State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Improving the Chickahominy-1879

IMPROVEMENT OF CHICKAHOMINY RIVER VIRGINIA

This improvement was commenced during the last fiscal year under the appropriation of $5,000 made June 18, 1878. The original estimate was based simply upon an examination of the river and it was therefore necessary first to make surveys of the several obstructions. Accordingly in July, 1878 surveys of Binn's Bar, Old Fort Bar, and Windsor Shades Bar were made. At Binn's Bar, 2 miles below Windsor Shades, and 23 miles from the mouth of the river, the least depth found was 4 feet. The least depth at Old Fort Bar was 5.4 feet, but the natural channel had not sufficient width.
The least depth at Windsor Shades Bar was found to be 4.0 feet. Proposals for dredging channels through these bars were invited by public advertisemen,t and the following were received October 30, 1878

Abstract of proposals for dredging in Chickahominy River Virginia opened at 12 m on Wednesday October 30 1878

G. H. Ferris            Baltimore, Md     $0.20    Mar 1 1878- July 1 1879         1 dipper     300*
H. E. Culpepper     Portsmouth, Va        .14    Dec 1 1878- May 20 1879       ---------   ----*
Daniel Constantine  Baltimore, Md         .14    Nov 20 1878- Feb 20 1879    1 Osgood   500*

Contract awarded to Mr H. E. Culpepper of Norfolk Va


During the winter of 1878-79 ice formed in the Chickahominy and delayed the commencement of the work until February 8 1879 The contractor commenced with one Osgood dipper dredge at Binn's Bar The material here was soft mud and was excavated readily. The channel was dredged to a width of 100 feet with a depth of 8 feet at low water Old Fort and Windsor Shades Bars were next dredged to the same depth and a width of 60 feet. The material found here was sand. A second dredge was put on the work by the contractor April 17 and the dredging was completed as far as the funds allowed May 5 1879. As to the future work on this improvement the channel already excavated should be widened and it is also important that several dikes be built for the purpose of closing subsidiary channels through which the tide now flows. The estimated cost of this work is $ 10,000.

Windsor Shades is now the head of navigation. Above this the river rapidly shoals to a very small stream winding its way through a heavy growth of cypress and other timber. The public interests hardly warrant the improvement of above Windsor Shades to the same depth as below at the present time. In order to estimate its cost even a detailed survey of the entire 7 miles of river to Forge Bridges would be necessary. Two appropriations have been made as follows June 1. 1878, $5,000 March 3. 1879, $1,000
The following are the estimated statistics of trade:
Seventy five thousand cords wood at $3 per cord
5,000,000 feet timber at $10 per thousand
75,000 railroad tics at $35 per thousand

 Merchandise valued at ..................... $150,000
Grain, vegetables, &c. valued at ..........$20,000
Lime, fertilizers &c. valued at ..............$10,000
Fish valued at ...................................   $15,000

Seven hundred Bail vessels per year One steamboat one trip per week.
For the completion of the work, $9,000 will be required.

The nearest port of entry is Richmond, Va where the collections for the fiscal were $15,030.62.

                                                           Money statement

July 1 1878 amount available ....................................................$5,000.00
Amount appropriated by act approved March 3 1879...............  1,000.00
                                                                                                                   $6,000.00
July 1 1879 amount expended during fiscal year ..........................................   4,982.38
July 1 1879 amount available......................................................................... 1,017.62

Amount estimated required for completion of existing project .........................9,000.00
Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30 1881.....9,000.00


-ANNUAL REPORT OF LIEUTENANT- COLONEL GEORGE THOM, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, 
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1879 
Report of the Chief of Engineers Army
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1879



*[ a) price per cubic yard b) time of completion c) machines needed d) cu. yds of work a day]

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