The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates, Proceedings, Laws, Etc., of the Third Session, Thirty-Fourth Congress Page: 271
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APPENDIX - TO THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.
34th Cong....3d Sess.
Naval Depot at Brunswick, Georgia—Mr. Iwrson.
narrow down the selection, therefore, to three
points, viz: Beaufort, (Port Royal,) in South
Carolina, Savannah, and Brunswick, m Georgia.
They made a close and accurate personal and
scientific examination of these three points, and
it is worthy of remark that the result of their ex-
aminations coincides fully with that made by Mr.
Stockton nearly ten years before. The commis-
sioners decided against Savannah the ground
that, though she has a greater depth of water on
her bar than either Beaufort or Brunswick, yet a
sufficient depth of water could not be carried up
the Savannah river to a safe and eligible point for
the construction of a navy-yard. Th'e commis-
sioners were no doubt correct in this conclusion.
Savannah is not a proper place for such an estab-
lishment; and so far as I am informed or believe,
she puts forward no claim for one. The State of
Georgia has preferred no claim for such an estab-
lishment at Savannah. She asks that a naval
depot be established at Brunswick, from a con-
viction that Brunswick has supegor advantages
over any and all other southern Atlantic ports.
Her Legislature, at its last session, passed joint
resolutions instructing her Senators, and request-
ing her Representatives in Congress, to use their
efforts in procuring the adoption of this measure.
It is in obedience to these resolutions, as well as
to consult the public interest, that the bill under
consideration has been submitted to the action of
It seems, therefore, that the contest for this
naval depot is narrowed down between Beaufort,
in South Carolina, and Brunswick, in Georgia.
Now, I propose to examine the claims of these
two points, and in doing so, will " nothing ex-
tenuate or set down aught in malice." I will
state every fact fairly in favor of Port Royal
sound and bar that can have any bearing upon
the subject. •
The commissioners (Woolsey, Claxton, and
Shubrick) make the following remarks:
" As a basis for their decision, they have looked for fun-
damental principles, and have boon guided by the great de-
siderata in a naval establishment on shore. The> may be
classed undci the following heads, and obtain value in the
order in which they stand, viz:
"1. Sufficient depth of vvatei to permit free access, at any-'
state of tide, for the heaviest class of slnps-of-war.
"•2. Defense by kind and by water.
"3. Resources and supplies of every kind for the speedy
equipment of fleets.
" 4. Salubiity at every season of the year.
"5. Ample supply of fresh water.
" 6. Faciliiy of whaifmg and docking."
, They say:
" As no port south of the Chesapeake possesses all those
advantages, (and, indeed, there is bur one in the whole
Union which does possess them,) it has become the duty
of the undersigned, by the resolution of the donate, to de-
signate that one which seemed to them to have the giea'ter
number of approximating qualifications."
Now, sir, in relation to the first point, which
is, perhaps, the most material, and without which
of course all the others have no value, let us in-
stitute a comparison of the depth of water on the
bars and in the harbors between Port Royal and
Brunswick. The commissioners say in relation
to Beaufort, or Port Royal:
"This haiborwas surveyed by Lieutenant Stockton in
1828. Ilis repoit has been tested by bounding and observ-
ation, and it-i general correctness ascertained The arm of
the sea, winch entersbetween Hunungand Hilton's Inlands,
is known as poit Royal Sound. It is sufficiently deep and
capacious to accommodate the largest fleets, but, like ail
the ports south of the Chesapeake, labors under the disad-
vantages of having a bai placed at its entrance. From the
bar to Beaufort, the distance is about eighteen miles. A 1
better position for a navy-yard can be found in the vicinity I
of Beaufort than at the town. The bar has an average j
depth of seventeen feet, which peunits, with a full tide, the i
passage of a frigate. Bcaufoitis placcd in the line of in- I
ternal navigation between Charleston and Savannah, and i
hence, if blockaded by an enemy by sea, has a safe and
speedy transport of supplies, The absence of a fre^h water
river and marshes seems to assure as gieat a degree of
health as in any of the southern haibois."
Beaufort then, according to this report, has an
average depth of seventeen feet on the bar at moan
low water. That corresponds with the report of
Lieutenant Stockton. It is the result of the per-
sonal examination of these three naval captains;
but subsequently to that time, in 1855, another
survey, under the instructions of the Coast Survey
Office, was made by Lieutenant Maffitt. i have
before me a chart furnished by the Coast Survey
Office, which lays down the soundings of all the
channels which lead-over the three bars of Port
There are three entrances to Port Royal Sound:
the eastern, the southeastern, and the southern
channel. The eastern channel carries only four- j
teen feet at mean low water. j
Mr. BUTLER. It is put down here at seven- j
teen feet. i
Mr. IVERSON. The chart does not state so- i
The southeastern and southern channels carrj )
the largest quantity of water over the bar, and it!
is to them that I address myself. I think I can j
show to the satisfaction of any impartial man
that they have no advantage whatever over Bruns-
wick in respect of water; and I draw my conclu-
sions from authentic information. Alluding to
the southeastern pass, Lieutenant Maffitt, in his
marginal notes on this chart, gives the various
bearings, and then states that" not less than nine-
teen feet at mean low water" can be carried over
this bar. * i
There is, therefore, according to the survey of J
Lieutenant Maffitt, nineteen feet at mean low I
water on the bar in the southeastern channel. In j
the southern channel he also states that nineteen i
feet at mean low water can be carried through. 1 j
concede, therefore, that nineteen feet may be car- j
ried at mean low'water on cither of those chan- !
nels, into Port Royal harbor; and when we get
into the harbor it is sufficiently capacious for any
fleet that would prtfbably ever be anchored tlffcrc.
But let us proceed. Lieutenant Maffitt says
that the mean rise and fall of the tides is six and
six tenths feet; so that with nineteen feet at low
water added to the six and a half feet of high
water, we have twenty-five and a half or twenty-
six feet; which is the deepest water that can be
carried over the bar at either of these entrances,
according to the soundings marked on this chart,
and the marginal notes of the surveyor.
Mr. MALLORY. I have the report of Lieu-
tenant Maffitt before me, and he says that the
mean rise and fall of the tides is seven feet. The
spring tide is nine feet, and the neap tide is five
feet, and there are twenty feet at mean low
water,according to the Coast Survey, in the chan-
nel to which the honorable Senator now refers;
so that if the report of Lieutenant Maffitt, which
I hold in my hand, be correct, there would be
twenty-nine fret at spring tide in this channel,
and twenty-seven feet during high tide at the
mean rise and fall.
Mr. IVERSON. I do not know how Lieuton-
ant Maffitt makes a contradiction. The map I
hold in my hand purports to be " the United States
surveyor reeonnoissance of Port Royal entrance
and Beaufort harbor, South Carolina, by the
hydrographic party under the command of'Lieu-
tenant J. N. Maffitt, United States Navy, in 1855;"
and from it I have read these remarks, which
state that over these channels nineteen feet may
be carried, and that the mean rise and fall of the
tide is six and six-tenths feet.
Mr. BUTLER. I am sure my friend from
Georgia would not wish to have anything omitted
in this statement,
Mr. IVERSON. I will make a true statement
of the facts as far as I understand them. Per-
haps there is a misunderstanding as to the point
where the tides rise. I called at the Coast Survey
Office for the purpose of ascertaining thcmfacts,
and the officer in chaige informed me that the
moan rise and fall of the tide inside of the bar at
Port Royal station is six and six-tenths feet, the
spring tide at the same place is seven and six-
tenths, and the mean rise and fall of the tide at
the town of Beaufort is seven and three^tenths, and
the spring tide at the same place is eight and three-
tenths feet. Lieutenant Maffitt, in that report,
I presume, must mean the rise and fall of the tide
at Beaufort. It is a singular fact that the rise and
fall of the tide is greater at Beaufort, eighteen
miles from the bar, than at the bar itself. While
it is eight and three-tenths at the spring tide and
seven and three-tenths af the mean tide at Beau-
fort, it is only six and six-tenths on the bar,
according to this chart, and that is what I base
my statement upon. Thatinformation 1 obtained
from the Coast Survey Office, and I presume it is
But it is a matter of very little consequence
whether there be twenty-five and a half feet of
water on the bar at high tide at Port Royal, or
twenty-six and a half feet. • This is only sufficient
for a frigate, and not sufficient for a seventy-four.
I admit there is sufficient water on the bar at Port
Royal to carry a frigate at high water into the
harbor, and as far as that is concerned, Bruns-
wick has no advantage over Port Royal.
I will proceed now to show that Port Royal
can have no advantage over Brunswick in any one
isolated respect. The commissioners, after stating
the character of the harbor, say, in relation to
the water at Brunswick: %
"Proceeding towards thfl land, by traversing the whole
breadth of the channel, the soundings gradually shoaled to
eighteen feet, which is the least draught of water found in
Eighteen feet at low water, therefore may be
carried over Brunswick bar. It is true, Lieuten- *
ant Trenchard, of the Coast Survey, in *his recent
examination, made during last year, states that
"St. Simon's bar runs nearly north and south,
is half a mile in length and less in width. Sev-
enteen feet is carried over it at mean low water."
The commissioners, in 1836, reported that
eighteen feet might be carried 'over the bar at
Brunswick at mean low water. Now, sir, what
depth may be carried at high water? The com-
missioners state the mean rise of the tide at
six feet, making twenty-four feet. Lieutenant
Trenchard puts it down at seventeen feet at low
water, and the mean rise of the tide at seven feet,
making twenty-four feet at mean high water. All
concur that twenty-six feet may he carried over
the bar at high spring tide. The twenty-four
feet at mean tide, the commissioners say, is suf-
ficient for a frigate.
What advantage, thru,'has Port Royal over
Brunswick ? Either of them will admit a frigate;
neither will admit a seventy-four. No frigate can
pass over either bar except afrhisjh water, and at
high water any fiigate of your Navy can go over
Brunswick bar as well as over the bar at Port
Royal. A seventy-four cannot go into either of
them. Where, then, is the practical difference?
Mr. BUTLER. I beg your pardon.
Mr. IVERSON. If a seventy-four can go into
Port Royal it can go into Brunswick also. Cer-
tainly such a ship could only pass over cither of
these' bars at high spring tide, and there is no ad-
vantage in that respect of one over the other.
In relation to the water on the bar at Bruns-
wick, it is a fact that it has as much water as &ny
navy-yard in the United States, with the excep-
tion, perhaps, of three. Portsmouth, New Hamp-
shire has forty-two feet at low water, and fifty
and six-tenths feet at high water, in mean ordi-
nary tides. Boston has eighteen feet only at low
water, and twenty-eight feet at high water. Bruns-
wick is nearly equafto Boston. New York has
twenty-four feet at low water, and twenty-eight
and eight-tenths feet a: high-water; I do not speak
of spring tides. Philadelphia has eighteen and
five-tenths feet at low water, and only twenty-
four and five-tenths feet at ^high water; so that
Brunswick is as good, or better, than Philadel-
phia. Norfolk has twenty-one feet at low water,
and only twenty-three and five-tenths feet at high
water, and at spring tides but twenty-three and
eight-tenths feet, so that Brunswick, at high tidqs,
has more water on its bar than Norfolk. Pensa-
cola, in Florida, where a navy-yard has been
established, has twenty-one and five-tenths feet
at low water, and only twenty-three feet at high
water, and at spring tides only twenty-three and
* Mr. MALLORY. Twenty-four feet.
Mr. IVERSON. It is put down here at twenty-
three and seven-tenths feet.
Mr. MALLORY. Ships drawing twenty-four
feet of water often go over it.
Mr. IVERSON. That may be so; But cer-
tainly it has not as much water on the bar as
Brunswick at high water, cither at ordinary tides,
or spring tides; so that, with the exception of three
northern ports, Boston, Portsmouth, and New
York. Brunswick will compare favorably with
any of the ports at which navy-yards have been
established. I therefore come-to the conclusion
that, although Port Royal has more water on the
bar at low tide, Brunswick has quite as much or
more at high tide; and it is only at high tide that
your large ships of war can pass over these bars;
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates, Proceedings, Laws, Etc., of the Third Session, Thirty-Fourth Congress, book, 1857; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30796/m1/285/?q=expulsion: accessed April 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.