Today in History:

69 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


channels, therefore, if used, must be distincly marked with buoys; the light-ship must be anchored in a suitable place, and the light-house which has been built on Hunting Island, together with the beacon light near it, ust be maintained. Capable pilots must be at hand. The delta shoals in Saint Helena Sound are long and narrow; between them are deep and very regular channels, running in directions nearly parallel to each other, that may be called natural, as regards the rivers of which they are the drains. Beyond these delta shoals a mass of irregular shoals extends out to the southeward from Fenwick and Otter Islands (separating South Edisto River from the sount), which, by breaking the sea and easterly storms, preserve comparatively smooth water in the sound. The Ashepoo, Combahee, Bull, Coosaw, Morgan Islands, and Huntins Island (Rivers) empty into the sount. To complete our topographical description we must speak of them in order.

The Ashepoo enters the sound at Otter Island, and at its mouth, under the shelter of the island, is the safe and healthy anchorage we have twice mentioned-safe in all weathers and healthy in all seasons, requiring protection from no other point than Otter Island. Near this anchorage, but separated from it by the delta of the Ashepoo and Combahee, is another equally healthy and safe anchorage in six fathoms of water, equidistnat between Otter and Morgan Islands, and nearly one and a half nautical miles from each-not easily molested, therefore from the land, if Otter Island were in our possession.

In crossing the bar and ascending the sound to reach the anchorage a vessel need not approach Hunting Island so near as two miles, or Otter Island nearer than one mile and a half. The Ashepoo isnavigable for vessels drawing nine feet of water twelve miles above the point of Otter Island, where they can supply themselves with fresh water on the last of the ebb. Seven miles above is the mouth of Mosquito Creek, which connects with the South Edisto through Bull's Cut. The light-draft steamers plying on the inland passage from Charleston south go through this cut, descent the Ashepoo, cross the Combahee Bank through a small channel, and thence ascend the Coosaw to Beaufort and Port Royal Ferry. This is only possible for steamers drawing five feet; those of large draft must pass outside of Otter Island.

We have to penetrate to the depth of six miles into the sound of Saint Helena to reach the point of junction of the Combahee and Coosaw Rivers. The first of these rivers is navigable for vessels drawing ten feet of water some twenty miles up. Fresh water may be had on the ebb about ten miles up. There is a boat connection with the Ashepoo seven miles up. The Coosaw is broader and shoaler than the Combahee; it forms a part of the interior navigation from Charleston. Steamers drawing eight or nine feet will run outside from Charleston to Saint Helena Sound, and entering the latter by the most convenient channel, accoding to the tide, will proceed up the Coosaw to its junction with Beaufort River at the brick-yards and thence down to Beaufort on the inside way from Savannah and Florida; or the same steamer may continue up Coosaw River to its head, near Port Royal Ferry, and go thence through Whale Branch into BroadRiver and Port Royal Bay. Vessels bound up the Coosaw may go by the way of Morgan River to Parrott Creek, which connects the two rivers by a 15-foot channel. All these connections are readily traced on a map of a suitable scale. They are pointed out in detail because you will perceive from them how large a tract of country and how extensive, important, and complex a series of lines of interior trade and navigation will be threatened and commanded by the military possession of Saint Helena Sound.