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ments attempted by the State have proved to be a failure. This was owing to the incompetency of the men in charge of the work and to the contract system. It seems to me, also, that the nioney, if any should be appropriated, could be spent more properly under the superintendence of an experienced foreman.
SURVEY OF THE NECHES RIVER.
This survey was commenced at the junction of the Angelina River, being there with my party after the completion of the survey of the latter river.
I could not, as my order stipulated, get up to Boonville ; the water being high, the current was too swift to go up by the river. The communication by land was also too difficult, the bottom-lands being overflowed; and moreover, there being po settlements within reach, where I could secure transportation, I concluded to work down the river, calculating to take the first steamboat going to Boonville, but none went up until the survey of the Lower Neches was completed, including the bar at the mouth.
At the time of the survey some parts of the river were overflowed, having both banks from 2 to 6 feet under water. This made the work very difficult, and in order to prosecute it at that stage of water I was obliged to build scaffolding in the trees on the banks in order to set up the instruments.
The delay resulting from this, and the loss of time in going to the upper river and waiting for help, protracted the work longer than was anticipated.
Record of daily work.
1872. December 25
31 1873. January
1 2 3
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Stopped to get supplies and send to Gaspar for letters.
Stopped on account of rain.
Went to buy a skiff.
variation, 8° 19'.
At Beaumont stopped for repairs.
16 17 18 19 20 21
Record of daily work-Continued.
Waited for help.
Sunday; observed United States magnetic variation, 8° 21'.
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Built skiff; observed United States magnetic var., 8° 24'.
Passed Martin's Ferry.
28 29 30 31
Number of days on the river, 70.
GENERAL DIVISION OF THE NECHES RIVER.
The river may naturally be divided into two parts; the lower part, navigable at low. water stage, and the upper part, only navigable at high-water.
The part navigable at low-water extends up to Weiss Bluff, according to the statement of the people living on the river, and of the captain of the steamboat Graham, which run up there the whole of last summer. It is also said that the tide is felt at this point.
A portion of the upper part of the river from Boonville to the Angelina Junction is nearly in the same condition as the Angelina River, with the exception that the bends are not quite so abrupt; the banks are generally higher and sometimes rocky.
At the time of the survey, the water being high, I could notice but one place where the rocks in the channel of the river obstruct the navigation at that stage. At a place located on the map are two points of rock running ont from the right bank to the center of the channel. They are at water-surface when it is about 9 feet above low-water, and being on the outside of a bend they endanger the navigation at that place very much. According to some statements this is the only dangerous rocky place.
The other portion of the upper river, from the junction to the Weiss Bluff, is in better condition with regard to the overhanging timber; the captains of the steamboats which, at high water, run regularly to Bevilport, cnt more or less trees every year. The stream is generally wider, with the exception of some places where the banks are low; the water overflows the bottom and there is but little current in the channel, which is the canse of its being narrow and very crooked.
The river is especially in that condition for the ten or twelve miles immediately above Weiss Bluff.
The portion of the lower river between Weiss Bluff and Bunn's Bluff is comparatively in good condition, there being but few logs and snags, and a very small number of overhanging trees; at low-water stage a few sand-bars reduce the width of the channel so as to make it difficult for boats drawing three feet of water to get by them.
At the time of the survey, the water being high, I could not notice thein, but, according to the statement of the captain of the steamboat Graham, they are formed by snags, and if they were removed from the bottom the sand would soon wash away. The width of this portion of the stream ranges between 200 and 300 feet at high-water stage.
The portion of the river between Bunn's Bluff and the mouth is in good condition. There are but very few snags, logs, and overhanging trees. A few miles below Beaumont the timber gives out, and the river winds its way through a low marshy country to Sabine Lake. This is favorable for sailing-vessels, which run regularly to Beaumont and to the surrounding saw-mills. Their principal trade is lumber, to which the above country furnishes an abundant supply of several varieties of timber, inentioned in the description of the upper river.
S:hooners run up as far as Bunn's Bluff and Concord, on Pine Island Bayou, a tributary of the Neches.
The width of this portion of the stream ranges between 400 and 900 feet.
The yearly freshets have little effect on the height of the water in this part. The average may be estiinated at five feet, and the rise and fall, owing to the tides, are the most noticeable variations in the stage of the water.
The villages located iminediately on the stream are of no material importance, Beaumont being the only business center worthy of mention.
Distances to the sereral landings.
From Boonville to Martin's Ferry.
Feet. Miles. 31, 615 6.00 47,722
9.00 122,840 23, 26 1:32, 410 25. 07 159, 824 30.02 220, 636 41.59 240, 747 45.78 320, 150 60.63 365, 330 69. 19 376, 752 71.35 446, 950 84.64 536, 352 101.58 605, 168 114.61 676, 866 128. 19 759, 364 143. 81 814, 837 151,32 834, 177 157.98 890, 617 168.67 979, 026 185. 42
994, 042 188.26 . 1,032,483 195, 56
The water being bigh during the survey of the whole river, some logs and snags may have escaped notice. This was especially unfavorable for the portion between Weiss Bluff and Bunn's Blutt.
This part being susceptible of low-water navigation, it would have been important to ascertain the character of the obstructions to low-water navigation.
The number of obstructions to navigation in the several parts of the river are as follows:
The portion of the upper river between Boonville and the junction being in the same condition as the Angelina River, everything stated for the latter can be applied to this part, and the work sbonld be done in the same way.
The rock mentioned in the previous description will have to be removed.
The portion of the upper river between the junction and Weiss Blutf should be treated in the same way as the Angelina River. There is a rock at a place located on the map which will bave to be removed to low-water surface.
The portion of the lower river between Weiss Bluff and Bunn's Bluff being susceptible of low-water navigation, special attention should be given to this part in removing from the bottom of the channel all logs and snags which obstruct it and cause the formation of sand-bars as before stated.
With regard to the other portion of the lower river between Bunn's Bluff and Sabine Lake, nothing special is to be mentioned ; cutting down some trees and removing a few snags and logs are the only things to be done.
MOUTII OF TIIE NECIIES RIVER AND BAR.
The Neches River empties into Sabine Like about four miles west of the mouth of Sabine River, and about twenty-six miles from Sabine Pass. It has a bar at its month where the water of the lake checks the velocity of the river-current; this bar is formed by the deposits of milind sand that the river-water holis iu suspension, which takes place as soon as the velocity is checked.
There are two passes or channels across this bar, indicated on the map by the broken lines A B and CD). It would appear that these passes are formeil by two lateral currents, resulting from the division of the main current of the river, which is cleflected by the mielele ground in front. Pass A B is the one principally used. Pass C D, called East Pass, has less water, but is sometimes used by sloops of light draught, in case the wind does not permit of going through Pass A B.
Pass A B has once been dredged to a channel 60 feet wide and 5 feet deep, but is now smaller, owing to the filling in by the action of the waves across it.
The prevailing winds rauge between east and south and the storms blow generally from the southeast, thus, as will be seen by referring to the map, the waves breaking over the shallow place known as the “middle ground” between the two passes have a tendency to wash the sand into the channels, and thus reduce their depths.
According to the statements of some captains the channel A B has been reduced in depth as much as 18 inches during one storm. I think that its actual depth would be much less if it were not for the passage of steamboats, which often drag on the bottom, and by the action of their wheels deepen it.
Daring strong easterly winds, which frequently occur, steamboats have great difficulty in running throngh channel A B. They are liable to be drifted out of the channel onto the shoals to the west.
It often happens that vessels grounded in this way are detained for several days.
Two ways of improving the mouth of the river are to be recommended. First method, improving one of the passes; second method, making a new channel across the middle ground.
For the first method pass A B is to be preferred, since its course is the most direct to the deep water of the lake. This can be improved by closing the space between Doom's Island and the mainland; also to build a jetty from the point of this island across the inner end of the pass C D, and from there extending it all along the east side of pass A B to deep water. This jetty would contine the whole current of the river to pass A B; and, if a channel were once dredged to a required cross-section, this current would keep it open. It could be even expected that the jetty alone would canse the deepening of the pass by the scouring actiou of the increased current. It would also prevent the washing-in of the sand from the middle-ground.
The second method consists, first, in cutting a new channel, following the line E F, which is merely the extension of the center line of river-channel above the passes. It appears obvious that this is the natural course which the current would take were it shot dellected by the mille-ground. Thus, by making a straight cut across it, the water would take this course. Secondly, in closing the space between Doom's Island and the mainland: also building a jetty from the point of this island across the inner end of the pass C D, and gently curved, to connect it with the northeast side of the cut, so as to direct the whole of the river-current into it, which would keep it to a constant depth. Some of the sand excavated could be used to fill the inner end of pass A B; and, in case this should not prevent the current running through this pass, a jetty would have to be built from there to the mainland, which, together with the one connected with the point of Doom's Island, would direct the whole current of the river through the new cut. The balance of the excavation should be put on each side of the ent, but especially on the northeast side. This wouid form a permanent embankment connected with the jetty, which would protect the channel from the action of the
However, this channel, having a southeasterly course, would have the best possible location with regard to storms. The sea would roll in the direction of the axis of the channel, instead of diagonally arross, as it ilocs at pass A B.
The location of pass A B being mavorable with regard to the strong casterly winds, as explained before, I would therefore recommend the second method, in case the aislitional benefit the navigation should derive from it would justify a somewhat greater expense than that necessary for the first.
The jetties proposed in either case are to consist of a single row of close-piling, with a cap; the piles to be of cypress timber, an abundance of which can be readily olitaived up the river.
The water being freslı, such a jetty would remain for years.