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In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 5th of December, 1870, information relative to the probable cost of the improvement of the Umpqua and Willamette Ricers, in the State of Oregon.
JANUARY 12, 1871.-Referred to the Committee on Commerce and ordered to be printed.
January 11, 1871. The Secretary of War has the honor to submit to the Senate of the United States, in compliance with the resolution of December 5, 1870, such information as is in his possession relative to the probable cost of the contemplated improvement of the Umpqua and Willamette Rivers, in the State of Oregon.
WM. W. BELKNAP,
Secretary of War.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
Washington, D. C., January 10, 1871. SIR: In answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 5th ultimo, for such information as may come to hand prior to Jannary 1, 1871, as to the probable cost of improvement of the Umpqua River and of the Willamette River, above Oregon City, in Oregon, I herewith transmit copies of reports upon the examination and survey of these rivers, made under the direction of Major R. S. Williamson, Corps of Engineers, in compliance with the second section of the act of July 11 last, making appropriations for rivers and harbors.
i. The Umpqua is a small, rapid stream, the navigation of which is obstructed principally by benches or ledges of sandstone rock. It can be made navigable for about seven months in the year with a depth of four feet above its low-water stage, from Scottsburg, 25 miles above its month, to Roseburg, about 120 miles further up, for about $22,500.
The improvement of this navigation would reduce the local freight perhaps $20 per ton, and the amount saved on the imports of the Umpqua Valley alone for less than one year would more than pay for the removal of the obstructions.
2. Willamette River above Oregon City, Oregon. Steamboats navi.. gate the river between Oregon City and Salein, 65 iniles, during the entire year, and as far as Corvallis, 42 miles above Salem, for eight
months of the year. During the high-water stage they run about 100 Iniles further, to Eugene.
The carrying trade of the river is in the hands of a company which, within the last few years, has improved the navigation at some of the bars by building wing-dams in the river to contract its width, and by an increase to the current to wash the finer material from the shoals. The results in some cases were satisfactory, and would have been better had the dams been better constructed and placed in more favorable positions. The officer making the survey submits estimates for temporarily improving the navigation by repairing and modifying these dams and constructing others, amounting to $16,000, which would enable boats to make the trip from Oregon City to Salem in a few hours less time and to carry additional freight. The resolution is herewith returned. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Brigadier General and Chief of Engineers. The Honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA,
December 12, 1870. GENERAL: In accordance with the order of the Chief of Engineers, dated Washington, July 23, 1870, placing me "in charge of the survey of the Umpqua river, Öregon, and instructing me to inform myself of the nature and extent of the surveys required, and to submit at an early day a project and estimate therefor, having regard to the strictest economy," I have to submit the following report:
A surveying party, consisting of Lieutenant Heuer and three assistants, under my supervision, sailed from here on the 2d of September. Upon our arrival in Oregon, the party was placed in the field, survey. ing the bars of the Upper Willamette river, while Lieutenant Hener and I went by stage to Roseburg, Oregon, with the view of getting information in regard to the Umpqua river. While there, we conversed with parties interested in the navigation of this river, and ascertained that a small stern-wheel steamboat, drawing about thirteen inches of water, had, during this year, when the river was about four feet above its present low-water stage, ascended the river from Scottsburg, 25 miles from its mouth, to Roseburg, a distance by the river of about one hundred and twenty miles; but that the river had such a rapid current, and so many obstructions, that the boat had to be hauled through the rapids by lines, and was six days in getting to Roseburg. The boat then returned to Scottsburg. This, I believe, was the only attempt erer made to navigate the river with a steamer.
We intended to examine the river by descending it in a skiff, but ascertained that in some places the river had not sufficient depth of water to float the skitf, and there was then no one in Roseburg who could pilot us down river; we therefore hired a wagon and concluded to go down the river by the wagon road which approaches it at many points, and by this means endeavor to obtain material for making a report. After traveling along the river for portions of two days, we arrived at Saw. yer's Rapid, a distance of about fifty miles by land from Roseburg. Here we met Captain Horn, who had piloted the steamboat up the river, who informed us that Sawyer's Rapid was the lowest obstacle to the navigation of the river. The last thirty miles of the journey the road ran along the river bank, which gave us an opportunity of viewing the river, which we found to have a very rapid current, and generally high, steep banks, heavily timbered. The average width of the river, when bank full, appeared to be abont 200 feet; but at its extreme low-water stage the water is divided at many places into half a dozen or more streams, varying in width from two to thirty feet, and separated from each other by walls of rock sometimes tive or six feet in height. In passing through some of these narrow places the velocity of the current was 400 feet per minute. At each of the rapids between the channel and the shore there is a bench of sandstone, generally fat, vary. ing from two to five feet in height above low-water mark, and averag. ing about seventy-five feet in width. During ordinary stages of the river this is covered with water. The river contains no sand-bars, its bottom being coarse gravel, on solid bed rock; consequently any improvements which may be made to the river are likely to be permanent. I shall now endeavor to describe each of the rapids examined, sketches of which are forwarded by this mail, commencing with
This obstruction is about 12 miles above Scottsburg, and about a quarter of a mile in length. Here, at bigh-water stage, the river is about 300 feet wide, but during low water is nowhere over 80 feet, and will not average more than 30 feet in width. The current has a velocity of 400 feet per minute, and the channel is obstructed by rocks parallel to the general direction of the current. Between the channel and the banks of the river there is, on either side, a flat bench of sandstone fock, about 4 feet in height and nearly 100 feet wide. Near the middle of the river are two rocks, sandstone, leaving a channel on each side about 15 feet wide. The upper rock is 40 feet long, 6 feet wide and 18 inches high, measuring 184 cubic yards. The lower one is about 20 feet below the upper one; is 28 feet long, 6 feet wide, and about 13 inches high, measuring about 7 cubic yards. The upper one of the two rocks has been partially removed by blasting; it was formerly about five feet high. Captain Horn says, if these two rocks are removed, navigation on this rapid will be safe, as it will give a channel 30 feet wide in its bartowest part. In the sketch accompanying the report the rocks are marked A and B. Leaving Sàwyer's Rapid, we proceed 12 miles up the river, and reach
Here the bed of the river presents the same general features as at the other rapids. River at low-water stage is about 50 feet wide, with a bench of sandstone rock about 4 feet high, and in some places 150 feet wide, between the channel and shore. Near the lower end of the rapid the channel contracts to about 15 feet in. width. By blasting of the point marked A B, which causes this contraction, (rock measures 83 cubic yards,) and a small rock marked C, just below the point, and measuring 9 cubic yards, the obstructions to navigation on this rapid will be removed and a channel 30 feet wide obtained. At the
end of the rapid, in mid-channel, is another rock, but at ordinary stages of the river it is said to be about four feet under water, and therefore not an obstacle to navigation. About fifteen miles by land, above Hart's Rapid, we find
which is claimed to be the worst rapid in the river. It is about threequarters of a unile in length, and bas a channel at low water 25 feet wide, but it is tortuous, made so by points of rock projecting into the channel from the rocky bench on either side. It also has a rapid cur. rent, which, during high water, strikes these points and causes it to deflect to the opposite side of the river, rendering navigation dangerous. If the three points marked on the sketch A, B, C, and the two rocks marked D and E, were removed, ineasuring in all 633 cubic yards, it is thought that all the obstacles to navigation would be overcome. Nine miles above Mills's Rapid (by land) we find
where the current has a northwesterly direction, and the channel, where not obstructed by rocks, is about 30 feet wide. The banks on each side of the river are very steep and about 150 feet apart, having a bench of sandstone rock about 3 feet high, and varying in width from 10 to 100 feet between the banks and channel. At the upper end of this rapid, which is about a quarter of a mile long, the channel contracts to about 30 feet in width, and contains in mid-channel two rocks, the larger of which is 50 feet long, by 10 feet wide, by 1 foot high, measuring about 19 cubic yards. The smaller rock near it is nearly one-third as large. The river then widens to 100 feet, forming almost a square pool; then contracts again to 30 feet width for a distance of 150 feet. It then widens to 50 feet, and within the next 150 feet contains five ledges of sandstone rock nearly parallel to the general direction of the current, and varying from 20 to 75 feet in length. The rocks measure 122 cubic yards, all of which it will be necessary to remove in order to get a safe channel. The next rapid examined is called
and is distant from Roseburg about twelve miles. The channel is nearly 75 feet wide, except just where the obstruction exists, which is a ledge of sandstone rock about 200 feet long, which contains four pinnacles or lumps of rock about 40 feet apart, the tops of which are from 2 to 6 feet above the surface of the water. The great mass of this ledge of rock is but a few inches above the surface of the water, and will not require removal; but the four points mentioned above ought to be removed to improve the navigation. This gives a channel 50 feet wide. As the rocks are full of seams, and pitches nearly vertical, the lumps can be easily removed.
The five rapids mentioned in the report are all that could be approached by land, and therefore all that we saw. Captain Harn informs me that there are three other rapids in what is called the Cañon, between Crow's and Delaney's Rapids, near Clayton's. The timber and undergrowth were so dense that it was impossible to approach these rapids, even on horseback. The captain states that the quantity of rock to be removed from these rapids is less than that of the rapids which we saw. Suppose that the quantity of rock was equal to that of the other rapids, we would, in the whole river, have only 1,926 cubic yards of rock to remove to render navigation, during ordinary stages of the river, practicable, and, Captain Horn says, good.
At Roseburg the Umpqua River, during a freshet, has risen twenty feet; but an ordinary stage of the river is said to be about four feet above its low-water stage, which continues for about seven months in a year, during which time the river could be navigated, and the boat could take out and bring in all the freight of the Umpqua Valley. This has heretofore been hauled over a bad wagon road, for hauling which teamsters charged $10 per ton. The exports of the valley for the present year, consisting of wool, bacon, avd lard, were 1,000 tons; the imports for the same time, 1,300 tons. The census returns of the valley were not completed when we left, but from the best available information it was reported that the valley contained 1,500 voters. The Umpqua Valley is also said to contain 46 surveyed townships, containing 967,680 acres, of which fully onethird is arable, and the remainder grassy hills and timber lands, mostly oak openings. There is, beside this, a large quantity of unsurveyed land, which is suitable for pasturage. The people of the valley claim that if the river is improved, beside its being the outlet for this valley, it will also benefit Rogue River Valley, including Jackson and Josephine Counties, which now wagon their supplies over 140 miles over a mountain road.
PROJECT AND ESTIMATE FOR REMOVING THE OBSTRUCTIONS TO THE
HIGH WATER NAVIGATION OF THE UMPQUA RIVER.
The proper time to work on the river would be during August and September, when the river is at its lowest stage. The general plan would be to put a force of men sufficiently large to remove all rocks in any particular rapid during this time. The rock being a soft sandstone will be easy to drill. As the height of the rocks to be removed is generally less than 4 feet, a small drill, say 1-inch, should be used, and for this reason giant powder would be preferable to the ordinary blasting powder. A force of 10 men, a blacksmith, and a foreman, can remove the two rocks at Sawyer's Rapid in six days. The same party can then move to Hart's Rapid and remove those two rocks in eighteen days.
At Mills's Rapid I should place 20 men, 2 blacksmiths and helpers, and 1 overseer. The obstructions could be removed in thirty days; then move this same force to Delaney's Rapid, which could be cleared in eight days. Place a force of 10 men, 1 blacksmith and helper, and an Overseer, at Crow's Rapid. The work here can be finished in ten days. Send 20 laborers, a blacksmith, helper and foreman to the rapids in the Canon near Clayton; and when the party at Crow's Rapid have finished their work send them to Clayton's to assist the party there; and it is probable that they can then complete these rapids in thirty days.
Estimate of probable cost of removing the rocks.
Wages of 10 men, six days each, at $3..
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