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Training 2,720 linear feet heavy timber, at 10 cents
$272 00 260 00 520 00
10,763 56 2, 152 71
Contingencies on cost of material, 20 per cent..
by auxiliary damı
lower side, or cause suspension of work by backing up water from Bayou
between Tone's Bayou and Loggy Bayou...
42, 916 27 20, 000 00 19,981 37
IMPROVEMENT OF CYPRESS BAYOU AND CONSTRUCTION OF DAMS AND
DREDGING AT THE FOOT OF SODA LAKE, TEXAS.
This work, authorized by act of Congress approved March 3, 1873, is an extension of that commenced under act approved June 10, 1872, appropriating $10,000 for “the improvement of Cypress Bayou, near Jefferson, Texas."
For report, I divide the work into two parts, as it can best be treated
in that way.
I. IMPROVEMENT OF CYPRESS BAYOU.
Cypress Bayou proper is a small stream passing Jefferson, Texas, and debouching into the head of Fairy Lake, and is thence connected with Red River by a chain of lakes generally known as the Soda Lakes.
The work of improvement during the past year has been confined to the bayou. It has consisted in dredging bars, widening and straightening the low-water bed of the stream, removing snags, logs, and stumps from the bed, and protruding logs and overhanging trees from the banks. Incidental to this work there have been made extensive repairs to the machinery employed.
For details, reference is made to the following report of the overseer in charge :
DREDGE-BOAT, CYPRESS BAYOU, TEXAS,
June 30, 1874. Sir: In obedience to instructions contained in your letter of May 19, 1874, I have the honor to submit the following report of operations for the improvement of navigation of Cypress Bayou, Texas, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874.
During the month of July the dredge was lying at the wharf, city of Jefferson, Texas, waiting the arrival of the hoisting-drum and machinery ordered of Messrs. Atkins & Burgess, of Chicago, to replace the one broken in June. The engines, machinery, &c., were overhauled, repaired, and put in proper condition for work. A new swinging-circle was made for the head of the mast and put on; the crane was repaired and put in order, and such other repairs about the boat as were considered necessary were made, the work being done by the crew of the dredge.
The new hoisting-drum ordered from Chicago did not arrive until July 21, 1873.
The unfinished condition in which the drum and castings were received from the makers caused a delay of several days in fitting them so that they would work. The dredging was not commenced till July 29.
It was the original intention to complete dredging the channel from Boon's Bend to the city wharf, a distance of about three miles. The distance was not quite two-thirds dredged wben the season of high-water came on and made it necessary to discontinue
the work or move the dredge up the bayou to the more shallow places, which was done according to instructions received from the late Lieut. E. A. Woodruff.
At the time of the breaking of the hoisting-drum, in June, the dredge was at work a short distance below the city wharf, on a shallow point or bar.
During the interval of waiting the arrival of the new drum from Chicago the water had fallen so much that it was impossible to get the dredge back down the bayou to resume operations where the work had been interrupted by the high water without dredging a portion of the way to that place, the dredge drawing 54 feet, and at places there was only 31 to 4 feet of water in the channel. Under these circumstances it was deemed advieable to complete dredging the channel in the vicinity of the whart. Considerable dredging was necessary to make a good and permanent channel to the lower end of the wharf, on account of the bayou being very shallow and having a bend in it, requiring a dredging of two cuts, or double the usual width the most of the distance, so that boats in making the bend would have sufficient room and water to do so with very little trouble.
On the evening of the 29th of Augnst the hoisting-drum was again broken. Another one was immediately ordered from Chicago by telegraph.
The new drum was ordered to be made much heavier and stronger than the one previonsly furnished, and to be warranted to stand one year without breaking, which the makers agreed to do, and to be ready for shipinent in ten days from date of receiving the order. Owing to the yellow-fever epidemic at Shreveport, La., and the establishment of a rigid quarantine on all the lines of communication to this place, the arrival of the second hoisting-drum was delayed until October 27. On receiving it on board it was got into position and dredging resumed as soon as possible.
While waiting for the drum the crew of the dredye were employed in makiug repairs and improvements on the boat, overhauling the engines and machinery, rebabbitting the journals or boxes of the engine-shaft, and shafts of the hoisting and swinging drums.
A new boom was made and put in the crane, a new swinging-chain was put up, the siphon repaired and new pipe put in, also pipes put up connecting the boiler with the feed-pump pipe, to be used as a heater to prevent the pipes from freezing up. A new smoke-stack was made and put over the forge; a flat-boat was built for carrying wood from the bank to the dredge; and, aniong other repairs, a tin roof has been put on the cabin.
By the middle of December the channel, from the first deep water below the city to the lower end of the wharf, was completed, and the dredge moved down the bayou to the shallow point above the railroad-landing, a distance of about three-quarters of a mile from the city, and the dredging out of this place commenced.
During the time the dredging of the channel in the vicinity of the wharf was being done, teams and laborers were employed to remove from the bank of the bayou some 7,000 cubic yards of excavated earth to prevent its being washed back into the bayou during the high-water season.
The earth removed was about two-thirds of the quantity excavated, and that only that had been thrown out on the right-haud bank while dredging up-stream. Before the whole of the earth could be removed the water rose, covering the greater portion of that remaining:
Having completed dredging the channel between Boon's Bend and the city, the dredge was taken down the bayou some eighteen or twenty miles to the Benton Cut-offs.
There are two cut-offs at Benton. Work was commenced on the lower one, it being the shortest, and, by dredging a channel from 100 to 150 yards in length, cut off about a mile of very difficult navigation.
The upper cut-off is considerably longer, and saves following the channel of the bayou for about the same distance as the lower cut-off.
By the time I had tinished dredging the short cut-off, which was in the latter part of March, the high-water made it impossible to continue the work any longer. The probability of the water remaining high for a considerable time decided me to take the dredge back to Jefferson and have the engines and the machinery overhauled and repaired, the decks and sides of boat calked and pitched, and the new crane-machinery, new dipper, and new chains that had been ordered, and were in Jefferson, put into position. The old dipper and chains were badly worn and broken.
In order to disconnect the old dipper and put the new one in its proper place, it was necessary to have the dredge by the side of the wharf or some high bank, as they weigh about 4,000 pounds each, and would be awkward to manage and get into place without the proper facilities for doing so.
During the high-water season, which lasted about eight weeks, the dredge was kept lying at the wharf and undergoing thorough repairs, the crew doing the work.
The new hoisting and new arm chains were put on, and everything about the boat was put in as good condition as possible, ready to resume operations as soon as the stage of the water would permit.
The water did not recede to the ordinary stage, or within the channel proper, till
about the 1st of June. On the 8th of June I started from Jefferson with the dredge, down the bayou, for what is known as “Vorherty's Defeat,” about four miles below Smithland. Here the banks are low, and the bayou spreads out over the country for some distance, and is quite shallow in many places, and makes a number of sbort bends. There are also many stups along the channel and in the shallow places that give much trouble to boats, especially in the low-water season. .
That portion of ths bayou called "Dorherty's Defeat” is from one-half to three-fourths of a mile in length, but the whole distance is not low water, only in places.
By dredging a channel through the low-water portions and cutting off several short points or bars, thereby making the bayou straighter, and removing the stumps from the channel, the navigation will be materially improved.
After finishing the work at this place, (Dorherty's Defeat,) which will require two months' time, or more, the next place of any importance in the bayou, between Jefferson and its mouth, requiring dredging is the upper Benton Cut-off.
considered it better to complete the work of dredging the channel of the bayou as the dredge worked toward the lakes.
My reasons for passing over Dorherty's Defeat, when taking the dredge below last February, was, the water was then too high to work to advantage and to be able to find and remove all the stumps.
To cut a channel across the upper cut-off at Benton will take considerable dredging, as the distance is more than twice that of the cut-off already dredged.
Upon completion of the work at Benton no more dredging in the bayou will be necessary, at least for some time, that I am aware of.
However, there are some places in the bayou where the channel will fill up in a much shorter time than in others on account of the light sandy nature of the soil and the peculiar shape of the stream, and, in my opinion, it will be found necessary to dredge out these localities every year or two.
If the excavated earth could bave been deposited at a greater distance from the edge of the bank it would have prevented the filling of the channel as soon as otherwise.
The navigation of the bayou will be comparatively easy at the ordinary low stages of the water for steamboats of the class usually running upon these streams.
Judging from what I have seen and learned regarding the work required in the lakes, especially in the vicinity of the Bois d'Arc Passes and the Blind Bayon, in the upper end of Fairy Lake, I am of the opinion that navigation could be greatly improved by working the dredge there, in straightening the channel, and taking the stumps out, which are the principal obstructions to be removed. As for the length of time that would be required to do the work at these places, I could not say.
In the month of February 1,000 pounds of nitro-glycerine was purchased for the purpose of blowing up and removing stumps and logs that are in the bottom of the channel, and are found to be too large and heavy for the dredge to get out without the risk of breakage of machinery and loss of time. From the experiments I have made with it, and the benefit derived from its use in the work of removing the Red River Raft, there is no doubting its efficacy, and I am contident the use of nitro-glycerine in removing these large cypress stumps and logs will be of great advantage to the work, as the breakage of machinery in pulling these stumps has caused serious delays.
The following statement shows the amount of excavations made each month the redge was in operation:
During the months of July, September, and October the dredge was not at work on account of breakage of hoisting-drums; and during the months of April, May, and part of June, work was suspended by reason of high water.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK W. GEE. Capt. C. W. HOWELL,
Corps of Engineers, T. S. A.
II. CONSTRUCTION OF DAMS AND DREDGING AT FOOT OF SODA LAKE.
In his report of April 29, 1872, which was a preliminary report on a survey of Cypress Bayou, and made before the operations of the survey were fully completed, Lieutenant Woodruff' recommended the construction of certain dams, at the foot of Soda Lake, to confine the low-water discharge at that point to a single narrow channel or chute. The appropriation of March 3, it is believed, was based on this recommendation.
In his final report on the survey, (page 669, Report of Chief of Engi. neers for 1873,) Lieutenant Woodruff states that the supposition on which he based his first recommendation he afterward found to be entirely incorrect, and recommends the substitution of a lock and dam for the dams previously projected. In submitting this report to the Chief of Engineers, I stated that I was not prepared to indorse the plan and had directed further investigation. This investigation Lieutenant Woodruff was directed to make during the season of extreme low-water in the fall of 1873. Preparations for the work had been made, and it is presumed that the visit to Shreveport, resulting in his death, was made by Lieutenant Woodruff with the intention of proceeding with the examination. Finding himself in the midst of an epidemic; unable to get as. sistants; having been exposed to disease; and unwilling to risk carrying that disease among his employés at work on Red River raft, he did wbat was proper, prudent, and humane, though his action cost him his life. His death suspended the investigation directed, and it was late in December, 1873, before a party could be placed in the field to make it.
In December, Mr. H. A. Leavitt, assistant engineer, was employed to make the survey, the tield-work of which was completed March 10, 1874. The work was plotted, and Mr. Leavitt's report, with plans and estimates, available at the close of May. It was then too late in the season to commence work on the plan suggested, even had the amount of appropriation available warranted.
Pending investigation and survey above reported, it was proposed, in place of dredging at the foot of Soda Lake, to remove stumps and logs from the channel through the foot of the lake, and Lieutenant Woodruff was instructed to avail himself of the first favorable stage of water for doing this work. For the reasons stated above, the favorable season of 1873 was lost and the project abandoned for the year.
With the light we now have it must appear well that money has not been expended on either of the three projects named above.
It is now possible for me to submit a definite plan for the improve. ment desired, and in doing so I will first present a description of the navigation from Jefferson to Shreveport, and afterward a discussion of the several plans for improvement that have been considered.
Jefferson, Texas, is at the head of navigation in Cypress Bayou. From that point down to the head of Fairy Lake, a distance of twenty-seven miles, the Bayou, at low-water, is narrow, tortuous, and before improved was shallow and greatly obstructed by timber. Fairy Lake, from its head for about half its length, is thickly studded with cypress-trees, stumps, and fallen timber, through which the old channel of Cypress Bayou may yet be traced at low-water, and this, if cleared of logs and stumps, would afford low-water navigation of about 2 feet.
Iu high-water this channel is partly followed by steamboats, and
partly avoided by use of what are known as “cut-roads." The lower half of the lake affords a navigation of over 6 feet.
At its foot the lake enters the valley of Red River between bluffs but 1,480 yards apart. At this point it meets the whole discharge from Red River that is made by the latter through breaks in its western bank be. tween Hurricane Bluff (directly opposite the foot of the lake) and Blanton's Landing, twenty-two miles above.
January 1, 1872, when at Albany Point, the water-surface was 6 feet above extreme low-water; the surface at this point was found 2.3 feet below the surface of Jefferson, (twenty-five miles distant in a straight line,) 38 feet below the surface of Red River at Blanton's Landing, (twenty-two miles distant,) and 11 feet below that at the nearest point on Red River, (five miles distant.)
The great body of water concentrated at this point finds vent through Willow Pass into Soda Lake, giving the pass a depth of from 20 to 30 feet, but at its foot, where the water spreads into Soda Lake, forming a bar having over it only a depth of about 2 feet at low water. Through the lake there is a depth of from 3 to 5 feet, and at its foot a wide shoal, known as Albany Flats, with a depth of but 1 foot at extreme low water.
This lake forms a settling basin for the Red River water drawn through it. The slope of its water-surface at the date before stated was but 1.1 inches to the mile. It is gradually filling up with Red River deposit.
Below Albany Point the old channel of Cypress Bayou is well delined, and affords good low water navigation through the upper portion of Cross Lake, Twelve-mile Bayou, and Red River, to Shreveport.
At Albany Point, January 1, 1872, the surface of the water was 6.3 feet below the surface in Red River at the nearest point, 2.3 miles distant. At the head of Twelve-mile Bayou the water surface was 2.8 feet below Red River opposite, a distance of 704 yards.
The fall from Albany Point to Shreveport was 11.8 feet; from Red River, opposite Albany Point, to Shreveport, 18.1 feet.
From this it appears that the foot of Fairy Lake is the center of a basin, having Red River on one side and the line of bluffs to the west of it on the other. [This is better shown by the chart inclosed, marked (A).
The raft in Red River, along the eastern rim of this basin, deflected the greater portion of the river-discharge above the raft into the basin, thus converting what before the advent of the raft was a cypress-swamp, with a sluggish, unnavigable stream flowing through it, into a series of lakes, affording good navigation for the greater portion of each year.
It is feared on the part of the commerce interested that the removal of the raft will immediately effect a shortening of the season for this navigation, and perhaps ultimately return it to its original condition.
It is too early to determine if such fear be well grounded.
. 4th. A tumbling or other dam at Albany Point, with a cut into Red River.
5th. A dam across Willow Pass, at the foot of Shift-tail Lake, and the re-opening of Irishman's Bayou.
6th. A dam in Cross Lake and Twelve-mile Bayou, with a cut from near the head of this bayou to Red River.
The following consideration of these several plans is submitted.