on the southeamanding Maxwell examination has billustrating the

the examination of the necessity for a light-boat at “Shovelful shoals,” near Chatham, Massachusetts, has been made, and to recommend that a vessel of suitable size, and showing an effective light, should be placed on the southeast extremity of the shoal. I enclose herewith the report of Lieut. Coinmanding Maxwell Woodhull, United States navy, assistant coast survey, by whom this examination has been made, under iny direction, and the sketch which accompanied it, illustrating the points referred to in the report. Very respectfully yours,


Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey. Hon. THOMAS CORWIN,

Secretary of the Treasury.


Woods' Hole, August 24, 1851. Sir: Agreeably to your order, I have examined all the particulars concerning the proposed light-boat on “Shovelful shoals," and am convinced, from my own observation and the opinions of the several pilots and masters of vessels with whom I have conferred on the subject, that a light-boat has long been needed on this shoal, and I therefore recommend its being placed there as soon as possible.

It should be placed on the southeast extremity of the shoal, that being the point where all the courses meet, whether coming from the northward, or from the north, middle, or southern channels of Vineyard sound. It would be a guide to clear the “Handkerchief,” the “Stone Horse,” and “Pollock Řip,” and make the passage of “Butler's Hole” always serviceable, while it is now only useful in day-light. It would shorten the run to vessels making a harbor in the “Powder Hole” nineteen miles. If the weather is threatening and foggy, vessels now making the anchorage under the cape have to go round the “Pollock Rip" and the “Great Round Shoal,” then run to the westward of the “ Handkerchief," thereby lengthening the distance, and consequently increasing the danger; when, if the light-boat were on the “Shovelful,” the passage between the shoals would be comparatively safe navigation.

I would recommend, in conjunction with this subject, as a new boat is to be built, and the appropriation is abundantly sufficient for the purpose, that it be of larger dimensions, of an improved construction, with a more powerful light, when ready, to be placed on “Pollock Rip,” and the one now stationed there be transferred to the “Shovelful," where it would answer every purpose and be more useful than where it now is. The boat on “Pollock Rip” is too small for the purpose; it is a general complaint that during a blow the light cannot be hoisted sufficiently above the deck to be a certain guide, and in some instances could not be lighted, owing to the motion of the vessel throwing the oil from the lamps. I think a light-boat should be of sufficient capacity to carry the light at all times at the usual elevation, or it becomes of little or no service.

I send you a sketch of the locality, with the different shoals, placed agreeably to their relative positions, with the several courses laid down, showing where they converge, which will express the necessities of the case better than I can otherwise describe them. Very respectfully,

MAXWELL WOODHULL, Lieut. Commanding U. S. N., Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,

Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey, Washington.


Letter of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the

Treasury, communicating a report of Lieutenant Commanding C. H. McBlair, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey, on the erection of bug" or harbor lights at Holmes' Hole, Martha's Vineyard.


Near Portland, Maine, July 19, 1851. Sir: I have the honor to report that the examination into the necessity for the erection of a light-house at Holmes' Hole, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, has been made, as required by the act of Congress of March 3, 1851, and the instructions of the department. I communicate herewith the detailed report of Lieutenant Commanding Charles H. McBlair, United States navy, assistant in the coast survey, the officer by whom the examination was made under my direction.

I would further respectfully report, that, insiead of the light-house at Holmes' Hole, for which an appropriation has been made, three small beacon-lights, technically known at that port as “bug lights,” should be placed in the position shown on the accompanying Coast Survey chart, recommended by Lieutenant Commanding McBlair. For reasons stated in his report, these lights should be of the smallest class of beacon-lights used in harbors, on low wooden structures, the height being regulated by the elevation of the ground and the relation to surrounding objects. I would recommend that the light nearest the water should be red, and that all should be so screened as not to show, except on a moderately large sector, east side of the range line, which they are expected to give.

Three “bug lights,” or beacons, can probably be put up within the appropriation made by the act of Congress; and it is a question for the department 10 decide, whether its authority extends to their immediate erection, or whether the subject must be referred to Congress, under the act of March 3d, 1851. Very respectfully yours,


Superintendent United Statcs Coast Survey. Hon. W. L Hodge,

Acting Secretary of the Treasury.


Nantucket Bar, July 16, 1851. SIR: In obedience to your instructions, I have carefully examined Holmes' Hole harbor, for the purpose of ascertaining what additional lights are necessary, and the most suitable locations for them.

I would respectfully recommend the establishment of three harbor lights of the smallest class, to be placed on the sites indicated by the accompanying sketch. The houses might be frame structures, similar to those erected for the small lights called bug lights of this port. Buildings of this description would be most economical, and answer every purpose. They would be placed in such immediate vicinity to the village, that a dwelling for the keeper may not be necessary.

It is not important that the lights themselves should be visible over four miles. The greatest danger encountered in entering this harbor proceeds from the rocks and shoals lying near Low Point. The skirt of wood occupying the higher ground, at some distance from the beach, is sometimes mistaken at night for the shore line, leading vessels to double Low Point too closely to clear the shoal or rocks. Frequent disasters arise from this circumstance.

The lights placed as proposed, furnish two well-defined ranges, the object of one of which is to guard against this danger, while the other shows the mid-channel and best water along the entire harbor.

Holmes' Hole is used as a port of refuge by vessels navigating the sound, on occasion of head winds and tides and storms; and the adoption of these or similar improvements would add security to life and property.

If the lights suggested are established, it will be necessary to modify the present sailing directions. I have prepared the following, and present them to you in full at the present time, as the best means of exhibiting the value of the ranges referred to.

Entering this harbor from the westward, east chop well open with west chop light-house, clears you of the middle ground. Give west chop a berth of half a mile, until you bring on the western range of the harbor lights, when, with the chart for your guide, bear up for your anchorage in the outer roads. If you want to stand into the inner harbor, bring on the eastern range of the harbor lights, and follow it.

Approaching from the eastward, give east chop a berth of half a mile, and bring on the eastern range of the harbor lights; following which, you may cast anchor either in the outer or inner harbor.

Ships may anchor in three and a half fathoms, muddy bottom; west chop light just open, with woods on Low Point.

Small vessels may anchor immediately off the town.

You can beat in with safety, the shores being bold and clear. West chop light is fixed, elevated sixty feet above the level of the sea, and visible sixteen miles. Respectfully,


Assistant Coast Survey. Prof. A. D. BACHE,

Superintendent U. 8. Coast Survey, Portland, Maine,


Letter of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to the Secretary of the

Treasury, recommending certain aids to navigation required by act of Congress and instructions of the Treasury Department.

Coast SURVEY OFFICE, April 29, 1851. Sir: I have the honor to report upon the following objects referred to this office, embraced in the act of Congress making appropriations for light-houses, light-boats, beacons, and buoys, approved March 3, 1851:

No. 4. The eleven buoys in the channel to Commercial Point and Neponsett river, in Dorchester, are recommended, accompanied by a special report to me from Lieutenant Commanding Charles H. McBlair, United States navy, assistant coast survey, a copy of which accompanies this report, and a sketch showing a survey of the locality, from this office.

No. 6. A beacon on Fawn bar, near Deer island, is recommended. For detailed opinions see special report from Lieutenant Charles H. McBlair, United States navy, assistant coast survey; also with a sketch of the locality.

No. 7. The two iron spindles on the northeast ledge of the Graves, and on Harding's ledges, Boston harbor, are recommended. The special report of Lieutenant Charles H. McBlair, and accompanying sketch, may be referred to for detail.

No. 8. The proposed light-boat off Brenton's reef, Narragansett bay, is deemed of great importance. A sketch accompanies the special report of Lieutenant McBlair, which will show the proper position for it.

No. 14. The four spar-buoys for Fire Island inlet, Long Island, were recommended by this office, and are considered of the highest importance to the coasting trade of Great South bay.

No. 16. The light-house on Bodkin shoal, intended as a substitute for the one now on the Bodkin Point, is considered of much importance. A chart of the Patapsco river, with the proper position for the tower marked upon it, accompanies this report.

No. 19. The buoy for Middle Ground shoals, Beaufort harbor, North Carolina, was recommended by this office. Its proper position will be seen by reference to the accompanying sketch of Beaufort harbor.

Nos. 22 and 23. The buoy for Diamond shoal, Cape Hatteras, and the floating bell-beacon for the outer shoal, Cape Hatteras, were recommended by this office. The recommendation, accompanied by drawings and estimates, was submitted to the department for its approval.

No. 24. The light on the “Upper jettee," Cape Fear river, and the bridge leading to it, were understood, from a communication from the Fifth Auditor, to be included among the objects of appropriation referred to this office. A personal examination was made of the locality, which produced considerable doubt as to the necessity for the expenditure. Subsequent to the personal examination referred to, the Fifth Auditor advises me that this is one of the objects which he does not desire to

ew Dungenegrized for Capeork is com

be examined by this office. It is deemed proper to say that it would be well to examine into this subject before the work is commenced.

No. 27. The light-houses authorized for Capes Disappointment and Flattery, and for New Dungeness, Oregon, have been recommended by this office, and are considered of the highest importance to the commerce of the northwest coast. The position on Cape Disappointment for the light will be marked in the Coast Survey chart of the Columbia river.

The light on New Dungeness should be placed near the extremity of the point, about 24 miles from the main land. As this is a very low point, not visible at night, it will require a tower of about eighty feet in height.

The light for Cape Flattery should be placed on Tatooche island, a small island almost touching the northwest extremity of Cape Flattery. The light is considered of great importance, as it will enable navigators to enter the straits at night, which they cannot do now.

The four spar-buoys for Fire Island inlet, the buoy for Middle Ground shoal, North Carolina, and the buoy and bell-beacon for Hatteras shoals, having been recommended by this office, I have to request authority to purchase by contract, under the regulations of the department, and place them in their respective positions. We can also conveniently place those in the Neponset river, if desired by the department.

An abstract of the subjects referred to this office, in this connexion, is herewith sent. The objects referred to this office, not reported upon, require personal examination, which is now being made. So soon as the reports are received, the department shall be informed of the result.

The sketches and special reports accompanying this are numbered according to the paragraphs in this letter referring to them. A general abstract showing all the objects for which appropriations have been made, and the disposition of the several subjects at this date, is herewith submitted. Very respectfully, yours,


Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey. Hon. W. L. HODGE,

Acting Secretary of the Treasury.

Reports of Lieutenant Commanding McBlair, United States navy, assistant in coast survey, to the Superintendent, on certain aids to navigation in Boston harbor, $c.


Washington, April 23, 1851. Sir: I respectfully submit the following report, accompanied by sketches of the localities, on the subject of the improvements for the navigation of coast, referred to in your letter of instructions.

The objects proposed stand in the following order:

1. “Eleven buoys in the channel to Commercial Point and Neponset river, in Dorchester.”

2. “A light-house at the head of Holmes' Hole harbor."

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