Today in History:

65 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


defined by buoys, and a range by means of beacons renders the passage of the bar itself secure. A steam-tug will always be at hand to take in sailing vessels when necessary. Inside of the bar there is an unlimited extent of deep-water accommodation, and also the protection of smooth water before reaching the land-lockaed basines. The anchorage in Amelia River possesses the quiet and safety of an inclosed dock. Repairs of all kinds may be carried on there without the fear of accidents arising from motion of water. The town of Fernandina and the wharves and depots of the Florida Company furnish conveniences the value of which need not be enlarged upon. If the seizure were conducted so suddenly as to prevent the destruction of property and buildings (which it would be difficult to replace), the facilities for landing and storing coal and other materials will be found ready for use. Another feature of this port, and one which has appeared to us to be of sufficient importance to engage your particular attention, is he isolated position of Fernandina, territorially and in population. Fernandina is on an island, bounded by the ocean on one side, and having on the other an interior poor and uninteresting in all respects, sparse in population, remote from large cities or centers of military occupation, and not easily accessible by railroad or water communication.

By the census of 1850 the population of Fernandina was about 600 (it is now 1,000); Saint Mary's, 700; Darien, 550; Jacksonville, 1,145; Saint Augustine, 1934. The distance by water from Fernandina to Saint Mary's is 9 miles; to Brunswick is 35 miles; to Darien is 51 miles. By railroad to Baldwin is 47 miles; from Baldwin to Jacksonville is 20 miles; from Fernandina to Savannah (by water) is 120 miles; from Ferdnandina to Charleston is 166 miles; from Fernandina to Cedar Keyes (by railroad) is 154 miles, and from Fernandina to Tallahassee (by railroad) is 192 miles.

With all the above-mentioned places there is water communication, except Cedar Keys, Tallahassee, and the railroad stations between them; but it is apparent that any military opposition of weight must come from Savannah and Charleston principally through Cumberland Sound, and the depth (less than ten feet in some places) of this line of interior navigation would require the transportation of the troops in the light steamers employed there. These steamers are so light and devoid of shelter that an expedition would hardly be undertaken if Amelia Island were properly garrisoned. The environs of Fernandina form a natural protection against an attack by land. They consist of marsh and sand, which alone compose the shores of the rivers and bayous.

We are careful to avoid making this communication unnecessarily long by entering upon a comparison of Fernandina with other places in the same region of coast, such as Brunswick, for example, which is now connected by railroad with Savannah, and, being more in the interior, is less healty; or St. John's Entrance, which could be fortified against us, and has an insuperable objection in its bar; but we take pains to say that such comparisons have formed a large part of our study of the whole subject. We have not spoken of the peculiar advantages of Fernandina as a depot and naval station without attaching a meaning to the word. Although an open and rapid communication with the Guf of Mexico by the Florida Railroad to Cedar Keys accomplished in eleven hours would undolubtedly be desirable, still it has not entered into our project to recommend the maintenance of this communication. To do so would employ a force disproportionate to the possible benefits to be derived from it. The Central Railroad to Tallahassee, which connects with this road at Baldwin, is completed as far as Alligator, and