with but few large trees, the black palm, peculiar to the swamps, prevailing everywhere. The
general direction of our course was such as to have intercepted the cross-section for the dam-
started by Mr. Peary-if continued. Soon after our return to camp Mr. Peary came in with the
information that the hill under consideration was surrounded by land, generally below high-water
mark. Shortly after Mr. Chambers also returned. He had gone about ten miles up the Sarapiqui
without discovering any indications of high land on either side.
It had been established beyond a doubt in our minds that to raise the water of the San Juan
by a dam at that point was impossible, and that any further explorations at that place would be
useless. I concluded, therefore, to move camp as soon as practicable to the mouth of the river San
Francisco, and from there start an instrumental reconnaissance along the valley of that stream
and in the direction of Greytown. The next day, the 25th of January, being Sunday, and as I
perceived the necessity of appointing an agent at Greytown, to whom I could apply from time to
time for men or supplies as might be needed, and of settling some pending accounts, and enlisting
a few more men for the extensive survey about to be commenced far from lines of communication,
I left at 6 a. m. with Messrs. Peary and Chambers for Greytown on the small river steamer Mari-
posa, of the Lake and River Navigation Company, leaving Dr. Bransford in charge of the
camp, with instructions to the effect that in case I should fail to return by Monday morning he was
to proceed with nine men in two canoes to the mouth of the river San Francisco and there select
a suitable place for the new camp, clear the ground preparatory to setting up the tents and sheds,
and return to Camp Cardenas before night.
We reached Greytown at 1.30 p. m. I proceeded immediately to the office of F. A. Pellas &
Co. on business connected with the survey. Mr. Peary started to reconnoiter the town and harbor,
and Mr. Chambers made good use of the photographic apparatus, taking views of many places of
interest both in the town and harbor. Having settled the pending accounts with F. A. Pellas,
who kindly consented to act as agent for the party, and engaged another canoe, four men as
macheteros, and a cook, we left Greytown early the next day on the same steamer, Mariposa, for
the Sarapiqui. The low water in the river and the defective machinery of the boat made our trip
up the river vexatious in the extreme. After continuous traveling for nearly 24 hours, we reached
the Sarapiqui, 31 miles from Greytown, at 6 a. m. of the 27th, the rate of speed being a little over
one mile per hour. The tired crew of the steamer was allowed a few hours' rest while the stores
and camp equipage were being put on board by the other men, and at 11.20 a. m. the whole party,
distributed in the little craft and the three canoes, started for the new camp. The progress made
up stream was not an improvement on that of the trip from Greytown, and it was already 6.30 in
the evening when we reached the new camp. The tents were put up at once, and by 8 p. m. all
hands were comfortably located for the night. Next morning the stores were landed and the
Mariposa returned to the Nicaragua Mail Steamship Navigation Company. At II a. m. Mr. Peary
started the transit line from a point on the bank of the San Juan located by the expedition of
1872-'73, and succeeded in running 2,i 00 feet on the right bank of the river San Francisco. Above
this point the stream makes a decided turn to the northwest, and as the object of this survey was
only to locate the divide between the valleys of the San Francisco and San Juanillo with reference
to the old survey, and to transfer the level from a well known bench on the bank of the San Juan
to that point, it was thought best to cross the line to the left bank, and to run more to the easterly
in the direction of Greytown. The level was not run on that day, Mr. Chambers being engaged in
straightening up matters in camp. Game seemed to be rather abundant in the vicinity, as the
doctor had killed in the morning, but a short distance from camp, three turkeys and a mount-
ain hen.
At 7 a. m. on the 29th, both the transit and level parties were in the field, Mr. Peary at the
head of the line with the transit, and Mr. Chambers following close with the level. Dr. Bransford
had kindly volunteered to instruct the chairman in marking the stakes and keeping the notes,
while I was moving from one party to the other, as circumstances required. The ground gone
over was alternately swampy and hilly, and covered (as is invariably the case in those tropical
countries) with a dense vegetation, through which every foot of the trail had to be cut with the
machetes, a slow and tiresome operation, for which the native laborer is especially fitted. But in












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA. SURVEYING PARTY.


spite of these difficulties a fair progress was made, and when work was stopped at 5 p. m., the
transit had advanced about a mile beyond the starting point in the morning, and the level had
covered 5,728 feet, which may be regarded as a good day's work under the conditions. All hands
had by that time become acquainted with their various duties, and from that day on, the work
being carried forward without friction, many minor details of the every day routine may, for the
sake of conciseness, be hereafter omitted.
The transit line was pushed forward by daily advances of from 3,000 to 6,500 feet, but the
general northeasterly direction we had started with, leading toward where the best pass through
the divide was supposed to exist, could not be maintained without much delay, on account of the
very high and steep spurs projecting from the main range constantly blocking our way. To run a
transit and level-line over such a succession of high hills is necessarily a slow and tiresome oper-
ation, and one subject to errors through the many instrumental stations required.
It was thought more expedient to avoid the high land as much as possible by deflecting the
line around the bases of the highest spurs; the distance traversed was thus considerably increased,
and the work carried to the wet swamps, where traveling was fatiguing in the extreme, officers
and men being compelled in many instances to go over long distances buried to the waist in mud
Und water, with a very uncertain bottom to stand upon. However, the cutting was lighter than
on firm land, the instrumental stations less frequent, and the work could be advanced more rapidly.
While the work was being thus carried on, I made daily explorations of all the main branches of
the river San Francisco and the many tributaries contained in the basin, and especially those
coming from the east.
In these reconnaissances I was generally accompanied by Dr. Bransford, who was always
anxious and willing to co-operate with his services even beyond his professional duties. He made
it a rule to always carry the shotgun with him, and in this way contributed greatly to the comfort
and health of the party by obtaining an abundant supply of excellent game. In returning to
camp on the evening of January 30, after an extensive examination of one of the tributaries of
the San Francisco, named later Caio de los Chancos, the doctor had succeeded in packing the
canoe with five turkeys, four wild pigs, and several pounds of fresh fish. It is needless to say
that on this, as well as in many other similar occasions, he met with a hearty reception in camp,
where the canned meats were already becoming rather unpopular.
About three miles above the San Juan, the river San Francisco divides into two branches; the
main stream takes in its sinuous course a generally northwesterly direction through a broad and
comparatively level valley, confined by two ranges of hills of variable elevation, with projecting
spurs expanding and contracting the valley, which at no place is less than 1,500 feet wide, while
the average is about a mile between the hills. The river, or, more properly, the creek, runs about
the center of the valley, the elevation of which is about 60 feet above the sea. It has a mean
width of about 50 feet between its clay banks, and a flow in the dry season of not more than 100
cubic feet per second. The other branch, or tributary, named by us Cafo de los Chanchos," runs
in a remarkably sinuous course in an easterly direction, through a wide level valley, thickly cov-
ered with heavy timber, for a distance of about four miles from the main stream. Two and a half
miles above the confluence with the San Francisco, it receives another small creek coming from the
left bank, and one and a half miles further on it divides itself again into two watercourses of
about equal size, one descending from the north and the other from the east. To the first tributary
we gave the name of "Cahito Limpio;" to the second one approaching from the east, Arroyo de
las Cascadas;" the other branch retaining the name of "Caio de los Chanchos." It may be proper
to say here that the term "calo," as here used, is intended to mean a small stream or creek, the
application given in Nicaragua, and is by no means the same as "caion" or "canyon" as applied
in the Western Territories to a deep gorge or ravine, between high and steep banks, worn by water-
courses.
The examination of these streams showed very favorable indications for the location of the
canal, both on account of their direction and the features of their valleys. Caflito Limpio and the
Arroyo are separated only by a small triangular-shaped tract of rolling country, their headwaters
coming almost in close contact near the summit of the dividing ridge. The valley of the Caiito is,










REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


however, more in a direct course to Greytown, and it was decided to first run the transit and level
lines up that stream, and when the actual level and location of its headwaters were accurately
ascertained, we would be better able to compare with other depressions leading to the passes and
to the basin of the San Juanillo River.
On the evening of the 3d of February the survey had reached the banks of the Cafiito. The
work was already too far from Camp Chandler, on the bank of the San Juan, requiring two and
one-half hours of fast and fatiguing walk, by the trail, over hills and through swamps, in going to
and from the head of the line. It was evident that the operation of moving camp in advance of
the present end of our work was going to be a serious and difficult undertaking, demanding much
time and arduous labor to transport the stores and camp equipage on men's shoulders, over our
long and rough trail, and involving much loss of our limited time, and extraordinary efforts, which
could only end in the complete exhaustion of our small force, and probably much sickness. The
transportation by water was partially free for about three miles, the balance of the distance, up the
Chanchos and Caiiito, being much obstructed by low water and numerous fallen trees and drifted
logs, which would have to be removed, or the loaded canoes pulled or lifted bodily over them.
This method seemed to present less serious objections than the former, and it was finally adopted.
Immediately upon our return to camp that evening, Mr. Chambers commenced the packing of two
weeks' provisions, and preparing for transportation such other camp equipage as.might be forwarded
at once, so as to make a load of not more than 800 pounds for each of our three canoes. Mr.
Peary was ordered to start early next morning with three picked men in each canoe, provided
with axes, machettes, paddles, and poles, and to push his way as rapidly as possible up the San
Francisco, Chanchos, and Cafito, and to establish camp on the banks of the latter stream as far
in advance of the then present terminus of our line as practicable. The work of assorting and
packing the provisions so as to be properly protected from water was not completed until late
that night. Early next morning the miniature fleet left Camp Chandler in a driving rain, every
one fully appreciating the privations and hard work in store for them, but not the less cheerful
and determined to do their full duty nevertheless. It took Mr. Peary and his small but faithful
party of natives three days of constant hard work to reach the point of destination, and one day to
return to Camp Chandler with the canoes. During those four days that officer and his men were
constantly working in the water, removing logs, pulling the canoes over mud banks and flounder-
ing through deep pools from one obstruction to another, or lifting them bodily over logs too large
to be cut by the axe; resting only at night on the banks of the streams, with green palm leaves
for a bed, and rubber blankets as their only protection. While fully appreciating all the difficul-
ties of the undertaking, I had underestimated the time required for the trip, and after the second
day I commenced to feel quite anxious about Mr. Peary's return; not that I feared the delay to
be due to any serious accident, but simply on account of the time consumed in that manner while
there yet remained so much to be done. His delay I could only explain by the fact that he had
encountered more serious obstacles than had been anticipated, and having been ordered to accom-
plish a certain object, I knew him too well to entertain even the most distant idea that he would
return leaving it undone. He with his party returned on the evening of the 7th, and the next
day being Sunday, it was thought best to give the men a day of much needed rest; and that was
the last Sunday the party spent in camp during the prosecution of the survey. After that day
the men were allowed extra compensation for holidays, and the work went on continuously to the
end.
Having stored the provisions on hand and all but the most absolutely essential luggage in
the shed built for that special purpose, I left a man in charge of the same, with instructions to
obtain and deliver mail, receive stores, &c., from passing steamers; and on the morning of February
9th the whole party started in three canoes, with the tents, light baggage, the instruments, and as
much of the provisions as could be carried. The difficulties met with were of a nature similar to
those already described, except that, with the way partially cleared by Mr. Peary, a large working
force, and the valuable assistance of Mr. Chambers, who, like Mr. Peary, by word and personal
exertions encouraged the men to constant action, the trip was made in two days, and at 4 p. m. of
the 10th the three canoes had arrived at the new camp. Before night set in all hands were












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


made comfortable; and with a hearty hot dinner, at which four turkeys killed by the doctor and
Mr. Peary were much relished, the party turned in for a needed night's rest. The new camp was
named after President Cleveland.
Early on the following day the transit and level line was resumed and pushed up the valley
of the Cafito until the evening of the 13th, when we reached the foothills of the dividing ridge.
At that point the valley of the Caffito divides, one branch rising to the southeastward, the other
to the northeast; the latter confined by abrupt steep interlocking spurs, round the bases of which
the Cafiito twists and turns with all the characteristics of a mountain stream. It was thought
advisable to halt there with the transit and level, while a careful reconnaissance could be made of
all the depressions leading to and through the divide; and when the most favorable pass had been
decided upon and fixed, with reference to our transit line, the work of locating the canal would be
resumed. To the south we had a range of high hills extending over a large area as far as the San
Juan River, and connecting to the southeast with the San Juanillo hills, several hundred feet high.
Our only chance for success was therefore to the north and northeast, and our investigations were
directed there. With the view of getting some idea of the topography of the surrounding country,
to guide us in the proposed explorations-that region being uninhabited and entirely unknown,
even to the natives engaged in rubber hunting-Mr. Peary ascended a high tree on the top of a
hill back of Camp Cleveland, and from this elevation obtained a good idea of the topography of
the country to the northwest, north, and northeast; his view to the east and southeast being
obscured by neighboring high trees. To the north-northeast he perceived a marked depression in
the hills inclosing the San Francisco basin, and on the morning of the 14th he left camp with three
men to run a line of reconnaissance N. 260 E. in the direction of this depression.
In 6,300 feet he came to a stream flowing west, supposed at the time to be the Chanchos, his
line cutting this stream just below a waterfall about 30 feet high, which was afterwards named,
at his suggestion, Saltos de Elvira."
In the meantime Mr. Chambers was pushing the level up to the end of the Limpio line, and
Dr. Bransford and myself, starting in a northeast direction from the last station of that line, in
about 3,000 feet came to a stream running over a rocky bed, with considerable descent, in a north
by west course.
The next five days were devoted to a rapid yet systematic and thorough reconnaissance of
the entire eastern portion of the water-basin of the San Francisco and the streams descending into
it, from and including the Arroya de las Cascadas, to a distance of over three miles to the north.
To accomplish this Mr. Peary ran a compass line northerly and northeasterly along the western
slopes of the hills, cutting all the streams. From this line as a base he then ascended each stream
to its source, camping in the hills with one machetero while engaged in this duty, and making
excursions over the "divide" wherever there seemed favorable indications. A description of one
of these streams will serve for all, viz: Smooth, rocky bed; gradual ascent for some distance;
abrupt climb over a steep rock scarp with its talus of ragged boulders; sluggish flow for some
distance above this point; the bed full of angular fragments of black trap; disappearance of the
water; and, finally, a sudden rise of the dry bed to the summit at an elevation varying from 350 to
500 feet above sea-level. At the same time Mr. Chambers was following the streams below the
compass line to their confluences with each ,other and the Chauchos, until at last the devious
tangled threads were all united and gathered into the San Francisco.
The information obtained in these five days showed that the depression seen from Camp Cleve-
land opened into the valley of a northerly-trending stream, and if there was any pass to the eastward
from that valley it was situated so far to the north as to render a long detour necessary to utilize
it in the location of the canal. I therefore considered the entire region north of the Arroya de
las Cascadas as eliminated from further consideration, and as all indications pointed unmistakably
to the valley of the Arroya as offering the most encouraging prospects for the desired location, I
again dispatched Mr. Peary to the "divide" early on the 20th, with four men and provisions for
five days, to explore the region to the eastward and southeastward of his previous work.
On the same day Mr. Chambers made a reconnaissance of the valley of the Chauchos by run-
ping about a mile northwest from the confluence of the Limpio, in order to ascertain the character









REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


of the country and the difficulties likely to be met in building the canal on a line north of that
stream and on a straight line directly from the valley of the San Francisco to the divide. He found
the country geiierally level, with occasional undulations, and isolated hills not more than 25 to 40
feet high. By climbing a high tree at the summit of one of these elevations, he succeeded in
obtaining a fair commanding view of the high ranges surrounding the valley, of which he made a
careful sketch. This method of obtaining information as to the topography was taken advantage
of whenever practicable, and it saved much labor and contributed in a great measure to the favor-
able results accomplished by the party. In making an extensive and detailed topographical survey
of that region, where the engineer can only ascertain what lies 10 feet ahead of him by cutting
his way through the dense vegetation, the construction of towers of observation on several prom-
inent points, and perhaps reconnaissances by balloon, would be the means of obtaining readily, and
at comparatively small expense, information which would require, by the system we were compelled
to adopt for want of other means, many months of arduous labor.
A painful indisposition had kept me in camp for the past four days, but I was now able to go
about, and on the 21st we moved our camp to the banks of the Chauchos, opposite the branch of
the Cahito. We had already commenced to feel the difficulty of obtaining our supply of provisions
from the depot at Camp Chandler, on the banks of the San Juan; the water was daily growing
lower in the creeks, and places where the canoes had passed, either over or under large logs a few
days before, were now entirely blocked up; consequently the loads had to be reduced and a longer
time allowed for a trip.
Our small force of macheteros had been somewhat lessened of late on account of sore feet and
bruised limbs, and the detail of three of our best men to handle the canoes in the transportation
of provisions was an additional task which affected very seriously the efficiency of the party for
work. In anticipation of this drawback, I had sent to Greytown for four men, and this much-
needed reinforcement, and a load of the most-needed articles of food, were received at Camp
Morgan on the evening of the 21st. The camp had been so named in consideration of the interest
manifested by the honorable Senator from Alabama in the canal question.
On the morning of the 22d we started the transit line from the right bank of the Cafiito Limpio,
up the valley of the Chauchos, over generally level country, with small sections of swamp, Mr.
Chambers at the instrument, the doctor regarding my condition as unfit yet for active field-work.
About 10 a. m. on the 24th, while on the line, I met Mr. Peary returning from his exploring
expedition to the eastern slope of the divide. He reported that after three days spent in a thorough
and extended examination of the divide, and all the streams descending its easterly slopes, he had
the previous day gone from a small tributary of the Arroya de las Cascadas, over the divide, which
he crossed at an elevation of about 280 feet, into the valley of a stream descending over a precipit-
ous rocky bed, in a southeasterly and then easterly direction; had followed this stream for several
miles beyond the summit, reaching a point at which his aneroid gave a reading of only 25 feet
above sea-level, and had satisfied himself that the valley of this stream was the only one present-
ing any favorable features for the location of the canal.
It has been thought proper to refer here somewhat in detail to all the work done in exploring
the dividing ridge, so as to show that the selection of the pass and the location of the canal line was
not decided upon in haste, but was the result of a thorough investigation and mature consideration
of all the facts connected therewith. This information was mainly obtained through the untiring
energy, skill, and devotion to duty of Civil Engineer Peary, who, under the discomforts and hard-
ships endured through many rainy days in the field, and many nights with only a few palm leaves
for shelter, and a rubber blanket thrown over a pile of leaves for a bed, and scanty rations, never
flinched while there was work to be done. The accompanying skeleton sketch shows the different
lines run in that region before the location of the line was finally decided upon.
On the 25th the location of the line was continued from the confluence of the Chauchos and
the Arroya, up the valley of the latter, to the Saltos de Elvira; Mr. Peary in charge of the location
and Mr. Chambers following closely with the level. While at Camp Cleveland, on the 12th of
February, I received a personal note from President Cardenas, of Nicaragua, requesting me to
proceed to Managua as soon as possible to confer with him on canal matters. It was my duty,












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


according to my instructions, to comply with that request without delay, but while waiting for the
river steamer due at San Francisco on the 19th on her way up, I was taken painfully ill, and had
to postpone my departure for the next trip, on the 26th.
The survey would soon be carried across the divide and down the eastern slope toward
Greytown, and the difficulties of providing the party with provisions from the station on the river
San Juan would necessarily grow more serious as the work advanced. This could only result in
an uncertain and probably insufficient supply of food, and in an unsatisfactory progress of the work,
through the diversion of a number of the best men for that duty. Mr. Peary had followed the
eastern stream, which had been named the Deseado, to the head of canoe navigation; and it was
regarded as a matter of the utmost importance, under the circumstances, to open communication
with Greytown, whence men and stores could then be easily obtained. This had to be done by
water, and I felt confident, from my knowledge of the valley of the San Juanillo, and of the lagoons
east of Greytown, that the Deseado emptied into Benard's lagoon, which was of easy access by the
San Juanillo-this stream being navigable by canoe at all stages of water from Greytown. Dr.
Bransford, always anxious to contribute to the success of the party, volunteered to attempt the
opening of that much-needed water-way, and his services were readily accepted. It was decided,
therefore, that he should leave with me on the following day and try to reach Greytown as rapidly
as possible. In that place he was to engage a guide, canoes, and men, and with a fair amount of
provisions proceed up the Deseado and meet the party. This was thought less uncertain, from the
fact that Mr. Peary had discovered on the banks of the stream several huts, recently abandoned
by rubber hunters, evidently from Greytown; and it might be supposed that some of these men
could be easily found in that small settlement who would be willing to give information or act as
guide, for a compensation.
Leaving Mr. Peary in charge of the survey, and Mr. Chambers of the camp organization and
provisions-while assisting in the work of location-I left Camp Morgan, with Dr. Bransford, on
the 26th of February, for the landing at Camp Chandler; the steamer for the interior being due
either that evening or the following day. But after anxiously waiting for three days, with no
news from the steamer, we left in our canoe for the junction of the Colorado, where the steamer
was supposed to be moored. Coming on board at 8 p. m. we were told that she had been delayed
waiting for some freight, but would start next day on her trip up the river. The expected cargo
having arrived on the afternoon of the 2d of March, the doctor left for Greytown with letters for
our agent there, and for the governor of the town, requesting their assistance in the discharge of
his mission, and soon after I left on the steamer on my way (as I expected) for Managua. The
canoe had been returned to Camp Morgan with a full load of much-needed provisions.
I arrived at Castillo Rapids at noon of the 4th, to find that the steamer for Granada had left
the day b'ifore, and that the next trip would be made on the 14th. As my instructions required
me to leave Nicaragua for the United States not later than April 1, it was evident that I could not,
at that late date, go to Managua, then return to Greytown, close the accounts of the expedition,
then come up the river, join the party, and proceed to Corinto in time to take the mail steamer of
April 8 for Panama.
I had applied for an extension of time, but had not as yet received an answer to my request.
I wrote to President Cardenas, from Castillo, explaining my inability to respond to his call, and
sent to Granada a cablegram to be forwarded to the Department, repeating my request for an
extension of time during April. I thought that the best course for me to pursue under the cir-
cumstances would be to go direct to Greytown, settle our accounts, and if the doctor had succeeded
in communicating with the surveying party (as I felt confident he would do), to join them and
make arrangements for our departure for home according to circumstances. However, fearing
that a connection might fail in that direction, I ordered Messrs. Peary and Chambers that, unless
otherwise directed, they should stop the work of survey in time to be at Camp Chandler with the
party, on the 29th of March, to meet me on my way from Greytown. It was my intention at that
time to make certain surveys in the vicinity of the forks of the San Carlos and San Juan for a dam
across the latter river, before taking final leave for home on the steamer of the 27th at San Carlos,
and which would reach Granada on the 1st of April.












16 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

I left Castillo on the 5th and reached Greytown on the Light of the 6th of March. To my great
disappointment I was informed that Dr. Bransford had left on the morning of that day for the RPi
Indio, as I had been hoping to arrive there in time to meet and join him on his trip. The next day I
received a note left by him, stating the particulars of his arrangements for a trip into the Rio Indio
Lagoons in search of the party. He said to have secured a very good guide, but while not familiar
with those lagoons-which I understood to be connected with Benard's Lagoons-I felt some ap.
prehension for the result, as I firmly believed the quickest way to reach the Deseado was by way of
the San Juanillo and Laguna Benard. The mouth of the Rio Indio is seven miles to the northwest
of Greytown, and has been suggested as a more favorable location for the Atlantic terminus of the
canal than the latter harbor; and taking advantage of the opportunity now offered, and in my anxi-
ety to get some news from the doctor, I concluded to visit the place and ascend the river sufficiently
to get a fair idea of its conditions. Leaving on the morning of the 9th of March with General Isidro
Urtecho, governor of Greytown, and the United States consul, Mr. William A. Brown, Mr. H. F.
Bringham, the English consul, and other gentlemen; I proceeded to the mouth of Rio Indio, making
a careful inspection of the coast on the way, and, after carefully examining the locality, went sev-
eral miles up the stream in a canoe, taking soundings both going and returning. The river runs
for several miles nearly parallel to the coast, in a northwesterly and southeasterly course, emptying
into the sea with the last direction, that being the line of least resistance as it flows into the trough
of the waves. The bar is subject to frequent changes, due to the powerful forces of the seas on the
one hand and the flow of the river on the other, struggling for supremacy over the sandy beach
and banks at the outlet. Large portions of these banks are at times scoured out by the river into
the sea, only to be returned by the latter as soon as the river current subsides. At the time
of my visit the entrance was practically closed and the sea was building up the coast at a rapid
rate. The river has an average width of 600 feet between the banks for about 6 miles, the current
sluggish, the waters clear and from 16 to 18 feet deep close to the banks. The surrounding
country is flat and generally swampy and covered with palms and large trees. A layer of about
eight inches of rich soil overlies the whole area, and below that sand seems to be found to a great
depth. I was not favorably impressed with the locality as a terminus for the canal in preference
to Greytown. A harbor would have to be constructed at either place, and Greytown is the least
exposed location, and in its present condition offers greater facilities for the work and more
economical approaches for the canal. I was much disappointed in failing to get any information
as to Dr. Bransford, except that he had left on the 6th, with three men, in a rather dilapidated canoe,
bound up the river.
The next three days were passed in Greytown, going over our accounts with the agents, F. A.
Pellas & Co., and making a careful examination of the harbor, with a view to determining what
alterations, if any, had taken place since my last visit in 1880. I found no marked change in the
conditions of the outer bar or in the sand-bank blocking up the entrance, except that the curve of
deep water seemed to have receded some distance from the beach. The map of the harbor, recently
made by order of the Government of Nicaragua (a copy of which is submitted with this report),
does not show, however, any shoaling in that direction. The filling up of the inner bay (practically
a lagoon) is quite apparent, water-grass now growing luxuriantly at places where a depth of from
12 to 18 feet could be obtained five years before. It may be said, however, that this grass com-
mences to thrive at a depth of 10 or more feet where the current is not strong enough to disturb
the roots projecting to the bottom.
The doctor returned on the evening of the 12th much depressed by disappointment, the con-
tinued exposure, privations, and hardships of the last six days, and with a very sore toe from the
bite of a chigoe (nigua), a small insect, which, penetrating the flesh, deposits its eggs in a sack,
and when not properly treated is often the cause of painful inflammation, but is rarely followed by
serious consequences. The doctor had not succeeded in communicating with the party, the guide
having misled him into the tributaries of the Indian River, too far to the north and west of our
line of survey. The information he obtained, as to the condition of the river and its tributaries, is
very interesting in connection with the canal problem, and worth the effort and expense attending
his trip, but his failure in accomplishing the object of his mission was the cause of much annoyance
and disappointment. IHad he not met me in Greytown on his return, he would have started at once













REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


for Benard's Lagoon, where his pretended guide should have taken him in the first instance; but
the steamer was to leave on her up trip inside of four days, our time was limited, and even granting
that connection could be made with the party in that short time, but little would have been gained
thereby at that late date, as the work had to be stopped and all hands return to headquarters
at Camp Chandler by the 19th, preparatory to leaving for home.
We left Greytown on the evening of the 17th. The low water in the lower river had for some
time cut off the navigation by steamers, below the forks of the Colorado, and it was only after
twenty hours of constant hard work, by passengers and crew, that we were able to get over that
shor' distance in a light canoe, and boarding the steamer on the afternoon of the following day
she soon started on her upward trip, reaching our camp -at San Francisco on the morning of the
19th. Here I met the whole party; all well and cheerful, but showing by their ragged looks
unmistakable signs of the hardships they had passed through. After I left the party, Mr. Peary
had continued the transit line, his progress, however,-being much retarded during the first ten
days on account of insufficient force and the reconnaissances necessary to keep the line in the most
favorable location, through the broken and densely wooded spurs, and to satisfy himself beyond
a doubt that the line was following'the lowest and most economical route over the divide; but the
location was prosecuted, in spite of the many privations, hardships, and copious rains, until the
16th of March, when work was suspended and the party returned to Camp Chandler, which was
reached on the evening of the 18th, the line having been advanced over the divide and down the
valley of the Deseado to station 278, a short distance below Peary's farthest of February 23.
The level gave the water in the Deseado, near this station, as 29.56 feet above the sea. Mr.
Peary had also, in an attempt to open communication with Dr. Bransford, defended the Deseado,
reaching on March 12 a point within some eight miles of Greytown, but was unable to go further
for lack of time.
A general glance at the features of the route followed by the transit line during this time,
and of the region traversed by Mr. Peary in his reconnaissances beyond station 278, will not be
out of place here, and will assist the reader to better follow the references and the detailed descrip-
tion of the canal location in the succeeding section of this report.
Leaving the Chanchos line, near the junction of the Arroya and Chanchos, the "divide" line
passes up the broad level valley of the Arroya in a nearly due east direction to the Saltos de
Elvira, thence along the upper valley (a counterpart of the lower), still in an easterly direction, to
the Groaning Tree Fork. Here the Arroya divides into two equal branches; one climbing the
high hills to the north, the other rising in a generally easterly direction to the "divide." The line
follows the valley of the latter, which rises gradually, confined by hills of moderate elevation,
sufficiently wide apart at their bases to leave ample room for the canal to the "divide," a small
nearly level plain about half a mile across, hemmed in by high hills to the north and south, while
to the west and southwest the Arroya and Limpio glide away to the San Francisco; and to the east
the Deseado, forcing its way through a narrow gorge, falls an almost continuous cataract to the
basin of the San Juanillo. Crossing this diminutive plateau in a due east direction, the line enters
the valley of the Deseado, and follows closely the course of that stream, as it descends rapidly in a
rocky bed between opposing spurs and over abrupt ledges, in a general southeast direction, until
within the distance of a mile it has dropped some 210 feet.
Not far below this point the Deseado takes a tributary from the southeast equal in size to
itself, and thence flows in a generally east-northeast direction, through a comparatively broad,
gently sloping valley, to station 276, where it is 29.56 feet above the sea-level. Here, freeing itself
entirely from the crowding hills, the stream rounds the extremity of the precipitous range,
which has been confining it on the north, and stretches away to the northeast, in sinuous contor-
tions, for a distance of a little over two miles, as the crow flies. At this point it receives another
tributary about half the size of itself, from the north, and a short distance further on rounds a
high hill to the south and resumes an almost due east-northeast direction toward the San Juanillo,
which direction it retains until within about a mile of the above-mentioned stream; there, doubling
the southern extremity of a low ridge, coming from the north, it stretches away northerly to La-
guna Benard, and thence into the San Juanillo.
S. Ex, 99- 2













REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


The valley of this eastern stream may be thus divided into four distinct sections between the
point where the line first cuts it and the end of Mr. Peary's reconnaissance, near which point, as will
be seen further on, the line of the canal leaves it to intersect the San Juanillo. First, the little
plain at the "divide," forming the upper valley through which it flows, in long doubling bends,
between perpendicular banks cut in the soft soil, 4 to 8 feet deep, a sluggish stream 10 to 15 feet
with scarcely perceptible current. Just at the eastern edge of this plain it takes in a considerable
water-course draining the hills to the north, and just below this point it makes a peculiar loop
around a projecting spur, and enters the second or cataract section. Here, for a distance of a
mile and a half by the line (three-quarters, as the crow flies), the stream turns and twists amongst
crowding mountain spurs, in a generally southeasterly course, its bed for the most part solid rock,
plunges headlong over several series of beautiful.cascades, below which the" bed is full of large,
rounded masses of rock, growing smaller and smaller until they finally disappear, and the stream
enters on the third section. Long, straight reaches, stretching northeasterly; the bed of the stream
60 to 75 feet wide, but shallow; a clear sand. gravel, or cemented gravel bottom, over which the
water ripples rapidly; low banks; sand banks; deep pools in thelbends; low, flat plains on either side,
interrupted occasionally by spurs coming to the banks of the stream. This section extends just
about to station 276. Beyond that point to tide-water, at the lagoons, only a careful compass and
aneroid examination was made at first, sufficiently accurate, however, for an approximate location
of the line through that broad, comparatively level valley; but it will be seen further on that this
was later supplemented by an actual location.
The fourth section begins at station 276. Low, isolated hills take the place of the spurs; the
valley widens; the stream grows deep and 'sluggish, doubles and twists on itself; the banks are
covered with the dense tangle of vines peculiar to the lowlands; banks of soft mud are now met
with; old trees fill the stream, and the water assumes a smoky look; it has nearly reached the
sea-level; beyond that point to Greytown the country is a dense palm swamp of mud and water,
with several lagoons and open grass patches, but from 1 to 3 feet above sea-level.
Upon meeting the party at the San Francisco on the 19th, Mr. Peary suggested to be allowed
to return to the "divide" with three men, in order to obtain more precise information as to the
topography of the country adjacent to the line, by means of off-sets from the main transit line.
To this I readily consented, provided he would return in time to take the steamer of the 27th, and
join the party at San Carlos. He started back to the divide on the same day, and I took the bal-
ance of the party on the steamer to the mouth of the San Carlos, where we established our camp.
It was my intention now to take a number of cross-sections of the river San Juan, both above
and below the San Carlos, with a view of finding the most favorable location for a dam across
that river; and in case I should receive authority to continue the survey during the month of
April, as I had requested, I would be better prepared to commence the location of a direct line
from the site of the dam to and through the valley of the San Francisco, connecting, with our new
location in the valley of the Chanchos. I expected in this way to further reduce the line of pre-
vious surveys and dispense with some objectionable sharp curves. At any rate, should my request
be denied, I would have secured additional information on one of the most important problems
connected with the construction of the canal.
The following day we commenced the survey on the right bank of the San Juan, above the
San Carlos, for the purpose of locating two opposite high hills on either side, and thus be better
able to get the shortest line connecting the desired elevations by the crest of the dam, at the
abutments.
By noon of the 23d we had fixed the position of the dam at that point, between two rocky
hills, admirably located for the purpose, and were about to run the final profile on its axis,
when, to our great disappointment, it was found, contrary to my expectations, that the depth of
water on that line varied from 10 feet close to the bank to 60 feet or more in the middle of'the
stream. To construct, at that depth, foundations for a dam intended to raise the water about 50
feet, across such a mighty river, could be regarded only as impracticable. The proposed location
had, therefore, to be abandoned, not without deep regrets, both on account of the valuable time
consumed and because of the good features it possessed in every other respect. I had been misled
by the sounding on the chart of the river in our possession, not on account of incorrect platting,













REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY. 19

but, as was determined afterwards, by an error in reading small figures written in too close proximity.
But the bad effect of this disappointment was soon dispelled by the arrival of the mail from"
Granada, bringing the anxiously-awaited authority to continue the work, and received just in time
to prevent my discharging the force of laborers, breaking up the organization, and starting up the
river.
On the evening of that day Mr. Chambers and myself made an official call on the commandant
of Costa Rica, at the mouth of the river San Carlos, Don Juan Bart, who had arrived that morning
from ethe interior; and learning that we were surveying in the vicinity, went immediately to meet
us on the line and offer his services. He informed me of having received instructions from his
Government directing him to render me any assistance in his power, which he seemed anxious to
do. This gentleman very kindly rendered us valuable assistance on several occasions, both by
giving information as to the topography of the country, especially in the valley of the river San
Carlos, with which he and his men were familiar, and with his boats and men in moving our camp
down the river.
The next three days were spent in looking for a good site for a dam below the junction of the
river San Carlos. We succeeded in finding an excellent location just above the bend at Ochoa,
between two opposite steep and rocky hills. The river here is 1,133 feet wide, and the average
depth 6.6 feet, with a maximum depth of 17 feet at the base of the rocky abutment on the right
bank.
Careful examinations were made in different directions to satisfy ourselves that these hills
were spurs of ranges extending to the mountains in the interior, and those on the right bank were
followed westward to the river San Carlos. The location of the dam below this river might be
regarded as involving the necessity of diverting its waters into the San Juan below the dam, and
it was my desire to ascertain the practicability of building an embankment across the San Carlos
for the purpose of excluding its waters from the San Juan before the problem of the dam was
definitely settled. A survey was made, therefore, connecting the extremity of the range extend-
ing from the right abutment of the dam at Ochoa to the right bank of the San Carlos, a short dis-
tance above its mouth, with another elevation on the left bank (and the profile is submitted with
this report), not that I think that such an embankment and the diversion of the water of the San
'Carlos are at all essential elements in the construction of the canal, but simply to furnish data for
,calculation to those who may entertain different views on that subject. A dam 52 feet high at
*Ochoa will convert the upper valley of the San Juan and that of the San Carlos into an extension
of Lake Nicaragua, and the latter river, which in its present condition cannot be navigated in the
-dry season for want of water to float even a canoe, and in the rainy season on account of its tor-
rential current, will be turned into an extensive, deep inlet, overflowing the bottom lands of the
valley, a portion of the canal itself, penetrating for many miles into the interior of the territory of
Costa Rica, where thousands of square miles of land, at present inaccessible by land or water, will
become the richest portion of the territory of that Republic. The sediment now being carried down
by the swift current of the river will then be deposited, for want of transporting power, at the
outlets of the ravines and mountain torrents emptying into the basin, or in the recesses of the
valley, where it can do no harm. In fact, the area scoured will be so much reduced that but little
material will be removed. It may be seen by an inspection of the plans and profile that both the
embankment and artificial channel are perfectly feasible, but I regard them as unnecessary, and
no estimate of cost for their construction will be submitted with this report.
The 27th and 28th were advantageously spent in cross-sectioning, triangulating, and running
several lines for the final location of the dam and the topography of the adjacent country.
Upon returning to camp on the evening of the 28th, I was met by Mr. Peary, who had arrived
with his small party during the day, all in good health. He reported to have taken 46 cross-sections
between stations 118 and 278, across the divide, amounting in the aggregate to 12.3 miles of trail-
cut, measured, and leveled with the aneroid, and to have sketched the topography of a large area
of country on both sides of this line. This information was a valuable addition toward a more
accurate location of that portion of the line, and in the computations of excavation and disposition
of the material to be removed. He was ordered to get ready to leave for Greytown by the down
steamer of the 3d, and on his arrival there to engage a canoe, and with a small force of men pro-
peed to a well-known point on the river San Juanillo, from which he was to run a line of levels












20 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY,

connecting that point with station 276 in the valley of the river Deseado, and thus to complete the
instrumental location of the line from the valley of the San Francisco to tide-water. From that
point on the San Juanillo to Greytown the country is perfectly flat, but little above sea-level, and
well known from previous surveys.
On the 29th we left Camp Ammeu, at the mouth of the San Carlos, and moved to the Ochoa,
just below the selected site for the dam, where we found a beautiful and healthy location for a
camp on the right bank of the river, from which our work could be advantageously carried on for
several days. This was called Camp Bayard.
The location of the line from above the dam to the valley of the San Francisco was commenced
on the morning of the 30th of March. Just above the site of the dam is a deep, broad valley, con-
fined by the range ending at the-left abutment, and another one running down to the bank of the
river about 2,000 feet up-stream. Into that basin empties a ravine draining another narrow valley
penetrating easterly about 3,500 feet into the range, the southern extremity of which forms the
left abutment for the dam. These two valleys afford a most desirable harbor at the entrance of
the canal, free from the influence of the river current, and a saving of about half a mile of canal
excavation. The line was carried along the axis of the eastern valley to its upper extremity where
the hills again meet and join the mountains extending to the interior. From that point forward
the line runs for a distance of 2 miles over a broken country of moderate elevation, with occa
sional high peaks, which we were careful to avoid in the location. On the morning of the 4th of
April, about 2.5 miles from the dam, we came to a deep ravine to the left of the line with clear
running water, which I took to be the headwaters of the river San Francisco. The mosquitoes and
yellow flies were at that time annoying in the extreme, which led us to believe that an extensive
swamp must lie to the north and east of us, from which these insects were blown in our direction
by the prevailing strong northeast winds.
By the evening of the 6th the work had advanced 4 miles, and we were running over a
swampy ground, with occasional low hills, confined by high ranges to the north and south. The
daily morning and evening tramps to and from the end of the line, over a roughly-cut trail, through
deep swamps, up and down steep hills, and climbing over logs and fallen trees, were getting to
make serious inroads on our valuable time and on the strength of the party, particularly so on
myself, my physical condition at the time being less able to stand the exertion. Mr. Chambers,
with uniform kindness, tried to relieve me of the hardest portion of the work, by running either
the transit or the level, as circumstances required, over the most difficult portion of the line; but
there was work enough for both of us, and I decided to move camp to a more advanced position,
from which the work could be carried on to a greater advantage. Mr. Chambers was therefore
directed to proceed to the end of the line, with four men and provisions for two days, and from
there to cut a light trail in the direction the line was being located, until he met the river San
Francisco, supposed to be about 3 miles from end of line. It was my purpose to ascend that
river as far as practicable; establish camp on the banks of the stream, and resume the work from
that side, with the decided advantage that the end of the line would be for some time approach-
ing instead of running from us. Mr. Chambers met with many serious difficulties on his way,
having to cross several deep, muddy swamps, and wade many deep pools of stagnant waters, but
he went through all with his usual determination. He had left the end of the line on the morning
of the 8th, and about noon had met the river San Francisco just about where we had approximately
located it on the chart, and after making a careful examination of the stream returned to his camp
late in the afternoon, too tired to continue to Camp Bayard the same day. I had been carrying the
level forward, and on my way to camp received a note from him, reporting the success of his explo.
ration, and that the San Francisco could be ascended to the end of his trail, with about the same
difficulties we had met in going up the Chanchos, to which stream the San Francisco had a strik-
ing resemblance at that point. I concluded to move camp as soon as practicable after the return
of Mr. Chambers and his men. He arrived in camp next morning, and immediately commenced to
perfect the necessary preparations for an early start on the 10th.
Our supply of provisions being considerably reduced by that time, and the camp equipage
brought down to a minimum by dispensing with all articles not regarded as absolutely essential,
our three canoes, heavily laden, were sufficient to move in one trip everything down the San Juan













REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


to Camp Chandler. Here some of the provisions and luggage were stored in the old shed, and
with the canoes very much lighter, we left for the arduous journey up the San Francisco. The
difficulties and hardships encountered on this occasion were in every respect similar to those met
with in moving camp up to the valley of the Limpio, except that the water was now much lower,
and in the absence of Mr. Peary (who had gone to the San Juanillo) the heaviest part of the work
fell mainly on Mr. Chambers. This officer had not only the immediate supervision of the arduous
work of overcoming the obstructions, but he would, in his zeal, jump into the water when serious
obstacles were met with, and by his own personal efforts assist in removing the logs blocking up
the way, or in lifting the loaded canoes bodily over them. We had left Camp Chandler at 12.30
p. m., and by 6 in the evening had succeeded in traveling about 9 miles by the course of the
stream, when we stopped for the hight at the extremity of a sharp bend, where a log about 3 feet
in diameter projected out of the water, completely blocking up the way from bank to bank. A
fire was soon started, and by 8 o'clock all hands had enjoyed a hearty meal of pressed beef, crack-
ers, and hot coffee, and were as comfortably located for the night as the circumstances would
permit. An early start was made the next morning by taking the canoes over the log damming
the stream at that point. For about 2 miles beyond, the creek was found comparatively free
from obstructions, due to the absence of trees on the banks (sacate grass extending for some dis-
tance on both sides), and, with the assistance of deep water, that distance was covered in a short
time; but logs, snags, and shoals soon closed our way again at every step, and but little progress
had been made up to 12 m., when a stop was made for breakfast. I had left the boats about 9
o'clock, and with one machetero and the rodman, Mr. Cole, had followed the sinuous course of the
stream in search of Mr. Chambers' trail. I came to it after cutting our way along the bank for
about 5 miles, which, in my anxiety, seemed to be not less than 10. Returning by the same
trail, I reached the party while breakfast was being prepared, rather tired and with a ravenous
appetite, which was soon satisfied with canned beef and crackers. The condition of the stream
above that point was, if possible, worse than that we had gone over before, and it would have re-
quired at least one more day of hard work to reach the end of Mr. Chambers' trail with the canoes;
for while the distance was probably not more than 2 miles by a straight line, the annoying and
capricious bends of the stream, by which, after traveling perhaps half a mile, we found ourselves
back again but a few feet from the starting point, would perhaps make the course traveled by the
canoes not less than three times that distance. I decided, therefore, that inasmuch as the day
might be regarded as lost, as far as the actual survey of the line was concerned, to let the canoes
be pushed forward as far as possible until about 4.30 p. m., when I would certainly call a halt and
establish camp, as we could not well afford to spare any more of our limited time in this unprofit-
able manner. At the stated time but little progress had been made since the last start at 1 o'clock-
probably less than 2 miles-and therefore a desirable place for camp was selected, on a sharp
bend of the stream; and on that night we had a hearty, hot dinner, and comfortable beds under
a tight canvas roof. The new quarters were named Camp Whitney.
On the following morning, April 12, Mr. Chambers left camp with the rodman and a reduced
force of macheteros, four of the best men'having been sent to Camp Chandler to bring up some of
the provisions left behind. He took his bedding, and provisions for three days, intending to estab-
lish camp ahead of the line located from the dam across the San Juan. From there he pushed the
line, running the transit or the level, as might be required, until the 15th, when he had brought
the work within 3 miles of Camp Whitney. I then took charge of the transit, and he continued
to run the level. On the 16th the line reached the banks of the San Francisco, and shortly after
crossing the stream, in attempting to keep the general direction (N. 64i E.)-we had been running
from the San Juan leading to the forks of the Arroyo de las Cascadas-we came to a range of hills
from 300 to 500 feet high, extending north and south, across our path. For more than 4J miles we
had been running through a broad, flat, swampy valley, with occasional low hills, confined by
high ranges extending east and west.
That basin is the headwaters of the river San Francisco, which, making a detour to the north
of the line, suddenly turns in a southeasterly'direction, and, striking our line in a tortuous course,
runs through the axis of a valley, from half a mile to a mile wide, taking in its course the Chancho,.
and other smaller tributaries, to its junction with the San Juan.












REPORT OF THE U. S. WNCARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


We were thus compelled to deflect the line and follow the valley of the San Francisco to its
confluence with Cafo de los Chanchos, and then up the valley of this stream, the characteristics
of which closely resemble those of the San Francisco, to the fork of the Arroyo de las Cascadas.
This portion of the work was completed at 3.30 p. m. of the 23d of April. It was found, afterward,
that Mr. Peary had .connected his survey from the San Juanillo with station 276, the end of the
line from the "divide," on the evening of the following day.
The next two days were spent at Camp Chandler, settling the accounts and paying off the
men, who had for more than three months worked so faithfully, and submitted to hardships and
privations which very few men of the same class would have undergone so patiently. They felt,
however, as if they had scarcely done their duty; offered their apologies for not having done
better; and expressed, with much feeling, their deep regrets on leaving us, and gratitude for the
care and kindness shown them.
A more hardy, patient, faithful, and subordinate lot of men of the same class would be difficult
to find anywhere, and it was due to these striking qualities that we were able to successfully
accomplish our work against so many adverse circumstances. These men left, however, with one
great satisfaction, frequently expressed among themselves, that they had learned in those three
months more of the topography of that region of their country than had ever been attempted by
any of their countrymen.
The instruments and camp equipage had been properly packed, and were now waiting for Mr.
Peary's return from Greytown and the river steamer (which had been agreed upon) to come on
the 26th to take us up the river. To our great surprise, she made her appearance on the evening
before.
But it was her turn now to wait for us (we had on many occasions waited for her), as I was
reluctant to leave without Mr. Peary. She laid fast at the landing all day on the 26th, and when
night closed I commenced to feel quite anxious, as the captain had expressed his determination to
start early next morning. To my great gratification, however, that officer arrived at midnight,
and at daylight of the 27th we parted from the region of our continuous labors for more than three
months, bound home, and in much better condition of health than when we landed at the mouth
of the Sarapiqui.
After leaving Camp Bayard, at Ochoa, on the morning of April 2, with orders to locate the line
from the San Juanillo to the end of the line from the divide in the valley of the Deseado, Mr. Peary
had arrived at Greytown in the night of the same day, but the 3d being Good Friday, business was
entirely suspended, and he was unable to make much progress in getting his outfit and in engaging
the men for the work. By 3 o'clock next day, however, he had completed his preparations, and
without loss of time left the town with a heavily loaded canoe, five men, and a rodman. Camping
that night on the beach at Harbor Head, in order to get an observation of Polaris, in which, how-
ever, the clouds disappointed him, he started up the river the next morning and reached the desig-
nated point on the San Juanillo late in the afternoon, and immediately built his palm leaf thatched
hut for a shelter, and got ready to commence work early next morning. Starting from camp he
cut a trail due west through a wet swamp, and in less than one mile reached the Deseado, just above
the end of his reconnaissance of March 12. He followed the stream some distance farther down
in a northerly direction, to satisfy himself that it emptied into Benard's Lagoon, and returned to
camp to adjust his instruments preparatory to commencing the location of the line. An insufficient
force, and the departure of the rodman, who got frightened and had to be sent home, frequent
rains, and a swampy country, traversed by numerous small ditches and covered by dense vege-
tation, with the delays and difficulties in moving and building camps, when everything had to be
carried on the men's backs, made this work particularly arduous. However, by untiring energy,
this officer succeeded in pushing the work steadily forward, and on the evening of April 24, just
eighteen days after establishing his first camp on the San Juanillo, he had connected his line and
levels with station 276 of the divide line, a distance of 7.9 miles from the San Juanillo, and had
cut 18,300 feet of offsets besides. He arrived at Greytown at 6.30 p. m. of the 25th, obtained a
fresh crew, left at midnight for San Francisco, and by keeping his, men constantly at work, they
having but three hours' rest during the entire trip, reached the main party the following midnight,












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


having covered 39 miles in that time, dragging his canoe bodily over the sand-banks of the almost
dry lower San Juan for the first 18 miles, and poling it against a strong current for the remaining
21 miles.
We ascended the river without any incident deserving special mention, arriving at San Carlos,
the outlet of the lake, on the afternoon of the 29th. Here we had to wait for the schooner which
had taken the place of the lake steamer-at the time undergoing repairs-to take us across the
lake to Granada. At San Carlos we were hospitably and kindly received by the commandant of
the station, Col. Pedro Rojas, and Don Saturnino Lacayo, the collector of customs at Castillo.
Colonel Rojas invited us to share his comfortable quarters, which we thankfully accepted; and
Mr. Lacayo informed me he had orders from his Government to contribute with everything in his
power toward the work of the survey, and that as I had not yet offered him an opportunity in
any way to comply with these instructions, he would regard it as a privilege if I permitted him to
pay the bill for the hire of the two canoes I had, obtained at that place on the 19th of January,
amounting to $70.75, which graceful act of courtesy I could not but grant. I therefore surrendered
to him the bills I had already paid, receiving the amount named in return. On the forenoon of
the 30th Mr. Chambers, who never lost an opportunity, no matter under what circumstances, to
take photographic views of all places of interest, kept himself quite busy with the camera, while
Mr. Peary was exploring the surroundings. The schooner arrived at 3 p. m., and started on her
return trip at 8 p. m., arriving at Granada on the afternoon of the next day, May 1. As the mail
steamer at Panama was due at Corinto on the 8th of that month, I concluded to remain at that
place until the 5th, and to expend this time in working out our note-books, making a rough plat of
all the work done, which we had no opportunity to do before, and in settling some pending accounts
with F. A. Pellas & Co.
We left Granada on the morning of May 5, stopping at Managua a sufficient length of time
to pay my respects to his Excellency the President and the United States consul, and continued
our trip, arriving at Leon on the night of the same day. Leaving this place on the 8th, we arrived
at Corinto on the same day, but the steamer did not come into port until the 11th, leaving on the
evening of the 12th, and after stopping for freight at San Juan del Sur, in Nicaragua, and Punta
Arenas, in Costa Rica, arrived at Panama on the morning of the 19th.
Dr. Bransford here received orders to the Iroquois, lying in the bay. The steamer for New
York was advertised to leave Aspinwall on the 24th, and Mr. Peary, Mr. Chambers, and myself
spent the next four days in making a careful examination of the work in progress on the Panama
canal, leaving on the evening of May 24, arriving at New York on the 3d of June.
Messrs. Peary and Chambers were ordered to report for duty in preparing the data for this
report, and with the assistance of Mr. James Philp, as draughtsman, the office work was actually
commenced on the 17th of July.
The foregoing statement shows that the work of the expedition was strictly confined to a re-
location of the eastern section of the canal. The western section had been rectified by me in 1880,
under orders from the Department, and no additional improvements of sufficient importance to
merit the diversion of a portion of our time from the more important work east of the lake Was
regarded as necessary. But inasmuch as the verification of the survey of the Lajas line, made at
the time, and upon which I had the honor to submit my report to the Department, will be an
integral part of the plan I am about to propose for the construction of the canal and the estimated
cost thereof, it may be proper to refer here to the most striking features of that survey, in order
that the subject may be more clearly understood.in its entirety.
It has been stated in the official reports of the surveys made by the United States expeditions
of 1872-'73 that two lines had been located for the canal between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific;
one extending from the river Lajas, on the lake, to the port of Brito; the other, from the mouth of
the river Del Medio to the same terminal point on the Pacific.
The point where there is a difference in location is between the lake and the first lock, on the
Pacific slope; or, in other words, in that portion of the canal where the level of the lake is to be
extended westerly. From the upper lock to the Pacific they have a location in common. The
deepest cuttings required to reach the then proposed level of the canal are, for the Lajas line,
431 feet; for the Rio del Medio route, 134 feet; the length of the respective lines being 17.27 miles












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


for the former, and 16.33 miles for the latter. The estimated cost of the Del Medio route exceeded
that of the Lajas by several millions, but after mature consideration, and by reason of better
natural surface drainage (so essential to the stability of a work of this kind, built in a country
subject to a large rainfall), the river del Medio route was favored. On this line no water-course of
considerable size would be taken into the canal, and as its water-shed is quite small, no fears were
entertained cf damages from freshets. On the Lajas route the conditions were dissimilar. The
river Grande, a mountain stream of extensive and rapidly-inclined watershed and precipitous
channel, approaches the canal from the southeast, and turning to the northeast, passes with many
sinuosities through a narrow valley of a width but little greater than required for the canal.
The channel of the river has an average width of 60 feet, and a depth of from 15 to 20 feet; and
in its tortuous course alternately approaches the bases of spurs of a variable elevation projecting
from the main hills on either side. Colonel Childs, who, in his plans for a canal by this route, had
proposed to receive this stream into the canal by a waste-weir, estimated its maximum flow,
calculated from the highest water marks on the banks and its mean sectional area and descent, at
5,670 cubic feet per second. I have been able to obtain, as a result of my own observations, and
from information furnished by old residents in the vicinity, what may be regarded reliable data
as to highest water marks, which, with the mean descent of the river for several miles and its
average water prism, shows that the maximum flow may be as great as 10,000 cubic feet per second.
*It is quite certain that this stream seldom rises to the height assumed, and since its watershed is
very abrupt, it remains but a few hours at the high-water marks pointed out to me. But so large
a volume of water could not be received into the canal, at a time when least needed as a feeder,
even under the most favorable conditions of flow, without danger to navigation and to the stability
of the works. This was the greatest objection to this route, and to obviate it the preference was
given, not without reluctance, to the river Del Medio route.
Partial examinations of this region, conducted during visits to Nicaragua subsequent to the
official surveys, had greatly added to my former knowledge of the territory traversed by the
canal. I was thus aware that important changes in the original location could be introduced, but
there was required an instrumental examination in order to determine the measure of the benefits
to be derived therefrom. My last survey on this portion of the canal route was for the special
purpose of ascertaining the practicability of turning the river Grande into the lake, thereby
leaving the narrow valley, now occupied by its channel, across the divide, free for the construction
of the canal. With this purpose in view, the survey was begun at a well-known station and bench-
mark of the survey of 1872, and was carried along the bed of the river Grande to its confluence
with the river Cascabel, its main tributary. Special care was taken in noting all desirable sites for
dams. Ascending the stream, the first was found at El Carmen, a point 3,000 feet, by the river,
from the line of the canal. At this point the bed of the stream is 108.48 feet, and the highest
water-mark 124.39 feet above mean sea-level. From the site of the proposed dam a transit and
level line was run in a southeasterly direction, crossing the divide between the Grande and Lajas,
with an elevation of 178.38 feet. (See profile of artificial channel.) The line then fell into the
bro6k Comalcagua, an affluent of-the river Juan Davila, the main branch of the Lajas. Follow-
ing the brook across the extensive valley of Jocotes, the Juan Divila was reached at a distance of
3.88 miles from the bank of the river Grande, and at an elevation of 128.27 feet. To turn the
river Grande into the Juan Davila, and through the latter and the Lajas into the lake, a dam 39.67
feet high will be required, this height being the aggregate of the difference of level between the
river Grande and Juan Davila,.and the necessary fall of the artificial channel as follows:
Feet. Feet.
Elevation of bottom of river Grande ....---.......--------........ .......--- .. 110.87 ......
Elevation of high-water mark of river Grande ...--.....-------................---. 127.37 = 16.50
Elevation of water in Juan Davila----....-- ...-------- ....-----....-- ..-...... 128.27 0.90
Elevation of high water in San Juan Davila ...-.........---.......--......... 140.73 = 12.46
Fall of artificial channel at 2. 53 feet per mile ..---................----......----..---...... 9.81

Height of dam above bottom of river Grande ..----....-......--.......---- ..... ?9.67












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


The required height of the dam being established, it was observed that in times of high floods
the water in the artificial channel would inundate, to the depth of two or three feet, the valley of
Jobito, and possibly escape into the river through some pass between the hills. Another site for
a dam was in consequence fixed some distance above the first, and the line for the artificial chan-
nel was relocated over higher ground. The profile (Plate 4) represents the corrected line and
elevation of dam resulting therefrom. The proposed channel is 75 feet wide at the bottom, 15 feet
deep; has slopes of 1 to 1 and 2 to 1, respectively, for rock and earth excavation, and with the pro-
posed fall of 2.53 feet per mile will have discharging capacity of 10,273 cubic feet per second, or
more than the largest estimated flood of the river Grande. The elevation of the water of the Juan
Davila, at its confluence with the artificial channel, is 128.27 feet in the dry season and 140.73 feet
at high floods, or 18 and 30 feet, respectively, above high lake; and the distance from the river
being about six miles, there will be a fall of from three to six feet per mile, which in the broad
channels of the Juan Davila and Lajas, need occasion no apprehension of the waters rising upwards
of nine feet above highest recorded floods backing into the Grande and flowing over the dam.
Having established the practicability of diverting the river Grande, I directed my attention to
a careful examination of the narrow valley occupied by the river, having in view a relocation of
the canal route, so as to utilize the channel of the river wherever practicable, avoid the hills on
both sides, and enlarge the radii of the curves as much as the topography of the country would
permit. The relocation made, as shown by the map and profile, is more favorable than was
expected; and the estimated cost of the work shows the large amount saved by the substitution
of this route for that of the river Del Medio, while the drainage of the latter is in no respects better
than that of the former.

THE PROPOSED ROUTE.

The proposed route extends from the harbor of Greytown, on the Caribbean Sea, to Brito, on
the Pacific. Its total length is 169.8 miles, of which 38.98 miles will be excavated canal, and
130.82 miles navigation by Lake Nicaragua, the river San Juan (the outlet of the lake), the basin
of the river San Francisco, and through seven locks. A canal without locks is impracticable
across Nicaragua, and one with locks must necessarily have the lake for its summit level.. This
inland sea is about 90 miles long and from 35 to 45 miles wide. In the rainy season of 1878 its
surface attained an elevation of 110 feet above the mean level of the sea, and this plane has been
assumed as the summit level of the canal. The lake will be connected with the Pacific by a canal,
and with the Atlantic by slack-water navigation in the river San Juan, by a short section of canal
from the river San Juan to the basin of the river San Francisco, navigation through this basin,
and by a canal from the eastern end of that basin to the Caribbean Sea. The route has been
divided into three divisions, viz: Western, middle, and eastern.
Western division.-This section extends from the western shore of the lake to the port of Brito,
on the Pacific, a distance of 17.27 miles. It leaves the lake at the mouth of the river Lajas, the
channel of which it follows for about 1 miles. The river here turns to the south, and it is pro-
posed to divert its waters by means of an artificial channel emptying into the lake about one mile
to the south of the present mouth, and thus leave its bed free for the canal. The line then crosses
a plain three-fourths of a mile wide, and enters the valley of the Guscoyal, a small tributary of the
Lajas proceeding from the summit, which it follows to the highest point of the line 4.7 miles from
the lake. This point is 41.41 feet above high lake, and is situated in a valley about two miles wide.
The line then descends at the rate of about nine feet to the mile, over a moderately undulating
country, and in 1J miles meets the Rio Grande, a large mountain stream, which drains an extensive
area of the eastern slope of the Cordillera. It has been already stated in this report that this
stream is proposed to be diverted into the lake, so as to leave its channel free for the canal.
About 1,000 feet to the north of the point where the canal first crosses the river the brook
Chocolata or Espinal enters the Rio Grande at the extreme of a sharp bend, where a waste-weiy
will have to be constructed to receive it into the canal. The line of the canal then follows the
valley of the tortuous Rio Grande by curves of 4,500 and 4,000 feet radii, cutting across many of
its sharp bends, or occupying the channel in short reaches, and in about 1. miles it frees itself












26 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

from the crowding hills, approaching from either side, and runs through a broad valley as it curves
to the westward in the direction of Las Serdas. This point is 8.94 miles from the lake, and is the
junction of this route with that of the Rio del Medio, recommended by the expedition of 1872-'73.
Beyond Las Serdas the canal follows the valley of the Rio Grande, with an average inclination of
nine feet to the the mile, to Brito, a distance of 8.33 miles, making a total of 17.27 miles from the
lake to the sea. Along this last section the canal cuts projecting bends of the river at four dif-
ferent places, artificial channels being, in those cases, provided for the river. It is proposed to
pass the Tola River and several small water-courses coming from the north under the canal, and as
the bed of the river is at all points, between Las Serdas and Tola, several feet below the water
in the canal, seven waste-weirs are proposed for the discharge of surplus water. Ditches are
proposed along the lower portion of the canal to intercept the surface drainage and convey it to
the sea. To overcome the difference of level between the lake and low tide at Brito, four locks are
proposed, the variable lift of the lower one being controlled by the conditions of the tide, which at
Brito has a mean rise and fall of 8.98 feet. This lock has been situated 1.4 miles from the harbor,
with a view of securing firmer foundations, and less disturbance due to the influence of the sea.
That portion of the canal is proposed to be enlarged, so as to make it practically an extension of
the harbor, where ships can be waiting or pass each other as the case may be. The other three
locks are located to the best advantage as to foundations and economy in the excavations, but
avoiding, as far as practicable, raising the level of the canal above that of the adjacent country.
The lifts proposed are as follows: For Lock No. 4, 26.4 feet; for Lock No. 5, 29.7 feet; for Lock No.
6, 29.7 feet, and for Lock No. 7, a variable lift of from 24.2 to 33.18 feet, depending on the state of
the tide. A full description of these locks and of the system of gates proposed to be used will be
given under the headof Locks further on.
Middle division.-This section extends from the western shore of the lake to the western slope
of the "divide," between the basin of the river San Francisco and that of the San Juanillo. The
total distance is 133.05 miles, and may be divided as follows: Lake navigation, 56.50 miles; navi-
gation by the river San Juan, 64.54 miles; navigation through the basin of the San Francisco
(including two short sections of canal, amounting in the aggregate to 3 miles), 12.01 miles.
The lake navigation extends from the mouth of the river Lajas to San Carlos, at the head of the
river San Juan. Twenty-eight feet of water can be carried to within 2,400 feet of the mouth of the
Lajas. Along the latter distance some rock excavation under water and dredging will be needed
to extend deep water to the entrance to the canal. From the 28-foot curve on the west side
to within 8 miles of the outlet, the lake is deep and free to navigation. In those 8 miles
dredging in soft mud to a mean depth of cut of 3. feet will be required to secure the proposed
depth of 28 feet. Along that distance a channel 150 feet wide at the bottom, with slopes of 3 to
1, has been estimated for. It is proposed to obtain slack-water navigation in the river San Juan
by the construction of a dam 52 feet high at Ochoa, 64 miles from the lake. A fall of three-quar-
ters of an inch to the mile, or a total of 4 feet for the whole distance, has been allowed for the
slope of the river; but practically that portion of the stream will be converted into an extension
of the lake, where, with the exception of the first 28 miles, from the lake to Toro Rapids, the navi-
gable channel will be at no point less than 1,000 feet wide, with a depth varying from 26 to 130
feet. Between the lake and Toro Rapids, rock blasting under water and dredging to a depth of
4, feet will be required at several places, amounting in the aggregate to 24 miles. The average
depth of water, as raised by the dam, over the shallow places where deepening has been estimated
for, is 23 feet, while the proposed channel is 28 feet deep by 125 feet wide at the bottom, with slopes
of 1 to,1 in rock, and 2 to 1 in dredgable material.
It will be observed that the dam being placed below the confluence of the river San Carlos,
the waters of this river will have either to be received into the summit level of the canal or arrested
by an embankment and diverted through an artificial channel into the river San Juan below the
dam. A cross-section of that river just below the forks (see Plate 6) shows that the latter plan
can be carried out at no great expense, especially as the embankment, or crib is not intended to
stand the pressure of the water, which should percolate freely through it, retaining the same level
on either side; its purpose being only to intercept the sedimentary matter brought down by the
stream. I believe, however, that under the proposed conditions such a precautionary measure is












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


unnecessary, as the valley of the San Carlos will be turned into an extension of the lake, of which
the river San Juan is also an integral part. Its present rapid current will thus be effectually
checked and its scouring and sediment-carrying power utterly destroyed. The light matter which
may yet be carried in suspension during floods, as far down as the San Juan, will either be carried
over the dam immediately below, or partially deposited in the deep channel where it cannot do
harm.
The dam is located between two steep, rocky hills, and its effective length on the crest will be
1,255 feet. The mean depth of water in the river is but 6.6 feet and the maximum 17 feet, close
to the right abutment. No boring could be made to ascertain the nature of the foundations, but
judging from the rock cropping out on the side hills and on the banks close to and below the water,
it may well be supposed that rock underlies the gravel and sandy bottom. The foundations have
been estimated as 20 feet below the surface of the water throughout the whole distance across, and
the entire body of the dam to be of cement concrete, with a wood lining on the top and lower side.
A strong apron is proposed to prevent undermining by the fall of the water (see Plate 5), and the
necessary wing walls are also provided for.
On the right margin of the rivet, immediately above the dam, a break in the hills forms the
valley of the Machado, and just in the rear of the range, the last spur of which forms the right
abutment of the dam, another narrow valley extends easterly from that of the Machado. The first
valley offers an excellent entrance to the canal, free from the influences of the river current, and
the latter has been taken advantage of, for a distance of 3,300 feet, as a portion of the canal itself,
where but light cutting will be required on the side of some projecting spurs to improve the navi-
gation.
From the head of this valley the canal cuts across a broken country of moderate elevation,
confined by high hills. It soon falls into a deep, narrow ravine, discharging into the San Juau,
where a short embankment is proposed, so as to preserve the summit level in the canal. In a dis-
tance of 1.82 miles from the beginning of the cut at the head of the entrance valley, the canal
enters the basin of the river San Francisco, which it follows to the Saltos de Elvira, at the foot
of the "divide;" first through the valley of the main stream down to its confluence with the
tributary Cafo de las Chanchos, and thence up the valleys of the latter and of the Arroyo de las
Cascadas, to the end of the middle division, at the foot of the dividing ridge. It is believed that
this basin extends'from the base of the divide to within 1 miles of the valley in the rear of the
dam at Ochoa, and that by making a short detour to the north of the line of survey, it will be
found navigable along that distance; but as our limited time would not permit of more extensive
investigation in that direction, the line of actual location has been closely adhered to, and some
cutting, for about 14 miles, is estimated for to secure the necessary depth.
It is proposed to retain the summit level, as established above this dam, throughout this basin
by an embankment 6,500 feet long on the crest and 51 feet maximum depth, connecting two high
hills confining the valley of the San Francisco as it turns in its southerly course to discharge its
waters into the San Juan.
This deep, broad basin is regarded as a striking feature in this route, not only from economical
considerations, but because it affords an almost unrestricted navigation for 8.5 miles, where ships
can wait or pass each other, as the traffic may require. It presents also a favorable solution of
the important problem of drainage. This artificial lake will be the recipient or ultimate drain of
all the water-shed of the river San Francisco and its tributaries, with three outlets, by which its
water can be kept under perfect control and floods effectually prevented. The water in the basin
will either back through the canal into the river San Juan and over the dam, pass through the
locks in the eastern division, or discharge over a waste-weir, 1,000 feet in length, cut through the
bill at the southeasterly extremity of the embankment across the valley of the San Francisco.
There will also be cut through this same hill, for use in an emergency, a tunnel controlled by gates,
and large enough to discharge the whole flow of the San Francisco in floods, or even empty the
basin if necessary.
Eastern division.-Begins at the Saltos de Elvira, in the valley of the Arroyo de las Cas-
cadas, and extends to the harbor of San Juan del Norte, or Greytown, on the Caribbean Sea, a
distance of 18.83 miles in an air line, and 19.48 miles by the canal; all in excavation. Within this












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY,


19.48 miles is comprised 63 per cent. of total amount, and 61 per cent. of total cost of excavation
for the entire canal, and being an entirely new location, with new and salient features, as a lock
of unusual lift, &c., it demands a full description.
Beginning, then, at the Saltos de Elvira, at the eastern extremity of the proposed artificial lake
in the San Francisco Valley, the proposed location of the canal runs nearly due east, up the broad,
flat, clean-wooded upper valley of the arroyo, a distance of about 1,600 feet; the average eleva-
tion of this valley being 125.132 feet above the sea-level, and 19.132 feet above the level of the
water in the canal. Thence ascending the east branch, cutting a spur here and there, the divide"
is reached, at an elevation of 280 feet, and about 4,600 feet distant from the Saltos. The line then
curves gently to the southeast (radius 10,733 feet) for about 2,500 feet, across the little plain at
the summit, cuts a steep, narrow spur, enters the second section of the Deseado, referred to pre-
viously, the bed of which it follows for a short distance, then crosses to the left bank and reaches
the site of Lock No. 3, in a rocky spur of the northern hills, 14,200 feet distant from the Saltos;
the average cut for this distance being 119.5 feet above the water in the canal. As noted above,
the elevation of the divide," between the western and eastern flowing waters, is 280 feet, but it
being naturally impossible to locate the canal to conform to all the turns of the valley, the line
cuts several spurs which rise a number of feet above this height. I confess to being disappointed
at the elevation of this divide, but it only goes to show how little dependence can be placed upon
even the apparently most reliable indications in these dense, as it were blindfolded, tropical wilds.
At Lock No. 3, the summit level, stretching from Lock No. 4 beyond the lake, a distance of 144.8
miles, ends, and the level of the canal drops 53 feet, by a lock carved in the solid rock.
Passing, by easy curves 4,800 and 5,280 feet radius, down the widening valley of the Deseado,
Lock No. 2 is reached, 4,600 feet from Lock No. 3. This lock drops the canal 27 feet, and at this
lower level it passes along the still widening and gradually sloping valley of the Deseado, in a
northeasterly direction, a distance of 15,000 feet, to Lock No. 1, which lowers it 26 feet to the sea-
level, and from which it crosses the lat basin of the San Juanillo, cutting that stream in several
places, and the swamps of the lagoon region, to the harbor of Greytown, a distance of 61,000 feet
(the average height of surface above tide-level-for this latter distance being only 10J feet).
Between the Saltos and the "divide," the southern drainage area of the valley which the canal
will occupy is very limited, only a narrow ridge separating this valley from that of the Limpio,
nearly parallel, and less than a mile to the south. The Chanchos, on the other side, though farther
removed than the Limpio, is still but a short distance to the north, leaving only the water from
2 or 3 square miles, drained by the upper arroyo, to contend with, and this, by means of two
short channels, will be diverted into the San Francisco basin, just north of the entrance to the
canal.
Across the "divide," and as far as a point about 4,000 feet above Lock No. 3, the natural drain-
age is away from the canal, the Deseado flowing nearly parallel to and from 500 to 1,300 'eet north
of it. At this point, where the canal first cuts the Deseado, the latter will be diverted by a channel
north of the canal to Lock No. 3, and from here to the last intersection of the canal with the
Deseado, a distance of some 43,000 feet, the canal will be protected on both sides by drainage
channels, formed partly by the present bed of the stream and partly by artificial ditches.
The remainder of the canal, also about 43,000 feet from the Deseado to the sea, will be pro-
tected by embankments, an artificial channel being cut south of the canal to divert the San-Juanillo,
and another north of the canal to give Laguna Benard and its tributaries an independent outlet to
the sea.
From the Saltos de Elvira to Lock No. 3, rock, underlying a few feet of earth, may be counted
upon the entire distance; from Lock No. 3 to Lock No. 1, loose earth, gravel, clay, and rock in the
deeper cuts; while from Lock No. 1 to San Juan del Norte, a distance of some 12 miles, nearly if not
all material will be dredgable; and this portion, ason the west side at Brito, will be widened until
it will be practically an extension of the harbor 12 miles inland.
This entire division is densely wooded, magnificent hard-wood trees of gigantic proportions
covering the slopes and valleys of the hill country, their topmost branches rustling in the cool,
constant "trades," and palms in a score of varieties dotting the plains and lagoon region with an
almost impenetrable mass of vegetation, all covered ard woven and tangled and tied with count-
less vines and climbing and running plants.














REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY. 29


DIMENSIONS OF THE CANAL.

The apparent insufficiency of the Suez Canal to accommodate a traffic of more than 6,0a),000
tons a year without serious delay to navigation, due to its reduced sectional area and an inadequate
number of turn-outs, shows that the dimensions proposed in Commander Lull's report of 1872-'73,
for a canal across Nicaragua, should be considerably enlarged in estimating for a new route. It is
proposed now not only to enlarge the water prism of the canal by increasing its width and depth,
but to provide also two large basins at the extremities of the locks, where vessels can wait, or pass
each other without delay. These turn-outs, together with the lake, river, and San Francisco basin,
will greatly facilitate navigation by this route, and allow ships-traveling in opposite directions to
pass each other almost at all points. This modification of the dimensions and plans originally
proposed, will necessarily involve a material increase in the estimated cost of the work; but it has
been thought best to provide for what is regarded as actually necessary for a canal which will
admit the passage of the largest ships now engaged in the commerce of the world, and a traffic of
not less than 12,000,000 tons a year, without restrictions to navigation, than to propose for the
sake of economy in the original construction, what the experience of the last few years in the only
similar interoceanic ship-canal in the world proves to be inadequate. The following are the
respective dimensions and salient features of the canal proposed in 1872-'73, and those here esti-
mated for:

Comparison of the dimensions and principal features of the location by the survey of 1872-'73, with those by the survey of 1885.


Features compared. Location of, Location of,
1872-'73. 1885.

Total distance, Greytown to Brito .................................--................................ miles. 180. 76 6169.8
Length of actual canal, or cutting required ..............................................................do-- 61.7 40.3
Height of summit level above mean sea level...........................................................feet. 107 lic
Length of summit level ...............................................................................miles. 102 144. 8
Number of dams.................................. ..............................--.....................--.... 4 1
Number of locks....................................................................... ................... 21 7
Length of lock-chamber..............................................------..---....................... feet. 400 650
Width of lock-chamber..t. .............................................................. ............... do.. 60 65
Number of curves in actual canal ........................................................................... 26 14
Minimum radius of canal curves....................................................................... feet. 2, 200 4, 000
Length of canal, in curves ............................................................................. miles. 12. 2 10. 8
Depth of water in canal .................................................................................do.. 26 28 and 30
Width at bottom of channel in that part of river San Juan where dredging is required ................. feet. 80 125
Width at bottom of channel in that part of Lake Nicaragua where dredging is required ................ do. 80 150
Width at bottom of channel in rocky cuts....................... ................... ........ .........do.- 72 80
Width at bottom of channel in deep rock cuts .........................................................do.. 72 80
Width at bottom of channel in deep earth cuts................. ..................................do.. 50 80
Width at bottom of channel in terminal cuts ...........................................................do.. 72 120
Time allowed to pass through locks alone (allowing 30 minutes for old and 45 minutes for new design)...hours 10. 5 5. 3
Turn-outs or basins, 650 feet by 150 feet on the bottom at the extremities of the locks....................... ................ 12
Time required for a ship to pass from Greytown to Brito .................. ......................hours 37 30
Estimated cost (computed on same basis) .....................- ..............-...-..................dollars. 52, 577,718 39,040, 134
Estimated cost (according to new dimensions and increased prices)........... .........................do.. ............... 51,228,958.75


Provision has also been made for illuminating the whole route sufficiently to insure its safe
navigation at night. A greater speed can be made in the canal, both on account of its enlarged
dimensions and the protection of the slopes by stone-pitching, wherever it has been thought nec-
essary. Several bends of the river San Juan have been cut off, and a more unimpeded navigation
secured thereby.
The several cross-sections proposed for the various portions of the canal are represented in
plate 3.












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


THE LOCKS.

The locks proposed have a uniform length of 650 feet between the gates, and a least width of
65 feet between the gate abutments. Locks Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 have lifts of 26, 27, 26.4, 29.7,
and 29.7 feet respectively. No. 3 has a lift of 53 feet, and No. 7, being a combination of tide and
lift-lock, its lilt will vary between 24.2 and 33.18 feet, depending on the state of the tide. It is be-
lieved that Nos. 1 and 7 will rest on firm, heavy soil, but timber and concrete foundations have
been provided for in the estimates. Nos. 2 and 4 are estimated to rest on solid rock, and as for
Nos. 5 and 6, the borings taken in 1873 show that stiff clay, compact sand, and gravel will be met
with. No. 3 is proposed to be cut out of the solid rock in the eastern slope of the "divide," by
which the maximum strength will be secured with the least expense; concrete will be used only
to the extent required to fill cavities, to give the proper dimensions to the various parts, and to
give a surface to the blasted rock. The other locks it is proposed to build of concrete, and all of
them, No. 3 included, will have a heavy timber lining in the chambers and bays, extending from
the top of the walls to 15 feet below the low-water level. (See Plates 7 and 8.)
Cribs on firm bottom, or fender-piles when piles can be driven, have been provided at the ap-
proaches to the locks for the protection and better guidance of ships into the locks. Provision
has also been made for making ships fast to the lock-wales, so that the lines will, by means of
floats, rise or fall with the ship, thus preserving the same tension on the lines while the vessel is
kept on the axis of the lock. Each lock will be filled or emptied by two conduits, each 10 feet in
diameter, extending on the sides of the locks from the upper to the lower reach of the canal, and
twenty-two branch.culverts, eleven on each side, connecting the main conduit with the lock cham-
ber. The only operation required for either filling or emptying the lock will be, irrespective of the
movements of the lock gates, the opening and closing of the upper and lower main culvert-gates.
The time required to fill or empty lock No. 3, of 53 feet lift, will be fifteen minutes, and for the other
locks an average of eleven minutes. The question of the best style of gates for these locks has
been a subject of much consideration. It is desirable to combine strength, economy in construc-
tion, rapid and simple movements, facilities for repairs or for renewing the gates, and the least
danger of accident by vessels entering or leaving the locks.
I had concluded to recommend for all the locks iron sliding gates, which when not in use
would be withdrawn into a recess on the side of the lock, as the system possessing the greatest
advantages, but the tail-gate of lock No. 3, with a total height of 88 feet, of which 58 feet would
project out of the water when the lock is empty, required additional provisions to counteract
possible wind pressure and guide it safely across the chamber. Several designs had been prepared
to accomplish that object, but none entirely satisfactory and all involving considerable expense
in their construction and a loss of time in the operation. While engaged in this investigation,
Civil Engineer R. E. Peary, U. S. N., my principal assistant, suggested a rolling gate, which is, in
my opinion, an admirable solution of the problem, combining in itself all the desired conditions.
The device consists (see Plate 9) of a rolling or tumbling gate; a lateral recess in one side of
the lock-chamber into which the gate retreats when opened; rails upon which the gate travels; a
car spanning the recess and traveling back and forth upon a track laid on the top of the lock;
and a rod strut, or pivoted truss, connecting the car to the gate. In shape the gate may be
described as a rectangular upper portion resting on a curved lower portion, the inner or rear part
of this curve being a quadrant of a circle of such radius that the length of the are of the quadrant
is equal to-the width of the lock, so that the travel of the gate in rolling through 900 will carry it
entirely within the gate recess. The lower part of the gate, to a point one or two feet above the
lower water-level, and the inner or rear side of the gate will be built as a water-tight compartment
to contain a shifting water ballast; the remainder of the gate being open trusses, plated on the
down-stream side; the center of gravity being kept by this means near the center of the arc on
which the gate rolls, and the balance more perfectly maintained. The gate travels preferably on
rails raised above the floor of the lock in order to prevent any accumulation of foreign materials
upon their surfaces.












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


Flanges upon the curved bottom of the gate prevent amy lateral movement, and any possibility
of slip forward or backward during maneuvering is precluded by four chains, each equal in length
to the arc of the rolling quadrant, arranged in pairs, one pair being attached at one end to the
gate at the upper extremity of the quadrant (the gate being closed and erect), and at the other
end to the bottom of the lock directly under the lower extremity of the rolling quadrant. The
other pair are attached at one end to the bottom of the gate at the lower extremity of the rolling
quadrant, and at the other end to the bottom of the gate-recess, directly under the upper extremity
of the rolling quadrant when the gate is open or in a horizontal position. Thus when the gate is
closed and erect the chains in pair No. 1 are wound upon the periphery of the rolling quadrant,
while those of pair No. 2 are lying straight and taut upon the bottom of the gate-recess; and, vice
versa, when the gate is open or horizontal the chains of pair No. 2 are wound upon the periphery
of the rolling quadrant, and those of pair No. 1 are lying straight and taut upon the bottom of the
gate recess.
At all intermediate points of movement one pair unwinding at the same rate that the other
pair is wound up, thus rendering it impossible for the slightest slip to occur, while at the same
time the utmost freedom of rotation is permitted.
At the top of the front face or end of the gate, one end of the connecting rod or truss, above
referred to, is attached by a simple pin-joint, permitting free movement of the connecting-rod in a
vertical plane with the pin as a center, the other end being attached to the car by pin-joints per-
mitting the same movement in a vertical plane.
The car is a rigid rectangular frame spanning the gate-recess and supported on trucks travel-
ing on two rails placed at right angles to the axis of the lock, one on each side of the gate-recess.
Motion is given to this car by a compressed air or hydraulic engine situated on the car, which
drives a shaft bearing two drums, and each of these drums carrying several turns of a fixed cable.
The car is worked backward and forward by simply reversing the motion of the drums.
Before passing to a description of the manipulation of the gate, it may be said that the dis-
placement of the lower water-tight compartment, when the gate is bearing on the rails, will always
be largely Ph excess of the weight of the gate, therefore it is necessary to admit water, and it will
be seen that the amount admitted may be so regulated that the gate shall exert a pressure of 5
or 50 tons on the rails or shall just touch them without exerting any pressure; in other words,
the gate may be adjusted to any weight.
The means of preventing any lateral movement of the bottom of the gate have already been
noted. To prevent lateral motion or deflection of the upper part from the action of the wind, it
is held in place in two ways: At its inner or rear upper corner by rollers; on the opposite faces
of the gate-recess and at its upper front or outer corner by the connecting-rod, from the outer end
of which wire-ropeguys extend to the forward angles of the car, passing around sheaves at those
points and thence to a capstan on the car. These guys form, with the connecting-rod, a rigid tri-
angular truss, preventing any motion in the horizontal plane, yet at the same time adjustable by
means of the capstan, so that the gate is always adjusted and supported precisely in its vertical
plane of revolution.
Supposing, now, the gate to be closed or erect, the car spanning the gate-recess close to the
edge of the lock and nearly over the rear face of the gate, the gate bearing slightly on the rails,
yet, practically, floating; chains of pair No. 1 wound upon the gate, and those of pair No. 2 lying
flat along the floor of. the gate-recess. The car is started; the outer upper corner of the gate rises -
and moves back in response to the pull of the connecting-rod; the chains in pair No. 1 unwind
from the bottom, while those of pair No. 2 wind upon the gate; the.water-ballast shifts with the
gate, neither assisting nor retarding its motion, but simply keeping it on the rails,-and so prevented
from rising by the water-ballast, from descending by the'rails; kept from lateral motion at the
bottom by the flanges, and at the top by the rollers and the connecting-rod; kept from forward or
backward slip at the bottom by the chains and at the top by the car; free, weightless, water-borne,
yet under perfect control and held as in a vise in every direction, the gate rapidly and smoothly
eitreats into the recess with the expenditure of only that amount of power necessary to give it
velocity.












32 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

Minor details, such as the shape and arrangement of the gate recesses, the facing of the abut-
ments with wood, to distribute and equalize the pressure e, &c., are not novel and need no extended
description.
A device, which may possibly be necessary, to close the gate upon the rear abutment is
perhaps deserving of mention. It consists simply of a hydraulic cylinder set in the masonry of
the abutment, the piston-rod of which is hooked-shaped at its outer end. The gate carries an eye-
bolt which, when the gate is closed, passes over the hooked end of the piston-rod. The piston-
rod being then forced inward the gate is drawn tightly against the abutment. The advantages
of this gate are perfect control combined with ease; rapidity and simplicity of operation; most
advantageous application of power; concentration of all moving mechanism on top of lock, where
it is perfectly free of access; facility of access to all but a very small portion of the gate itself,
for the purpose of painting and repairs, without interfering with the operation of the lock. This
gate has been adopted for the tail-gate-of Lock No. 3 (see Plate 7).
For -the present I have estimated upon sliding gates for the other tail-gates and all head-gates,
though eventually the rolling gate may be adopted for all.
The necessary machinery for moving the lock and culvert gates, for hauling ships in and out
of the locks, for electric lights and other purposes, will be worked by hydraulic power.


CAPACITY OF THE CANAL.

In order to estimate with a fair degree of precision both the traffic-carrying capacity of the
canal and the time of transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it will be well to refer to the Suez
Canal, compare its dimensions with those proposed for Nicaragua, ascertain the average speed
made by the largest ocean steamers passing through, and then, profiting by the experience in that
water-way, to arrive at what may be reasonably expected with the conditions established for this
project. The Suez Canal has a uniform depth of 26 feet and a width of 72 feet on the bottom
throughout its entire length, with slopes of 2 to I or more, depending on the nature of the soil;
the breadth at the surface of the water varying.from 190 to 330 feet. *
The area of water prism ranges, therefore, between a minimum of 3,406 square feet and a maxi-
mum of 5,226 square feet. The minimum radius of curve is 2,000 feet. Its entire length is opened
to ships of all nationalities, provided their draught of water does not exceed 7.50 meters (24 feet 7
inches).
The maximum speed of all ships passing through the canal is fixed at 10 kilometers (equal to 5J nautical miles
or 6.1 statute miles) per hour. (From Regulations for Navigation of Suez Canal.)
Vexatious delays, due to grounding in rounding the sharp curves and in going into and out of
the sidings to allow other vessels to pass, and stoppages for the night, make the time of vessels in
the canal range from 40 to 70 hours.
However, the average effective sailing speed, as given in the reports of the company, is 5
knots an hour. The passage has been made in 15 hours'by starting at break of day and getting
through before dark.
The following extracts from the reports of officers of United States naval vessels passing
through the canal will be of interest in this connection.
Lieut. Commander C. F. Goodrich, U. S. N., navigator of the U. S. S. Tennessee, under date
Suez, August 19, 1875, says:
As to steering apparatus, the only precaution taken was to see that the wheel ropes were very taut, that the ship
might answer her helm instantly. The Tennessee averaged 5.3 knots through the canal (the maximum speed per-
mitted); stopped three times to gar6 (gares are the turn-outs in the single-track road); spent one night in Lake Timsah,
and was 16J hours actually in motion.
It may be well to mention that each ship has her own canal speed," fast enough to make her steer well, but not
so fast as to wash the banks; a speed depending on the lines of the ship and her displacement. The pilot soon ascer-
tains this rate and adheres to it strictly. The ship steered admirably, and while under way never touched the ground.
In conclusion I would say that there appears to me no difficulty whatever in going through if drawing under 23 feet
of water, provided the ship steers well. Quick, attentive helmsmen then solve the problem. The draught of the
Tennessee was 20 feet 6 inches forward, and 22 feet 3 inches aft. Her length over all is 365 feet, and her beam 46 feet.












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


Report of the passage of the U. S. S. Alert, 1876; "Notes on the Suez Canal, by Commander
J. D. Marvin, U. S. N.":
The curves, with the exception of an S, just north of Lake Timnsah, are none of them sharp or difficult. The
Khedive's yacht, a side-wheel vessel 400 feet long, 45 feet beam, and 65 feet over paddle-boxes, has passed through
the canal several times. This of itself is the best proof of its navigability for anything afloat drawing less than 24
feet. The effect of wash, caused by the passage of large vessels, is not great; smaller ones, like the Alert, do no
damage.
(The draught of the Alert was 13 feet 9 inches aft.)
Commander Sampson, of the Swatara, says:
Vessels passing through the canal are permitted to make 51 knots only. I was surprised to find how much power
is required to drive the ship at this low speed. We were making from 5 to 51 knots, depending on the tide, while
the power developed by the engines would have been sufficient to drive the ship from 7 to 7J knots in the open sea.
(The Swatara was drawing 18 feet aft.)
The large English troop-ships are obliged to develop their full power to make 5 knots through
the canal. Col. I. Stokes, one of the English directors, has said:
The fact that Her Majesty's troop-ships, vessels of 4,400 tons, 400 feet long, of 52 feet beam, and drawing 22
feet of water, pass through the canal in an average, on 49 voyages, of 17 hours under way, their average time in the
canal being about 40 hours, affords a convincing proof of the sufficiency of the canal for all reasonable purposes as a
mercantile highway. These ships, from their great height out of water, present unusual difficulties, as the large sur-
face exposed to the action of the wind must cause them to make lee-way under a cross-wind more than vessels having
less free-board. It is to be remarked that these vessels are perfect in their capacity for steering, and are handled in a
most masterly manner; but beyond these advantages, attainable by every vessel, they enjoy no special privilege in
the navigation of the canal, and have to take their turn in the sidings like others.
The commanding officer of the U. S. S. Marion reports to the Navy Department, under date
May 19, 1885, as follows:
In this run, from Port Said to Ismaila, we had steam on four boilers, but on account of the vessel ahead of us we
had to go dead slow the most of the time. The wind was light aft, current light and with us. We made about 4
knots over the bottom * It is thought that when the canal is widened all vessels can go at a speed of 8 knots,
or more, and * I have no reason to doubt that this will be the case. From Ismaila to Suez, with no vessel
ahead of us, we made from 7 to 9 knots an hour * and through the lakes could have made 13 had we the
power. The model of the Marion is a fine one, and she made no appreciable wash in the #anal and met with no appre-
ciable resistance.
Recently several ships have passed through portions of the canal at night, under all the restrictions of the com-
pany, and they experienced no great difficulty, by using electric lights. The chief difficulty is in the lakes, where,
there being no range lights, the pilot must depend on buoys for guidance * We left Port Said at 7.15 a. m.,
on May 8, and arrived at Ismaila at 6.25 p. m. Went into gark at once, and passed vessels in gar6 twice. Left Ismaila
at 4.30 a. m., and arrived at Suez at 1.40 p. m., having made the run in nine hours; one hour and forty minutes of
which time was spent at anchor at Southern and Great Bitter Lakes, to permit vessels to pass. The greater part of the
time we made a speed of from 7 to 9 knots, as we were the leading vessel.
(The Marion is 215 feet 1 inches long, 37 feet beam, and 17 feet 8 inches draught of water.)
During the year 1883, 3,307 vessels, with an aggregate net tonnage of 5,778,323, passed through
the canal, the gross tonnage being 8,051,307. The mean effective sailing-time was 19 hours and 30
minutes, or an average speed of 5.1 miles an hour. The mean net tonnage per vessel was 1,747,
and the mean gross tonnage, 2,435. The above-stated facts seem to show conclusively that vessels
of 4,400 tons, 400 feet long, 52 feet beam, and drawing 22 feet of water can go through the Suez
canal with an average speed of 6 statute miles per hour, and that the speed of smaller vessels
varies between 6 and 8 miles per hour.


S. Ex 99----3













REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


The following table, showing the dimensions proposed for the Nicarauga Canal in the several
sections into which the r.ute has been subdivided, is taken as a basis for computing the traffic-
carrying capacity of the canal and the effective sailing-time from ocean to ocean.

Table showing the dimensions of the several sections of the proposed canal.


/ Width.
Sections. Distance. Depth. Area of prism.
Bottom. Surface.

Miles. Feet. Feet. Feet. Squarefeet.
From Greytown to Lock No. 1 .......................canal.. 11.61 120 288 28 5, 712
From Lock No. I to Lock No. 2 .....................canal.. 3.19 80 184 30 3,673
From Lock No. 1 to Lock No. 2 ................... 2 basins.. 0.25 150 210 30 5,400
From Lock No. 2 to Lock No. 3 ......................canal.. 0. 94 80 184 30 3, 673
From Lock No. 2 to Lock No. 3 ................. 2 basins.. 0.25 150 210 30 5,400
From Lock No. 3 to west end divide cut............. canal.. 2.58 80 80 30 2, 400
From Lock No. 3 to west end divide cut............1 basin.. 0.125 150 210 30 5,400
From Lock No. 3 to west end divide cut .............canal.. 0.51 100 100 30 3, 000
Basin of San Francisco....................free navigation.. 6.31 "1, 000 to, 3000 '1,500 to 4, 000 *40 mean. Undetermined.
Basin of San Francisco........-...................canal.. 1.17 120 204 28 4,536
Basin of San Francisco ................... free navigation.. 2.20 *500 to 1, 000 *800 to 1, 200 *35 Undetermined.
From San Francisco basin to canal entrance................. 1.82. 120 204 28 4,536
River San Juan, first section ............................... 19.25 *600 to 1, 500 *2, 000 *70 mean. Undelt-mined.
River San Juan, second section............................ 17.79 *600 to 1, 500 *2,000 *35 mean. Undetermined.
River San Juan, where dredging is needed ................. 27.50 *1, 000 to 1, 500 *2, 000 *28 mean. Undetermined.
Lake ................................. .............. 56.50 *90 miles. *90 miles. *50 mean. Undeternuned.
Western division, first section ..................... canal.. 2.27 120 174 28 3,846
Western division, second section. ..................canal.. 3.67 80 80 30 2,400
Western division, third section .....................canal.. 2. 22 120 204 28 4, 536
From Lock No. 4 to Lock No. 5 ....................canal.. 1.56 80 184 30 3,673
From Lock No. 4 to Lock No. 5....................2 basins.. 0. 25 150 210 30 5, 400
From Lock No. 5 to Locl.No. 6 .................... canal.. 3.05 80 184 30 3, 673
From Lock No. 5 to Lock No. 6...................2 basins.. 0.25 150 210 30 5,400
From Lock No. 6 to Lock No. 7 ....................canal.. 1.62 80 184 30 3,673
From Lock No. 6 to Lock No. 7..................2 basins. 0. 25 150 210 30 5,400
From Lock No. 7 to Brito ........ ..................anal. 1.40 120 288 28 5,712

Estimated.


RECAPITULATION.
Canal and basins, east side ................................................... 22.44
Canal and basins, west side .....- .......................................... 16.54
Seven locks ...............- ..................... ........................................-
Basin of San Francisco ...................................................................
River San Juan....---......--- ...--.............................................---......--.....
Lake .San........................... ............. ..................................
Lake .....-..............


Miles.
38.98
1.27
8.51
64.54
56.50


Total distance........................................ ......... .... .. 169.80

An inspection of the table will show that in 22.37 miles, or 57 per cent., of the canal in excava-
tion the prism is large enough for vessels in transit to pass each other, and of a sectional area
in excess of the maximum area in the Suez Canal; that the remaining distance in which large
vessels cannot conveniently pass each other is so divided that the longest is only 3.67 miles in
length; that, with two exceptions, those short reaches of narrow canal are situated between the
locks, and can be traversed by any vessel in less time than is estimated for the passage of a lock;
consequently, unless a double system of locks be constructed, nothing will be gained by au enlarge-
ment of the prisms. The exceptions referred to are the rock cuts through the eastern and western
divides, 2.58 and 3.67 miles, respectively, in length. The possible detention in the transit, due to
those narrow cuts, which should not in any case exceed 45 minutes, would not justify the necessary
increase of expense involved in an enlargement of the cross-section proposed. It will be observed
that both the bottom width and the depth of the proposed canal are larger than those of the Suez
Canal.












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


In the lake and in the largest portion of the Juan River vessels can travel as fast as at sea.
In some sections of the river, and possibly in the basin of the San Francisco, although the channel
is at all points deep and of considerable width, the speed may be somewhat checked by reason of
the curves.
Estimated time of through transit by steamer.
h. m.
38.98 miles of canal, at 5 miles an hour ..........-- ..-.....-.. -....---..--...-... .--.. 7 48
8.51 miles in the San Francisco basin, at 7 miles an hour ...---...---..........-- ......-. 1 14
64.54 miles in the San Juan River, at 8 miles an hour. ---..---.............---.......... 8 04
56.50 miles in the lake, at 10 miles an hour .----..-.........--- ..----..---......-....... 5 39
Time allowed for passing 7 locks, at 45 minutes each--......-- .---...- ..-- ----...- ...-. 5 15
Allow for detentions in narrow cuts, &c...--- .........-- ..--------- ..----....------........ 2 00
Total time. ..... .- ......- ....-.. .. ---.......----...---.............-...- ....----. 30 00

The experience of the Suez Canal shows that the actual time of transit is more likely to fall
under than to exceed the above estimate.
The traffic of the canal is limited by the time required to pass a lock, and on the basis of 45
minutes (above estimated), and allowing but one vessel to each lockage, the number of vessels that
can pass the canal in one day will be 32, or in one year 11,680, which, at the average net tonnage
of vessels passing the Suez Canal, will give an annual traffic of 20,440,000 tons. This is on the
basis that the navigation will not be stopped during the night.
With abundant water-power at the several locks and at the dam, there is no reason why the
whole canal should not be sufficiently illuminated by electric lights; and with beacons and iange-
lights in the river and lake, vessels can travel at all times with perfect safety.

MATERIALS OF CONSTRUCTION.

On the western side of the lake a great variety of excellent construction timber abounds on
the line of the canal and for many miles to the north and south of it. Its present market value
exceeds but little the cost of the labor to cut it. In fact, it may be safely stated that in clearing
the ground for the canal more timber can be obtained than will be actually needed for the purposes
of the work. The valley of the San Jiaan River, from Toro Rapids to the San Juanillo, including
the basin of the San Francisco, is also heavily timbered, the virgin forests having never been dis-
turbed by the hand of man, except on the immediate river banks, where a small band of wood-
choppers keep the river boats supplied with fuel. Much of this timber compares favorably in the
most important characteristics with the best in the markets of the world, and its durability, both
when exposed to the weather lnd under ground or water, has been fully demonstrated in its
extensive and various uses in that country. From Greytown to Lock No. 1, a distance of about 12
miles, heavy timber is also found in the vicinity of the canal line, but of an inferior quality to that
of the more elevated lands. However, for temporary structure it would answer the purpose as
well.
No large quarries have been opened in Nicaragua, and with the exception of a limited number
of coarse sandstone blocks, used in the construction of some public buildings, dimension stones
are never employed. Rubble masonry is the construction method adopted where something neater
and more substantial than the adobe is desirable, while bricks are seldom seen except on floors.
The rubble walls are, as a rule, a roughly put up mass of mortar and broken stones of all sizes
and shapes, in which the mortar predominates, depending altogether on t ie excellent quality of
the lime for their stability. However, this primitive and defective method of construction has
been constantly and successfully in use since the time of the "Conquest," in the construction of
indigo vats and dams across streams, by which the waters are raised 2" feet or more. Some of
these works have been standing over one hundred years, and, notwithstanding their constant
exposure to strong currents and absolute neglect, they are now found in an almost perfect state
of preservation. Reservoirs of the same construction, built above ground, with dimensions not in
excess of what should have been adopted for the best material and workmanship, are also seen at
several places without any indications of leakage, the mortar being as hard as the stone. Thia












36 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

superior lime can be had at several places close to the line of the canal, and I am firmly of the
opinion that when properly manufactured and manipulated. it will be found the equal if not the
superior to many of the cements in the market.
It is believed that large blocks of granite could be obtained from the east shore of the lake,
but none is proposed to be used for the purposes of the canal. Concrete is the material recoii-
mended as the most suitable for the construction of the locks and the dam, and the best stone for
its composition (hard trap) is found on the line of the canal and can be obtained for the expense
of transportation from the excavations through the divides. Excellent clean sand and gravel
abound on the shores of the lake, in the bed of the Rio Grande, in the western division, and in
the river San Juan, from the forks of the San Carlos to Greytown. Suitable clay for the manu-
facture of bricks is met with at numerous points along the route.


CLIMATE, RAIN, AND HEALTH.

The National Institute of Granada has in late years supplied a need long felt by those visiting
the country in the interest of science, by establishing a well-conducted system of meteorological
observations, and it may be hoped that the advantages of that step in the right direction will be
fully appreciated by the people, and these valuable investigations will soon be extended to other
sections of the country. Previous to the present creditable organization of that institution, the
only available reliable meteorological records were those obtained by Colonel Childs in 1850-'51,
and by the United States surveying expeditions of 1872-'73, given by Captain Lull in his report.
They were, however, the results of observations maintained for but a short time at the same place,
and although interesting, could not be regarded as of much practical value. Colonel Childs's ob-
servations were taken at Rivas from September 7, 1850, to March 11, 1851, and in the valley of the
San Juan River from the latter date to September 25, of the same year. His total rainfall for
thirteen months was 101.735 inches, of which 72.88 inches fell in the valley of the San Juan. The
expedition of 1872-'73 found at Virgin Bay, four miles south of Rivas, an aggregate fall of 47.79
inches from July 1, 1872, to March 14, 1873; and allowing a fall of 8 inches for the month of June,
so as to complete the rainy season, the total rainfall for that year, on the west side of the lake,
may be estimated at 56 inches. In that section of the country the seasons are well defined. It
may be said that the wet season begins on the 15th of May'and lasts until the 15th of November;
the dry weather comprising the other six months of the year, in which practically no rain falls.

Meteorological observations of the National Tnstitute, Granada, Nicaragua.
[Latitude, 110 56'. Longitude west of Greenwich, 850 51'. Elevgion, 229.6 feet.]

1883.

Mean temperature in the shade. (Fahr.) Rainfall.
Months. Barometer, Direction of
Months. mean. d.
Maximum. Minimum. Meaor wind. unt. D in
month, Amount. Damo in
monthmonth.

Inches. o o Inches.
January................................. 29.70 88.5 70.0 81.0 NE. 0.346 ..............
February ..................- ............. 29.66 88.0 69.0 82.0 E. ..........................
M arch .................................. 29.74 89.0 71.5 82.5 E. ...........................
April .................................... 29.70 91.0 75.0 83.0 E. 0.197 .............
May :.............. ...................... 29.66 93.0 73.5 84.0 E. 0.276 ..............
June..................................... 29.63 91.0 78.0 82.5 E. 5.197 ..............
July ................................. 29.63 89. 5 71.5 81.5 SE. 2.657 ..............
August ................................. 29.68 89.5 68.0 81.0 E. 5.472 ..............
September............................... 29.60 89.5 71.5 80.0 E. 9.740 ..............
October.................................. 29.68 88.0 70.0 79.0 NE. 19.918
November ........... ................. 29.67 88.0 68.0 77.5 NE. 3.641 ..............
December............................. 2967 88.0 6. 0 75.0 N. ..
29.67 89.4 71.0 80.8 E. 47.439 ..............














37


REPORT.OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


Meteorological observations of the National Institute, Granada, Nicaragua-Continued.

1884.


Mean temperature in the shade. (Fahr.) Rainfall.

Months. Barometer, D---irection of
mean. win d.
mean. Maximum. Minimum. ean for wind. Days in
aximum. Minimum. montAmount month


January.................................
February ................................
March .................................
April ...................................
May ..................................
June....................................
July ..................................
August............................
September.................... .........
October............... ..................
November ..............................
December...............................


0
86. 0
87. 0
89.0
91. 5
91.5
91. 5
90. 5
90.5
89. 5
89. 5
89.5
87. O
89.4


0
70. 0
66.0
65. 0
71.5
73.5
70. 0
71.0
68. 0
68.0
68. 0
69. 0
68. 0
69.0


80.0 | E.
81.04 E.


.Tnches.






8.25 10
3.99 12
3.75 9
8.82 16
8.63 17
2.28 8
0.26 2
35.98 74


The above interesting table may be accepted as a fair average of the temperature and rainfall
on the west side of the lake. In some years the rainfall may reach 60 inches, while in others it
may be less than the total given for 1884, which has been regarded as a remarkably dry year. The
mean may be taken at 50 inches.
In the valley of the San Juan the temperature may not vary materially from that given in thb
tables, but the wet season is generally longer, with more copious rainfall, heavy showers, especially
at night, being not unusual in what is called the dry season, and the total rainfall may reach, I
believe, 100 inches.
As to the health of the country, I have but little to add to what has already been stated by
Captain Lull and by Dr. J. T. Bransford, U. S. N., who, as medical officer of the previous surveying
expeditions, and in subsequent trips to Nicaragua, has made a thorough study of the sanitary con-
ditions of the country. Being ordered by the Department to the United States steamship Iriquois,
while on his way from Nicaragua, I afn unable to submit now the report of his observations while
with the late surveying party. I can say, however, that during the four months we remained in
the country, of which more than three months were of constant, arduous work, exposure, and priva-
tion, no officer of the party was ever affected by sickness due to climatic causes; and as for the
natives attached to the'party, their only ailments were due to bruises caused by want of protection
for their feet and limbs. It may be proper to add that two of the officers had not visited the
country before, and that our work was confined to the uninhabited and what is generally regarded
as the most unhealthy portion of the country.


WATER SUPPLY

Lake Nicaragua has a surface area of about 2,600 square miles, and a water-shed of not less
than 8,000 square miles.
Careful gauges of the San Juan River, at its lowest stage, between the lake and Toro Rapids,
taken by Lieut. J. W. Miller in 1873, showed a minimum flow of 11,390 cubic feet per second.
Colonel Childs estimated the discharge, with full lake, in the rainy season, at 18,059 cubic feet per
second, which gives a mean flow of 14,724 cubic feet per second, or 1,272,153,600 cubic feet per day.


Water required for one lockage on the east side .......--.........................
Water required for one lockage on the west side ................................
Water required for one lockage on both sides ........... ........................
Water required for thirty-two double lockages per day...........................
Which will give a daily excess of the lake supply only of.........................


Cubic feet.
2,580,305
1,465,944
4,046,249
129,479,968
1,142,673,632


Inchae.
29.65
29.64
29.60
29.64
29.64
29.61
29.61
29.58
29.56
29.62
29.64
29. 65
29.62


*










REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


To the latter amount must be added the flow of the several tributaries of the San Juan River
between the lake and the dam, and also the San Francisco and its tributaries, which will more
than compensate for leakage and evaporation.
The latter, however, need not be provided for, it being well known that in those latitudes the
condensation during the night fully compensates for the evaporation in the day.

HARBORS.

No changes are here proposed in the methods recommended in Captain Lull's report for the
improvement of the harbors at either terminus of the canal. But the change of location in the
tide-lock near Brito, from the inner end of the harbor, as was before designed, to a place 1.4 miles
inland, will require material modifications in the arrangement of the anchorage. The canal will be
enlarged along that distance, which may be regarded as a portion of the harbor itself, where ves-
sels can either lie or pass each other without inconvenience. A large bay, for the sole purpose of
accommodating a number of ships, seems, therefore, unnecessary with the new system, the main
object being to have an easy entrance to the harbor, and an extensive area inside for the expansion
of the swell, in order to secure access to the lock, free from the influence of the sea. This, I be-
lieve, can be effectively accomplished by the plan proposed:
The map of Greytown submitted with this report was made by engineers employed by the
Government of Nicaragua, and is believed to be correct. It shows no marked change in the con-
ditions of that place since the United States Government survey of 1872-'73, except an increased
silting up in the inner bay, and a slight recession of the six-fathom line off-shore.
The method before recommended will be equally adapted to the present conditions, with
greater facilities and economy in its execution, on account of the near supply of stone for the break-
water from the "divide cut," instead of Monkey Point, as originally estimated for.
The same remarks as to the enlargement at the lower section of the canal in the vicinity of
Brito are applicable to this side, except that the enlarged section at the level of the sea is 11.6
miles long against 1.4 on the Pacific slope.
The average range of the tide at Greytown is but 18 inches, and consequently need not be
considered in the constructions and operations of the lower lock.

ESTIMATES.

The estimate of the cost of the canal has been prepared after careful computations of all the
works required for the completion of the canal and its accessories, from the data obtained by an
actual location of the line, and the plans prepared after due consideration for the different works
required.
The canal route recommended is the result of an actual instrumental location, after extended
and searching examinations and a full appreciation* of all the advantages and disadvantages
presented by the topography of the country.
The surveys have been conducted with the utmost care, and sufficiently in detail to insure a
close estimate of the cost of the work.
There is, however, one element of uncertainty in the computations which we were not able to
eliminate. I allude to our limited information as to the geological formation of the country
traversed by the canal. The exact amount of each of the different kinds of material to be removed
can only be obtained by boring at short intervals along the line and down to the bottom of the
canal, a work which the last expedition was not able to undertake. Our investigations in that
respect were confined to the beds and banks of streams and to surface indications. The expedi-
tion of 1872-'73 was provided with some boring tools, soundings were taken to the required depth,
at short distances apart, between the summit of the western divide" and the Pacific, and the
information thus obtained has been utilized in preparing this estimate.
The error resulting from this lack of information cannot, however, be great. It has been our
purpose rather to exaggerate than to underestimate the difficulties likely to be met with in the
execution of the work.












-REPO1RT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


Through the eastern divide" where trap-rock was seen in the beds of streams and cascades
from 40 to 60 feet in height, the excavation, 14,300 feet long and 119 feet average depth above
the surface of the water in the canal, has been estimated as in rock with but 10 feet top cover-
ing of earth.
All other comparatively deep cuts, where the indications were not so decided, have also been
computed on the same basis.
Soft soil has been estimated for only in the low alluvial valleys where only clay and sand can
be found to a great depth, and on the west side where the nature of the soil has been ascertained
by borings. It is believed, therefore, that when a more careful investigation is made, the amount
of rock to be removed will be found much less than the total here given.
It is admitted that the cut through the eastern "divide" is a very serious undertaking; in
fact, the heavy work in the whole route may be said to be concentrated in those 14,300 feet in
length; but with an abundant water-power on both slopes, convenient dumping-ground close at
hand, an inexhaustible supply of timber for fuel and constructive purposes, the assistance of a
railroad, and with the modern appliances for blasting and removing rock in large masses, the work
can be thoroughly and economically done in less than five years. Much of the rock obtained from
this excavation will be utilized in the construction of the breakwater at Greytown, the locks, the.
dam, and the lining of the embankments and canal slopes. The cost of this material at the dif-
ferent places where it is proposed to be used will be only that of transportation, the loading in
the car being charged to the cost of excavation. The other excavations along the line need no
special mention. With the exception of that portion through the "western divide" where the average
depth of cut is 30 feet for a distance of 2.27 miles, they are of moderate depth,' the greater portion
just large enough to retain the water in the canal below the surface of the ground.
Dumping-ground can be found at convenient distances at all points, and for nearly one-third
of the whole distance the excavation will be done by dredging, and the material deposited directly
on both sides of the cut. On the west side the rock from the summit cut is proposed to be utilized
as on the east side, in the construction of locks, the dam across the Rio Grande, weirs, culverts,
the breakwater at Brito, and in protecting the slopes of the canal.
A railroad has been estimated for from Greytown to the dam across the San Juan River and
between the lake and Brito, which, together with the lake and river, will afford easy and economical
transportation along the whole route. Provision has also been made for lighting the whole canal,
so that navigation need not be stopped at night. With ample water-power at the locks and the
dam, and in the streams on both sides of the eastern "divide," the whole canal in excavation and
the ports, can be illuminated by electricity at but little expense. As for the river and lake, beacons
and range-lights will be a more economical and equally efficient method.
That the prices to be adopted in estimating the cost of the canal should be greater than would
be required for similar work located in an improved section of this country is an admitted fact.
A large percentage of this excess will be in the cost of transporting laborers and tools and machinery
of every description for the prosecution of the work. The country along the river and between
Greytown and the dam being uninhabited, and that between the lake and the Pacific sparsely
populated, the erection of houses for the protection of property and the proper accommodation and
preservation of health of the workmen will be necessary. These, however, need only be temporary
structures, built with material obtainable along the line of the canal at but little more cost
than the labor of handling it. Considerable delay and expense will be found unavoidable in the
installation or preliminary preparations for commencing the work.
Another contingency which may possibly produce a marked influence on the cost of the canal
is the contingent physical inability of the imported workmen to perform the ordinary daily labor
as compared to that accomplished in the execution of similar work in a more temperate climate.
The laboring classes in Nicaragua, when under proper control, are capable of an activity and
endurance under great fatigue and exposure to the elements scarcely equaled in any other country,
and with no apparent injury to their health; yet the same capabilities cannot be expected of
unacclimated foreigners, accustomed to different habits of life. It is believed that not less than
6,000 excellent laborers can be obtained from the Central American States, and that with a judicious
management all the help needed can be obtained from the Gulf States in this country, where the











REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY


climatical conditions are in many respects similar to those prevailing over a large part of the canal
route. The skilled labor will have to be procured, as a rule, from a more developed section of this
country, but of that class only a comparatively small number will be needed. On the west side
of the lake, where the greater number of laborers will be employed, the climate is not excelled for
salubrity by any other portion of Central America; and in that portion of the eastern section, from
the dam to Greytown, which is the only locality where trouble from climatic causes is to be
apprehended, the concentration of the work into two masses, one of dredging, the other of rock
excavation, will permit the use of machinery to such an extent as to greatly reduce the number of
laborers; in fact, almost exclude entirely manual labor.
The small force necessary to handle and attend the machinery will be either housed on the
dredgers or in quarters on the "divide," where, with the purest of water from the streams, and the
cool fresh "trades" constantly sweeping in from the sea, the slightest sanitary regulations will
insure perfect health the year round.
The prices adopted are believed to be sufficient to cover the cost of the work under any possible
unfavorable conditions, if controlled by an intelligent and business-like management.
It is estimated that the canal can be completed in six years, of which time one year will be
expended in perfecting the location and making the necessary preparations for active operations.

CONCLUSION.

The canal route.here described and recommended for consideration is believed to be perfectly
practicable, free from complicated or doubtful engineering problems, and the most economical, con-
venient, and safe route for interoceanic ship communication between the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans, not only through the State of Nicaragua, but across the American Isthmus. A final and
more detailed location of the line may show where changes in details can be made in the interest
of an economical construction; but the general direction and main features cannot, it is firmly be-
lieved, be greatly improved upon. Between the lake and the Pacific the line was first located by
Colonel Childs in 1850-'51, by the United States surveying expedition in 1872-'73, and subsequently
revised by me by order of the Department in 1880. That portion of the route traverses a com-
paratively well-developed and open country, the topography of which is well known, and there
seems to be but little room left for further improvements. The lake and San Juan River were also
surveyed by Colonel Childs and the United States expeditions, with remarkably close results, and
the information then obtained has been made use of in preparing plans and estimates for this
project. There remained, therefore, but a limited field for our investigations, viz: between the
river San Juan and Greytown, a region which had been partially explored by me with encouraging
results, pointing to a more favorable location for the canal line than that proposed by previous
surveys. To the verification of these promising indications the late surveying party devoted 95
days of constant, arduous field-work, and the result of its labors, contained in this report, will, it
is hoped, be regarded a satisfactory compensation for our efforts. The line located by former ex-
peditions has been reduced by 21.49 miles of canal excavation and 11.46 miles in total length from
ocean to ocean. The estimate of cost on the same basis as to dimensions of prism, prices, &c.,
would be $48,800,167, as compared with $65,722,147, the estimate of former surveys, a reduction
of $16,921,980.
An estimate of the cost of the work, 11 sheets of drawings, a report on the geological speci-
mens collected by the party, and fifty-six photographs, illustrating certain interesting features of
the country, are submitted with this report.
Before closing, I take pleasure in expressing my high appreciation of the valuable services
rendered by, and the hearty co-operation received, from the officers of the party. To the untiring
energy, perseverance, and ability of Civil Engineer R. E. Peary, U. S. N., and Ensign W. I. Cham-
bers, U. S. N. (the former of whom, during a large portion of the time, was away from the main
party with a small force of natives, dependent entirely on his own resources and judgment, and
the latter, who, in addition to the important services rendered in connection with the field-work,












REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY. 41

discharged in a most satisfactory manner the onerous duties of executive in the camp organization),
is entirely due the success of the survey, and their services in the office work afterwards have been
equally invaluable.
Owing to the remarkably good health enjoyed by the party, the professional ability of Dr. J.
T. Bransford, U. S. N., was rarely called into play; but his services in making reconnaissances,
for which he was always ready and willing, in giving what might be called preventive advice,
for which his long experience in that climate rendered him specially fitted; in collecting geological
and zoological specimens, and in relieving me from the care and responsibility of the health of the
party, were invaluable.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. G. MENOCAL,
Civil Engineer, U. 8 N., in charge of surveying party.
Hon. WILLIAM C. WHITNEY,
Secretary of the Navy,






























ESTIMATES OF COST.





WESTERN DIVISION.

[Lake Nicaragua to Pacific, 17.27 miles. I

SECTION 1.

Lake to Brito.

2,977,746 cubic yards excavation in rock, above water, at $1.50....-....---...........-....--- ........ $4, 466,619 00
8,392,834 cubic yards excavation in earth, above water, at 40 cents......----------.............-...-. 3,357,133 00
2,459,000 cubic yards dredging in sand, at 20 cents...-.............................................. 491,800 00
62,370 cubic yards stone, pitching sides of canal, at $2 ..........................-...-................ 124,740 00
Illuminating canal (at J-mile intervals), 16 incandescent electric beacons and plant ..--....---...---. 43,000 00
Illuminating locks (4 lights at each), 16 electric arc lamps and 4 separate dynamos -...............-- 3, 000 00

8,486,292 00

Diversion of the Rio Grande and Rio Lajas into lake.

1,592,434 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents.----.......--....-.......... ...----.........-- 636,973 00
493,649 cubic yards excavation in rock, at $1.50 ............----...........------- .......-..-.......... 605,474 00
Dam across Rio Grande --...--...- -...................-.....--..----........-- ..-- ........---- ...... 140,000 00
Artificial channel at mouth of Lajas ......---.....----.......-- ....---....-- .. ..-.....-.....--....-.. 488,000 00

1,870,447 00
Other auxiliary work.
Receiving weir to take Espinal into canal..--...---..---- -..----...... ............................... 7,000 00
Seven waste-weirs below Las Serdas to discharge Rio Grande...---.........--...---....--.......--... 85, 823 00
Culverts and cesspools (lake to Brito) ....... .........---......................-..-...........-...... 175,706 00
Drain at foot of embankment..........---....----------..--.............----..............-....-..... 35,200 00
Grubbing and clearing ......----....--..-- ......-- ......----..---....... .......... .......... ..... 101,600 00
Three swinging bridges at roads over canal .....-....-....---.........-........-...-...........-.... 60, 000 00
Narrow-gauge railroad (lake to Brito), 18 miles, at $16,000 --.....-- ..-...-.... .....-........... .... 288,000 00

753,329 00
Tidal lock, No. 7.
224,468 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents .----.------..... --.............................. 89,787 20
145,068 cubic yards concrete (rock obtained from "divide" cut, at $6--......-.....-........--.....-.. 870,408 00
133,101 cubic feet timber, at 50 cents ---...............-............................................. 66,550 50
1,020 fender-piles, at $13.50 ..--.....------.....-...-- ..----.....................-.........-.......... .. 13,770 00
3,699 cubic feet fender-wales, at 50 cents .-----.---.... ----...-........................-....---....-.. 1,849 50
2,400 cubic yards stone pitching in basin, at $2 .........: ............................. ........... 4,800 00
Gates-------------------------------------------------------------------------------19 -6 0
Gates ................---..--. ....-- -............ ............ ................ .................... 129,164 00
Machinery----------------------------------------------------------------------------10,0 00
Machinery ................-....................... ............ ...................;.................. 100,000 00
Buildings .---..------------------------..... ........................................................... 30,000 00
Pumping................-------------.................................................................... 100, 000 00

1,406,329 20















44 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


Lock No. 6.
244,961 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents ..................... ............................. $97,9t4 -40
' 126,129 cubic yards concrete (rock obtained from "divide" cut), at $6---..-----------... ------------..... 756,774 00
38, 892 cubic feet timber, at 50 cents..........---.......--..............--....----. .................... 19, 446 00
1,020 fender-piles, at $13.50 ..-.......................-......-............--...-.....................- 1:3, 770 00
3,699 cubic feet fender-wales, at 50 cents ...-..--....-.....-.........-......-........ ............-.... 1,849 50
4,800 cubic yards stone pitching in basin, at $2..--.......------.....---...................--........ 9,600 00
Gates .--..................-- --- ----.. -- ...-- ...----......... ----...- ..---..-........--........---.. 114,934 40
Machinery ................- ..-..........................-....-....-............-.......-........-.. 100, 000 00
Buildings ..---...............--..--------------------------------------------...-----......--.. 30, 000 00

1,144,358 30

Lock No. 5.
Same as Lock No. 6................-..........-.. ............ ................................-..... 1,144, 358 30

Lock No. 4.
230,461 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents..--------...................---...-- .........-.. .. 92,184 40
8,700 cubic yards excavation'in rock, at $2 .......---....--....---- ........................-......--- 17,400 00
112,175 cubic yards concrete (rock obtained from "divide" cut), at $6 .----..---....--------------................... 673, 050 00
38,892 cubic feet timber, a 50 cents .......-..-...........-......--..---- .........-... ....--..--..... 19, 446 00
1,020 fender-piles, at $13.50 ...--..-....................-- -.......... -.... -....-- ....-.... .......... .. 13,770 00
3,699 cubic feet fender-wales, at 50 cents .......................-..-- ..-- .....-....-- ....- ......-- -- 1,849 50
2,400 cubic yards stone pitching in basin, at $2 ............------ ................ .............. ...... 4,800 00
Gates ...-........ .........-...- .-... -- .....-....---- ..-- ....----....-....----- ..-..-----............ 114,934 40
Machinery .................................................... ............. ........................ 100,000 00
Buildings ..................................................................................... 30,000 00

1,067,434 30
SECTION 2.

Harbor of Brito.
6,870,000 cubic yards dredging, at 20 cents .......----.... ...---............--- ...... ................ 1,374,000 00
150,000 cubic yards stone in breakwaters (stone obtained from "divide" cut), at $1.50 ................ 225, 000 00
Lighting and buoying:
1 second-order lense in signal-tower on promontory .....................--....-.....-.......... 10,000 00
1 range-light beacon, inner base of promontory ................................................ 100 00
2 pier-head lights-...----------.........--........--- ...--- ...---.......---- ...... .....-...... 2, 000 00
1 first-class (middle channel) Nun buoy ..........-......--.....--.............-...-....-......-.. 200 00
4 third-class (side channel) Nun buoys....................---.---......................... .... ---200 00


RECAPITULATION (Western division).


1,611,500 00


Section 1:
Excavation and embankment----...--..--.......... ....................... ................ 8, 486,292 00
Diversion of Rio Grande and Rio Lajas-......-..-.....-...---- ..............--- ............ .... 1,870,447 00
Other auxiliary work-------------.... ........--....--.. ................---..........-............ 753,329 00
Locks Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7 ......-........--..................--..........-..........-. ..... .... .. 4,762,480 O0
.Section 2. Harbor of Brito .. ........-.......... ....-- .....-.......-............-..........-..-.... 1,611,500 00

Total ...... ............................................ ................................. 17,484,048 00

MIDDLE DIVISION.
[Lake Nicaragua, Rio San Juan, Valley of Rio San Francisco, 133.05 miles.]
SECTION 1.

Lake Nicaragua, 56.5 miles.
877,675 cubic yards dredging, at 40 cents ...-........................----............................ 351,070 00
Lighting and buoying:
1 fourth-order lens in signal-tower at mouth of Rio Lajas .....-.--..-..-- ...-...--............. 7,000 00
1 two-mile range beacon ------........-...-- .....-.............-.........-...-................ 100 00
1 fourth-order lens in keeper's dwelling at north end Solentiname ..---.....-........ ........... 6,000 00
1 second-order lens on hill, old Fort San Carlos ............---- ...-- .--........................ 8,000 00
1 fourth-order range-light in signal-tower, old Fort San Carlos-............---..--....- ........ 7,000 00
1 second-class (middle channel) Nun buoy at mouth of Lajas--.......----........... ...-........ 100 00
2 third-class (side channel) Nun buoys at mouth of Lajas -------.... --...- ....--.....--........ 100 00
5 third-class (middle channel) Nun buoys at entrance Rio San Juan .----.......................... 150 00

379,520 00














REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


SECTION 2.

Rio San Juan, 64.54 miles.

398,613 cubic yards excavation in rock, under water, at $5 ..........................................
423,540 cubic yards excavation in earth, above water, at 40 cents............ .......... ...........
2,150,900 cubic yards dredging in earth, at 40 cents .................................................
Grubbing and clearing across bends (377 acres), at $100 ......... ...................................
Lighting and buoying:
10 middle channel spar-buoys (Fort San Carlos to Toro), at $25..-........... -...........-.....
80 western river light-beacons, at $50 .....................................................
1 electric are light in signal-tower at dam ...........................................-......
3 incandescent electric light beacons at dam basin..........................-................



SECTION 3.


$1,993,065
169,416
860,360
37,700


250 00
4,000 00'
3,000 00
1,000 00

3,068,791 00


Valley of Rio San Francisco, 12.01 miles.

Clearing trees from line of canal (1,265 acres), at $100 ............... ...-...---------... .....--...... 126,500 00
548,576 cubic yards excavation in rock, at $1.50......-........-..............-...-.......... .......... 822,864 00
400,123 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents .........------.....---...-----..........--- ------. 160,049 00
Lighting: 3 large light beacons, at $1,000 ................... ....................................... 3,000 00

1, 112,413 00


Dam across Rio San Juan at Ochoa.


59,585 cubic yards concrete in foundation, at $9......-......-.......-....-..-- ........................ 536,265 00
82,127 cubic yards concrete in dam and abutments, at $8 ..--......----.....---.....---.--..........--------- 657,016 00
77,088 cubic yards excavation, at $2 ..................................--- ...----........ ............. 154.176 00
Coffer-dams and pumping....--....-.............. --..........-......-......---.........-..-----.... -200,000 00
298,188 cubic feet timber-lining and apron, at 50 cents .............-................................. 149,094 00
7,000 cubic yards dry stone wall, at $4............................................................... 28, 000 00
6,170 piles, about 25 feet long, at $7.50 .--..------......-............-...... ..-- ........ ....------.... 46,275 00
23,241 cubic yards stone and gravel filling in apron, at $2 .--...........------.....-----.....-----..........--.. 46,482 00
83,334 cubic yards stone, gravel, &c.,in front of dam, at 50 cents .--... ............--- ..--- ....... ..--- 41,667 00

1,858, 975 00

Embankment at Ochoa.
42,085 cubic yards embankment, at 50 cents..... .....-............... ............ .......... ..... .. 21,042 00
17,329 cubic yards puddle, at 75 cents ...............---........................................----. 12, 99) 75
3,380 cubic yards stone revetment, at $2.......... ............. ...----------------------....--...... -- 6,760 00
13,932 cubic yards excavation, at 30 cents .........................--.....--...........-- ......--........ 4,179 00
Clearing ground (4 acres), at $150 ............... .................................................... 600 00

45,577 75

Embankment in valley of Rio San Francisco.

1,359,456 cubic yards embankment, rammed in layers of 9 inches, at 50 cents.........-................ 679, 728 00
393,078 cubic yards puddle, at 75 cents ......-........................................................ 294,808 00
80,556 cubic yards stone revetment, at $2...-.................................-........... ........... 161,112 00
329,280 cubic yards excavation, at 30 cents ......................................................... 98,784 00
Clearing ground (71 acres), at $150 ................................................................. 10, 650 00
5,236 cubic yards excavation in rock (tunnel 800 feet long, for drain, 15 feet in diameter), at $5-........ 26,180 00
Gates for 15-foot drain in tunnel ....-..-..-.......................-........... ...... ........-...... 10, 000 00
Waste-weir ............................... .......... .- ........-..... -............-...........-.... 50,000 00

1,331,262 00

Narrow-gauge railroad.
15 miles, at $16,000 ......................................... ........................................ 240,000 00














46 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

RECAPITULATION (Middle division).

Section 1. Lake Nicaragua.......- ......---..-------................ --.........--..............-......-- $378, 520 0
Section 2. River San Juan .....................--....--.--.-- .......--- .... ..---................ .... 3, 068,791 00
Section 3:
Valley of Rio San Francisco ...........-..-............-.................... .............. ... 1,112, 413 00
Dam across San Juan at Ochoa........ .---....-..............----. .......----...-..-.--..--- 1,858, 975 00
Embankment at Ochoa ....-..--...........---.....-- ...-...--- ....--.----.--.....------..-.. 45,577 75
Embankment across Rio San Francisco----...............---..................----..--........ .. 1,331,262 00
Narrow-gauge railroad ..-. .-.--.......................-........-- .. .....---- ..-..-- ..---- .... 240,000 00

8. 036,538 75

EASTERN DIVISION.

[Valley of San Francisco to Greytown, 19.48 miles.]

SECTION 1.

The."divide".

7,760,312 cubic yards excavation in rock, at $1.50 .......---........ ........-...................... .... 11,640,468 00
771,800 cubic yards excavation in earth, 4t 40 cents ...-----------------........ .. ---.... ............. 308,720 00
Grubbing and clearing 265 acres, at $100 ...........----...---.......-..........--......-- -.....--.... 26,500 00
Lighting (at }-mile intervals, 5 incandescent electric beacon-lights and plant).....-...............--- 7,250 00

11,982,938 00

SECTION 2.


From the divide" to Greytown.


12,010,275 cubic yards excavation in earth, above water, at 40 cents.......----....--------............ 4,804,110 00
995,685 cubic yards excavation in earth, above water (diversion of Deseado and San Juanillo), at 40
cents ...-------- ---------- ------.- ... -.... ...........-............-------- ..... ......-....--.. 398,274 00
13,053,300 cubic yards dredging, at 20 cents.......... ......-........ ...-.............. .......-....... 2,610, 660 00
18,350 cubic yards stone pitching, sides of canal, at $2.--........----------------------................. 36,700 00
Grubbing and clearing 1,753 acres, at $100 --... ............................------.................. 175,300 00
Lighting canal (at i-mile intervals), 18 incandescent electric beacons and plant .---...............-.. 50,000 00
Lighting locks (12 electric arc lamps, with separate dynamos for each lock).....-......--. .----.... .. 2,250 00

8,077,294 00

Narrow-gauge railroad.
20 miles, at $16,000.........-....................-................----..........................-.....- 320,000 00

Lock No. 1.
250,761 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents--.....--------......-----.......----.............. .. 100, 304 00
131,290 cubic yards concrete (rock obtained from "divide" cut), at $6 ..--............................ 787,740 00
128,072 cubic feet timber, at 50 cents -----....-----..----... ..-- ......--- ............................ 64,036 00
1,020 fender piles, at $13.50 ---------....---------.......--..........----......------...----------................................. 13,770 00
3,699 cubic feet fender wales, at 50 cents .---...----..........-- --..... ---....--..... ................. 1,849 50
2,400 cubic yards stone pitching in basin, at $2 ......-....-........----....- .......................... 4,800 00
Gates --...---...........---- ...-- ------..-..-..-..-- ..... ------------------------..................... 114,934 40
Machinery .--......---..-- ..------.. -----------... .......------------------.. ........................ 100,000 00
Buildings .-----.----------- ---- -------------------............-...................... ............ 30,000 00
Pumping....................---------------------------------------------------------....... .......................... 100,000 00

1,317,433 90

Look No. 2.
230,461 cubic yards excavation in earth, at 40 cents..---------..-.....-..................-...... .... 92, 184 40
8,700 cubic yards excavation in rock, at $2 -....-..........--- ..........--....... .................... 17,400 00
112,175 cubic yards concrete (rock obtained from "divide" cut), at $6-..........--............ -..... 673, 0M0 00
38,892 cubic feet timber, at 50 cents.......---------------..------...--.................................... 19,446 00
1,020-fender piles, at $13.50 .................................................................................... 13, 770 00














REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


3,699 cubic feet fender wales, at 50 cents ......-....................-.....-.......-............... ... $1,849 50
4,800 cubic yards stone pitching in basin, at $2--...--.. ..----........-- .....----...----------.......... 9,600 00
Gates ....-.....-- ......-...............- .....-.....-... ....-....-.... .....-..-..-....-- ..---- ...--... 114,934 40
Machinery .. ....----.........-- ..------------------.......--...... .... ......--.....--- ....--....-- 100,000 00
Buildings ....................--....-..-................................-....-.................. .... 30,000 00

1,072,234 30

Look No. 3.
343,133 cubic yards excavation in rock, at $2 ..............................................--........ 686,266 00
4,302 cubic yards excavation in rock (tunnel), at $5--......--....--........... ..........-...--.----- 21,510 00
10,550 cubic yards concrete, at $6 ..........-..-........-................................... ........ 63, 300 00
132,663 cubic feet timber, at 50 cents ..-...-..-..- .....-...............-......................-...... 66,331 50
32 fender cribs, at $500 ...-..-...-- .. ...--- .......--- .............-... ........................... .... 16,000 00
Gates ...-...-..................-................ ...-............... -..........-....-................ 188,440 00
Machinery ........-...-........... ..-.........-............................-......-.............-.... 100,000 00
Buildings ...... .......................................... ............-............................ 30, 000 00

1,171,847 0b

SECTION 3.

The harbor of Greytown, restoration by diverting Bio San Juan and building artificial harbor.

2,500 piles in crib work, at $8........-....-.........-..-..............................-............ .. 20,000 00
150,000 cubic feet timber in crib work, at 30 cents .......---- .........-...... ..........-.......-.... 45, 000 00
30,000 pounds iron bolts, at 12 cents-.....--........-....- ..........-............. .......--...... 3,600 00
35,000 cubic yards stone in crib work (stone from "divide" cut), at $1.50 .......-.........------...... 52,500 00
210,000 cubic yards stone in breakwater (stone from "divide" cut), at $1.50--.....----.--- ..-..-- ..- . 315,000 00
4,080,100 cubic yards dredging in sand, at 25 cents....................--......-..-....--........--- .. 1,020,025 00
Obstruction in Rio San Juan to divert its flow ....--..--.................-------------------------....--........ 100,000 00
Piers at entrance to canal..----..................-...............-......-..................-......... 100,000 00
Lighting and buoying:
1 first-order light-house, complete .-.....-- ..- .....-...-......----- .....-- ....-..--...-...--... 100,000 00
3 range beacon lights .....----....-- .............-..---- -.........--....--..-......-..... .. .. 1,000 00
1 breakwater beacon light and signal tower .-...-..- .......................-...-....-...-.. .... 7,000 00
2 pier head-lights...-.......-......-......-........................-.......-............-.... .. 2, 000 00
1 first-class (middle channel) Nun buoy .-............. .....----- -......--..--...--.... ....-.... 200 00
2 second-class (side channel) Nun buoy...-----------............................................... 200 00
2 third-class (side channel) Nun buoy ..----......... ...-................. ..................... 100 00

1,766,625 00

RECAPITULATION (Eastern division).
Section 1. The "divide"--------------...........-....----- ..... ...... ...... .... .... -...... -----. 11,982,938 00
Section 2:
The "divide" to Greytown..-------------........ -...............-....-...--..-..........-..... 8, 077,294 00
Twenty miles narrow-gauge road, at $16,000......-----.... ........---------- -..-.........-.... 320,000 00-
Locks No. 1, 2, and 3 .----.....---...-----..---.----......----------.................... .............. 3,561 515 00
Section 3. Harbor of Greytown .............-------........... ...................................... 1,766,625 CO

Total .................-----------................................................................. 25,708 372 00

GRAND RECAPITULATION.
Western division .----................----.......-----------------------------...... ....... -....... 17,484,048 00
Middle division ....-----........------------ -----------------------.................................................... 8,0:6,538 75
Eastern division ...............-.......-............ ........... ...... ........-....-....-............ 25,708,372 00

Total estimated cost .----..----...--------..---. ................ .......... .................. 51,228,958 75
Surveys, hospitals, shops, &c., management and contingencies, 25 per cent..........-................ 12,807,239 00

Grand total .............................................. .................................. 64,036. 197 75














48 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

Estimate of cost of Nicaragua Canal, location of 1885, on basis of prices and sections adopted for estimates in 1872-'73.

Western division ...............- ....---.... ..-........ ...... ............ .. ........... ............ $12, 878,875 00
Middle division..........- ..-................-................. .-...-........ ............-..... .... 6, 197,851 00
Eastern division ..-......-.....-.................. .................-.....................-......-.. 19,963,408 00
Total estimated cost------------ --------....-----... ............ ....-.. .................-...... 39,040, 134 00
Add 25 per cent. (contingencies) ..--..---.. -- ..- ...----- .---- ...----- ...--...------ ...........---- 9,760, 0-33 00
Grand total ------..................................... .................. ...... .............. 48, 800, 167 00
Estimated cost, location of 1872-'73 ................----- ....--- ........-.... ......-.............-.. 65,722, 147 00
Estimated cost, location of 1885 (on same basis)..---....--.......---.........----...-... ......-...... 48, 800, 167 00
Difference in favor of location of 1885-.....--- -...................................... ....---........ 16,921, 980 00

Respectfully submitted.
A. G. MENOCAL,
Civil Engineer, United States Navy.

























LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.



UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, I). C., December 4, 1885.
SIR: In response to your request of August 2 that an examination should be made by the
Geological Survey of a box of specimens of rocks collected along I he line of the proposed Nicaraguan
Canal, I have the honor to inclose a list of the same as determined by Mr. J. S. Diller, geologist,
together with his observations on the availability of the different rocks as building material.
The collection contains sixteen specimens, from which thin sections were prepared for micro-
scopic study. Although the specimens are somewhat weathered, the alteration has not advanced
far enough to render their identification a matter of great difficulty.
Almost the whole collection is composed of volcanic lavas, such as basalts, andesites, and
rhyolites, with their associated fragmental deposits, which appear to form a large portion if not
almost the whole of the mountain range in that region. The only specimens which are not of
volcanic origin are one of metamorphic rock, collected at the foot of the Machuca Rapids in the
San Juan River, and another of quartz, apparently in the same neighborhood, near Machuca.
The quartz contains cavities which are lined by well-defined crystals of the same mineral and
is evidently a local formation of very limited extent. On the contrary, the metamorphic rock must
have a much wider distribution and at considerable depth from the foundation upon which the
volcanoes have poured out their lavas. It is composed largely of quartz, with a variable quantity
of other minerals, especially silicates, and, as far as may be judged from the small specimens in the
collection, it seems probable that this is one of the most promising localities for building-stones
along the line of the canal. This is, however, a matter which can be but partially determined by
an examination of hand specimens, from the fact that the value of a ledge of rock in furnishing
stones for construction is not determined so much by the mineralogical composition of the rock as
by the lines of fracture and easiest division which run through it. The rock contains considerable
iron pyrites which, upon exposure to the disintegrating influence of the atmospheric agents, will
give it a rusty appeal ance, but not materially affect its durability.
The basalts, of which there are six specimens in the collection, are for the most part fine grained
and very compact, but there are a few which are more coarsely crystalline. The feldspar, augite,
olivine, and accessory minerals of which these basalts are composed, present no peculiarities worthy
of mention. The rock is remarkably tough, but sometimes dresses into regular shape with compar-
ative ease, when it can be obtained in large pieces, free from fractures. It frequently happens,
however, that lava streams, as a natural result of their mode of consolidation, are penetrated by
many fissures which divide the mass into portions too small to be used for building.
In basaltic lavas the fissures are frequently at right angles to the upper or cooling surface of
the lava stream, thus dividing it into columns, which are not infrequently used for fence-posts. In
rather coarsely crystalline basalts these columns are sometimes large enough, when dressed, to
furnish good building-stones, especially for abutments and similar structures. A lava stream of
this sort may be traced for over fifty miles down the Sacramento Valley from Mount Shasta, and
is extensively used for railroad bridges.
S. Ex. 99---4 n












50 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.

As far as may be surmised from an examination of the hand specimens, it may be suggested
that of all the basalts represented in the collection the ones from Ochoa and the bed of Cafiito
Limpio, near Station 90, appear to be best for construction.
Andesite is a kind of lava named from the mountain range among whose volcanoes it occurs
in large quantities. There are four specimens of andesite in the collection, and all are-of the
variety hypersthene andesite, which has lately been shown by the United States Geological
Survey to be one of the most important and widely-distributed lavas of Western North America.
It forms a large portion of the Cascade Range in California and Oregon, as well as isolated tracts
throughout the Great Basin, Arizona, the Rocky Mountains, and Mexico. Of all the lavas I have
observed over a wide extent of country, it has most frequently a platy structure which renders it
entirely unfit for building purposes, and the specimens of hyperstheue andesite in this collection
indicate that the same feature is common to it along the Nicaragna Canal.
The rhyolitic lavas of that region are not so completely crystalline as the andesites and
basalts, and their determination is a matter of great difficulty. The porphyritic crystals of feldspar,
a large part of which is plagioclase, are imbedded in a groundmass containing much amorphous
matter. These lavas are more silicious than the others, and when compact are considerably
harder but not as heavy and tenacious as the andesites and basalts. They frequently take an
excellent polish, but rarely furnish as good building material as the more basic lavas.
The volcanic tufas, of which there are several specimens, are composed of fragmental material,
the ashes, lapilli, and scoria ejected from volcanoes, and although they are not likely to afford
suitable material for building, they will not present so many difficulties to excavation.
The problem of establishing interocean transit for ships across the belt of country joining
North and South America is one of greatest national interest, and the expenses, according to the
various methods proposed to cross at Panama, Nicaragua, or Tebuantepec, have been estimated
at from 50 to 350 millions. In estimating these expenses, especially where extensive excavations
have to be made, it is evident that the geologic structure of the country is a most important
element.
Accurate topographic surveys of the several routes have been made, and yet it is not clear
that any of the estimates submitted previous to this report are based upon a careful study of the
geology of the region. Although there has been considerable geologic reconnaissance in that
region, it, appears to be very meager as compared with the magnitude of the enterprise undertaken,
and these are deeply concerned, not only in the material excavated and used in construction, but
also the value and distribution of coal and other mineral products of that region.
Coal has been reported from the region of Panama, but there is some reason to question its
identification, from the fact that certain volcanic rocks of the same region have thin bands so
closely resembling coal as to deceive an observer before a careful diagnosis of the substance is
made.
Unfortunately, the collection does not represent a complete section from the Caribbean Sea to
the Pacific. All the specimens were collected east of Lake Nicaragua, in the valley of the San Juan
River, and it is evident from their character that nearly all the prominent topographical features
of that region are of volcanic origin. As far as is definitely known, basaltic lavas predominate
along both the Panama and Nicaraguan Canals. Besides these, along the Nicaragua Canal, and
perhaps also the other, there are metamorphic rocks which constitute the real backbone of the
continental connection.
Yours, with respect,
J. W. POWELL,
Director.
A. G. MENOCAL,
Civil Engineer, United States Navy-Yard, Washington, D. 0.

















REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY. 51


Geological specimens obtained by the United States Nicaraguan Surveying Expedition, 1885.


Number
No. Name. Locality. of speci-
mens.

1 Basalt ........................................ Bed of brook, headwaters of Calo do los Chanchos (a) ........................ 1
2 Volcanic tufa................................. Bed of Upper Cafiito Limpio .................................. ............... 1
3 Basalt .................................-...... One mile from San Francisco.................................................. 2
4 fIyporsthene andesite -----...----- ......--- San Carlos (1) ................................................................. 1
5 Volcanic tufa .............................. Wood station, Azua Muerta, river San Juan .................................. 1
6 Basalt .................. .................. Ochoa, river San Juan ...--................-.......................-......... 1
7 Metamorphic rock.............--........-.... Foot of Machuca Rapids, river San Juan.....................................
8 Basalt ....................................... Bed of Cailito Limpio near station 90 (two large bowlders) .................... 2
0 Rhyolite ...................................... San Ubaldo, east shore of Lake Nicaragua .....-.-......-----................ 1
10 I Hpersthene andesite ...........-- .........-- Bed of Caio Deseado, below Camp Mojado ...... ............................. 2
11 Basalt ..................................... Rio San Carlos ...................................................... ......... 1
12 ...... do .-..------ ...-- ....------...----- Bed of brook, headwaters of Caio de los Chanchos (3) :-...- .................. 1
13 Hypersthene andesite .............----........... San Carlos (2) ... ..... .................................... .............. 1
14 Quartz...... ..- .----- ..-------..-..-...... Near Machuca, Rio San Juan .........................................- ...... 1
15 Hypersthene andesite .-.........-----..----. Bed of Calo Deseado, between Camp Mojado and Cascadas Dants............ 2
16 Rhyolite...................................... Near Camp Whitney, valley of Rio San Francisco ............................ 1





























INDEX TO MAPS AND DRAWINGS.




GENERAL MAPS.

No. 1. General chart, Greytown to Brito (scale, 1-60,000).
No. 2. Profile, Greytown to Brito (scale, 1-60,000).
No. 3. Comparative profiles of proposed locations of 1872, 1873, and 1885, with prisms proposed for 1885.

DETAIL DRAWINGS.

No. 4. Profile of diversion of Rio Grande, with cross-section at site of dam.
No. 5. Dam across the San Juan at Ochoa, dam and cross-sections.
No. 6. Studies for dam and embankment at confluence of San Juan and San Carlos.
Nos. 7, 8, and 9. Locks and gates.
No. 10. Harbor of Brito.
No. 11. Harbor of Greytown.

LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS ACCOMPANYING REPORT.

1. Corinto Harbor.
2. Brito (prominent headland bearing N.).
3. Valley of the Rio Grande, near Brito (bearing NNE.).
4. Greytown Harbor (looking seaward).
5. Greytown Harbor (at upper part of harbor).
6. Greytown (Victoria plaza).
7. Leon (cathedral).
8. Leon (bird's-eye view from roof of Grand Cathedral).
9. Leon (bird's-eye view from roof of Grand Cathedral).
10. Leon (the market place).
11. Leon (street scene).
12. Leon (bridge on outskirts).
13. Leon (street scene 2).
14. Managua (church).
15. Managua (country in vicinity).
16. Masaya (church).
17. Typical Nicaraguan house.
18. House in Granada (interior).
19. House in Granada (bedroom).
20. Young Ladies' College, Granada (interior, showing group of American teachers).
21. Young Ladies' College, Granada (interior, showing group of scholars).
22. Young Ladies' College, Granada (interior, showing school-rooms).
23. Granada (church of La Merced).
24. Granada (bird's-eye view, looking east).
25. Granada (bird's-eye view, Mombacho in background).
26. Granada (bird's-eye view, Lake Nicaragua in background).
27. Granada (view from suburbs, Mombacho).
28. Granada (church of Guadaloupe).
29. Granada (old fort, landing, and lake steamer).
30. Granada (wharf).
31. San Ubaldo (east shore, Lake Nicaragua).
32. Fort San Carlos.














54 REPORT OF THE U. S. NICARAGUA SURVEYING PARTY.


33. Lake Nicaragua (from Fort San Carlos).
34. Valley od' river San Juan (from Fort San Carlos).
35. Upper San Juan (from bow of steamer).
36. Upper San Juan (from stern of steamer).
37. River San Juan (Toro Rapids).
38. Upper Castillo.
39. Castillo Rapids.
40. Fort Castillo.
41. Lower Castillo.
42. River San Juan (site of dam at Ochoa).
43. River Sarapiqui.
44. Camp Cardenas (junction of Sarapiqui and San Juan).
45. Camp Cardenas.
46. River San Juan (mouth of river San Francisco).
47. Camp Chandler.
48. Camp Chandler 2.
49. River San Francisco (moving camp).
O. Camp Cleveland.
51. Camp Morgan.
52. Camp Ammen (mouth of San Carlos).
53. Camp Bayard.
54. Camp Whitney (officers' quarters).
55. Camp Whitney (men's quarters).
56. Group of men serving with the expedition at the completion of the survey,



































GENERAL INDEX.



Page.
Orders ............................................... ............................................... ..... .. 3
Fitting out and sailing of expedition.---..-....-.......--......---..- ..........................---....---.--. 5
Field-work ............... ... ..................................... ....................... .......... 8
Proposed route ...-...-----.......--. ...---- .....-..............- .....--- ......-- --........------ .---......... 25
Dimensions of canal --....----.....--- ......----......-----......... .--.......----....-- ................-- ....-- .... 29
The locks ................................................................... .......- ... ... ................ 30
Capacity of the canal..-..........---..................-.. ..... ..-------....---.--......--..--------..-----. 32
Materials of construction .-..---....--.....-....-....-....... .....-.-.... ........-............----......----.. 35
Climate, rain, and health ......-......-... .................-- .........---.... ---............--.......---.... 36
W water supply .................. ...................... ..... .................................... .......... 37
Harbors--..--..................................------------- ---....--- ...-- ------.-----...-...-----.----. 38
Estimates -----...............-.............. ... .---- .................... ....................-------------- 38
Conclusion .... ......- ........-... .......... ...... ........ .... .... .... ...- ...... ... ......---....---. 40
Estimate of cost...---.........-- .. .....---.----..... ........---- ..----......-. ..............-....---------- 43
Report by J. W. Powell, Director United States Geological Survey, on geological specimens collected by the
expedition .................. .................................................. ..... ......... ...... 49
Index of maps and detail plans........----....................................-.......................---- ... 53
List of photographs .......................... ..... ........................................................ 53
Maps and detail plans at end of book.

55











CROSS SECTION OF RIO GRANDE AT DAM.
SCALE:....AO
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S Ex... 49 1












































































I ____________________


NO. I.-CORINTO HARBOR.

(On January 7, 1885, there were thirteen vessels in this harbor loading with dye-woods and coffee, destined mostly for Europe, via Cape Horn.)

S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


NO. 2.-BRITO (PROMINENT HEADLAND BEARING N.).


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No. 3.-VALLEY OF THE RIO GRANDE, NEAR BRITO (BEARING NNE.).


S. Ex. 99, 49 1



































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SNo. 4.-GREYTOWN HARBOR (LOOKING SEAWARD).


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1



































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No. 5.-GREYTOWN (AT UPPER PART OF HARBOR).


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S. Ex. 99, 49 L














































































No. 6.-THE PLAZA VICTORIA, GREYTOWN.


S. Ex. 99, 49 1
























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NO. 7.-THE GRAND CATHEDRAL OF LEON.


S. Ex. 99, 49 1
































































































S. Ex. 99, 49 1 No. 8.-BIRD'S-EYE VIEW FROM ROOF OF GRAND CATHEDRAL OF LEON.


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 9.-BIRD'S-EYE VIEW FROM ROOF OF GRAND CATHEDRAL OF LEON.


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S.Ex. 99, 49 1 No. IO.-THE MARKET PLACE, LEON.


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No. II.-A STREET IN LEON.


S. Ex.99, 49 1
































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NO. 12.-A BRIDGE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF LEON.


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


















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No. 13.-A' ST-, I



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No. 14.-CHURCH AT MANAGUA.


S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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NO. 15.-THE COUNTRY NEAR MANAGUA.


S. Ex. 99, 49 1

















































































No. I6.--CHURCH AT MASAYA.


S. Ex 99, 49 1










S. Ex. 99; 49 1


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No. 17.--EXTERIOR OF A TYPICAL NICARAGUAN HOUSE.


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S Ex. 99, 49 1


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No. 18.-INTERIOR OF A HOUSE IN GRANADA.













S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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No. 19.-BEDROOM OF A HOUSE IN GRANADA.


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S. Ex. 99. 49 1


No. 20.-INTERIOR OF THE YOUNG LADIES' COLLEGE AT GRANADA (GROUP OF AMERICAN TEACHERS).















S. Ex. 99. 49 1

























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No0. 21.--INTERIOR OF THE YOUNG LADIES' COLLEGE AT GRANADA (GROUP OF SCHOLARS).









S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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No. 22. -SUITE OF ROOMS IN THE YOUNG LADIES' COLLEGE AT GRANADA.


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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No. 23.-CHURCH OF LA MERCED, GRANADA).

















S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 24.-BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF GRANADA (LOOKING EAST).













S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 25.-BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF GRANADA (MOMBACHO IN BACKGROUND).


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S. EX. 99, 49 1


















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No. 27.-GRANADA (VIEW FROM THE SUBURBS




























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No. 28.-CHURCH OF GAUDALOUPE AT GRANADA.


S. Ex. 99, 49 1


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 30.-WHARF AT GRANADA.



















S. Ex. 99, 49 1










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No. 31.-SAN UBALDO (ON EASTERN SHORE OF LAKE NICARAGUA).























S. Ex. 99. 49 1


No. 22.-FORT SAN CARLOS.


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1
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No. 33.--VIEW OF LAKE NICARAGUA (FROM FORT SAN CARLOS).


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S Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 34.-VIEW OF THE VALLEY OF THE RIVER SAN JUAN (FROM FORT SAN CARLOS).


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1





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No. iq.-THE UPPER SAN TUAN (FROM BOW OF RIVER STEAMER).



























S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 36.-THE UPPER SAN JUAN (FROM STERN OF RIVER STEAMER)


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 37.-THE RIVER SAN JUAN (AT TORO RAPIDS).


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No, 38.-UPPER CASTILLO.


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S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 39.-CASTILLO RAPIDS.















S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 40.-FORT CASTILLO.














S. Ex. 99, 49 1


No. 41.-LOWER CASTILLO.




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