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Mr. SMALL. For the whole thing?
Col. BLACK. Yes. Cash $200,000, and a continuing contract for about $500,000. That would enable me then to get the best bid.
The CHAIRMAN. Just one moment. Then, Colonel, in order to get the larger ships to the navy yard, all that we have to take out is Coenties Reef. Just point to the places where rocks are that should be taken out to comply with the President's recommendation, and to enable ships to get into the navy yard with 35 feet of water.
Col. BLACK. They extend from a point here [indicating] to the south of Old Slip right to a point at the east end of the Battery, this area here that I am covering with my pointer between the Battery and Governors Island.
The CHAIRMAN. That requires about $730,000-$777,000 is given, less whatever comes out ? That is the item you refer to?
Col. BLACK. Yes.
Mr. Booner. Colonel, I want to ask you a question as to Document No. 44, Sixty-third Congress, first session, relative to the improvement of Buttermilk Channel
. Now, you say that the other is better. Why the change?
Col. Black. There is no change. You will find that both projects are printed in the House documents of the Sixty-third Congress, first session. The Buttermilk Channel report is in Document No. 44, * the East River report in Document No. 188. Both are important and much-used entrances to the East River. They were considered as such, reported on by different people. Both are worthy of improvement. At some time both will be improved and it is simply a question which will be improved first.
Mr. BOOHER. Let me read you a section: On account of the great cost of suitably enlarging the channel passing between Governors Island and the Battery, and the difficulties attending the prosecution of the work in this congested part of the harbor, the district officer does not favor the enlargement of this channel, but recommends instead the improvement of the Buttermilk Channel to a depth of 40 feet at mean low water and width of 1,000 feet, believing that this route will adequately meet the needs of the Navy and be of future benefit to general commerce and navigation.
Who was the district officer that made this report?
Col. BLACK. Col. Roessler. I never did understand why that channel was given to Col. Roessler to report on and why the other was given to me to report on. There was a slip up in the chief's office. The clerk got the wrong man. Now, we two independent officers made two independent investigations. Col. Roessler got his in first and said this about the East River, but as a matter of fact, the other is cheaper.
Mr. Booner. Now, what caused the change from Buttermilk Channel over to the other?
Col. BLACK. Never was any change. Two independent officers make independent investigations as to which is the better, and the one comes to one conclusion and the other comes to another conclusion. Now, it is a question of your paying your money and taking your choice. Both will eventually be needed. Both will eventually be improved.
Mr. BOOHER. Did the Board of Engineers approve both?
Col. BLACK. Yes; and both are crowded.
The CHAIRMAN. You are correct in assuming that both will be done, I think, because both are needed.
Col. BLACK. Yes. There is no question of that.
The CHAIRMAN. Buttermilk Channel will have to be deepened eventually?
Col. BLACK. Yes, as certainly as anything can be.
Col. BLACK. I don't know.' It is said that at one time the cows used to walk across from Governors Island to Brooklyn. I don't know whether that has anything to do with it or not.
Mr. BOOHER. Now you refer to that navy yard there as New York Navy Yard, and then as Brooklyn Navy Yard. Are they both the same?
Col. BLACK. Both the same. The New York Navy Yard is situated in Brooklyn.
Mr. BOOHER. I asked that because I didn't think there were two navy yards there.
Col. BLACK. Just the one.
The CHAIRMAN. It was at one time called Brooklyn Navy Yard because Brooklyn was not in New York City then.
Mr. EDWARDS. It used to be always known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Mr. SMALL. Mr. Chairman, this item included in this bill is urged on the ground of the necessity of national preparedness. I want to make a brief reference to the proposed waterway between Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay." The original report of that is in House Document 391, Sixty-second Congress, second session, with a subsequent report by the Chief of Engineers which is in House Document 196, Sixty-third Congress, first session. Congress at its last session passed a resolution asking the War Department as to the necessity of that waterway for national preparedness. The Secretary of War submitted to Congress a report in response to that resolution dated March 11, 1915, which is in Senate Document No. 14, Sixtyfourth Congress, first session. As a part of that report there is submitted a memorandum of the Chief of Staff, containing an opinion of the War College division also, in which is set forth its recommendations as affecting the necessity of this waterway in connection with military preparedness. The first question was the military advantages, if any, of the existence of this canal? In answer to that it is said it is believed that the existing canal has some value as it exists to-day as an obstacle to the advance of a hostile expedition landing on the west bank of Delaware Bay and advancing against Wilmington and Pniladelphia. The fine, undefended harbor at Lewes, Del., makes such a landing a probability. The canal, especially at the locks, is so narrow, only 24 feet at the locks, as to form an obstacle not very formidable. The canal is too small for the passage of submarines or other naval crait that would be used for preventing the landing of troops from hostile transports, and too small and obstructed by locks for rapid transport of troops and matériel from one bay to the other.
3. As to 1 (b), a sea-level canal along this same line would be of very great military importance from the following points of view:
(a) For the movement of submarines and other craft that must constitute an important part of our coast-defense system.
(6) As forming an almost impassable obstacle to the passage of troops advancing to attack Wilmington or Philadelphia from the peninsula between Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.
(c) For the transport of men and material of the Coast Artillery and the CoastArtillery supports from one bay to the other.
4. The first of the points enumerated in paragraph 3 is a military one, because submarines and other small craft are believed to be at present an integral part of the seacoast defense, for use not only against naval attack on the harbors, but in a still more important sense against transports attempting to land a hostile force on our shores in case of the defeat of our Navy. Seacoast defenses reach no farther than the range of their guns, and it is impossible to distribute mobile army troops at all possible landing places to prevent the landing of troops without so frittering away the Army in small detachments as to render it almost impossible to collect them for united action. A canal such as proposed would allow the whole force of submarines, etc., to be held in one of the two bays and used with equal efficiency in either. Without the canal the force of submarines, etc., must be divided between the two bays and to reinforce one another they must attempt a passage by the outside, a distance of over 200 miles, as against about 15 miles by the canal.
A canal along this line and one from Delaware Bay to New York Harbor would make a landing of hostile troops almost impossible between Narragansett Bay and Chesapeake Bay, and the construction of this canal is an important step toward the accomplishment of this result.
5. As an obstacle and a part of the land defense of Wilmington and Philadelphia a canal suited for other commercial and naval purposes would be of great importance. Defended by a few troops and small gunboats, such an obstacle (of the size recommended below) would hardly be crossed, and it is not believed that it would be attempted.
6. As a means of transport it has a measure of value for the easy transportation of men and material between the fortifications of Delaware Bay and of Baltimore.
7. As to 1 (c), the objects set forth in paragraph 3 above can be obtained by a sealevel canal having a depth of 18 feet at mean low water and a bottom width of about 150 feet. While tides of 6 feet to 10 feet prevail in the waters at the ends of the canal, investigation has shown that guard locks will not be necessary and that an open canal will be entirely feasible.
M. M. MACOMB,
Brigadier General, Chief of War College Division. I concur.
TASKER H. Bliss, Brigadier General, United States Army, Acting Chief of Staff I concur.
LINDLEY M. GARRISON,
Secretary of War. I desire to ask if the recommendations as to the military necessity of this waterway from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay meet with your approval ?
Col. Black. Most decidedly so.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say a word right there. The engineers had in mind the cost of the deeper canal, and also were figuring mainly on the most economical way of doing the work. We were going to dig first a 12-foot canal before undertaking a 15-foot, and a 15-foot before a 25-foot canal.
Mr. SMALL. I only intended to introduce the subject of the Chesapeake and Delaware waterway with a view to showing the necessity of a canal in the southern section.
Mr. HULBERT. I want to ask you if the ferry boats operating between New York and Brooklyn and New York and Staten Island do not make almost exclusive use of the Buttermilk Channel route?
Col. BLACK. The greater numbers operating from the south ferry go through the Buttermilk Channel. One line which runs to Staten Island sometimes goes this way and sometimes the other way.
Mr. HULBERT. Isn't there a greater amount of small boats passing through Buttermilk Channel than through the channel between the Battery and Governors Island ?
Col. BLACK. No; there is not a greater amount in quantity but relatively to the width of the channel there is. The maximum channel that can be obtained through the Buttermilk Channel is
1,000 feet, while the channel between Governors Island and the Battery can have 2,200 feet.
Mr. HULBERT. So that the development of Buttermilk Channel to the exclusion of the other would create greater interference with small boats?
Col. BLACK. Yes.
Mr. HULBERT. Have you a statement of the amount of money expended by the local interests for the improvement of East River
Col. Black. I have one that is not up to date. It was prepared in July, 1913, by direction of the Chief of Engineers.
Mr. HULBERT. You spoke of the necessity of improving Hell Gate and Potts Rock, and I want to ask what is the smallest amount of money, or what is the greatest amount of money that you could expend in the improvement of those places within the next year?
Col. BLACK. They are very close together, and there should be only one plant working there, and they would not spend more than $300,000 or $400,000 a year.
Mr. HULBERT. So that considering the improvement of Hell Gate, with respect to giving us an outlet to the ocean to the east of Long Island, and the improvement of the reef off the Battery, giving us an outlet from the navy yard to the ocean to the west of Long Island, which would make navigable the whole East River from the Upper Bay to the sea for the larger vessels, you would require an appropriation of $500,000 and a continuing contract in the case of the lower reef of $500,000, and to Hell Gate and Potts Rock of how much?
Col. BLACK. If I could get $400,000 or $500,000 for that I don't think it is advantageous or that anything would be gained by making a contract for more than $500,000 or $600,000. No contracts can be made for amounts greater than have been authorized by Congress. Therefore the amount appropriated, or authorized by continuing contract provision, should be the amount necessary to obtain advantageous bids. In the case in question, since the estimate is $1,841,000, three separate appropriations of $613,000 each would secure good results.
Mr. HULBERT. You don't think it advisable that the whole project should be adopted with an authorization at this time for the commencement of work at the Battery, and at Hell Gate, and at Potts Rock!
Col. Black. If that were practicable. I understand that there are objections against the adoption of the entire project at this time. It would be very advantageous if it were adopted in its entirety, because every once in a while we find a rock in the East River which should be removed promptly. The adoption of the complete project would enable the most advantageous use to be made of whatever sums might be appropriated annually. Further, it is expected that the contract prices will vary from time to time, and that while the entire work can be completed within the estimate, the actual cost of work included in any one of the items given on page 6 of document 188 may be somewhat greater or less than the estimate for that item.
Mr. HULBERT. In other words, if the whole project for the improvement of the East River were taken on at this time, it would leave you free to spend the appropriation of Congress to remove these obstructions, which are not now easily discoverable, but which
are turned up from time to time by injuries resulting to freight steamers and passenger steamers ?
Col. BLACK. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Any further questions? Capt. Knapp is here. Would you like to make a statement, Capt. Knapp? We would be glad to hear you.
Mr. HULBERT. I would like to have a statement from Col. Black, as a matter of record. I am going to refer to this map, and I want to call Col. Black's attention to the piers which are represented on
Col. Black. Piers 4, 5, and 6 are used for barge trafficc. Piers 7 to 14 are used mainly for coastwise lines. The Ward Line people are making very many improvements at their piers, 13 and 14.
Mr. HULBERT. This rock that you have just been speaking about, the removal of which will cost in the neighborhood of $700,000, projects in front of piers 4, 5, and 6, and when that rock is removed, then it will be possible for the city of New York, by deepening, to get the deeper draft vessels up to pier 4.
Col. BLACK. At present no deep-draft vessels use any pier between 4 and 7.
The CHAIRMAN. Any further questions? Capt. Knapp is here. Would you like to make a statement, Capt. Knapp?
STATEMENT OF CAPT. H. S. KNAPP, UNITED STATES NAVY.
Capt. KNAPP. I have very little to add, except that I do not think Admiral Benson perhaps made plain all the difficulties that we have in getting through this present channel between Governor's Island and the Battery. In the first place, this range over here (pointing to range of channel just mentioned) is a miserable affair owing to the formation of the land. There is a low front range mark on the wharf and a high back range mark on the Hotel Margaret, and very frequently a mist will cut out the lower range. In the second place the deep water channel is very narrow, and in the third place there is a large amount of traffic around there [pointing to channel]. I have myself been in a ship in this channel when we had to stop and back to avoid a tow that was being swept down the tide across our bow; and to stop a large vessel in a narrow channel with cross currents is a dangerous thing to do. Finally, to avoid Coenties Reef in entering it is necessary to go over quite close to the Brooklyn shore, and then make a considerable turn in order to go under the bridge and approach the navy yard.
If I may add a word about the navy yard. A number of questions have been asked about that. The yard is there. It is not adequate in area for the growing needs of the Navy. But if we had an appropriation at this moment for a new navy yard and the site all picked out, we would still have to use the existing yard for many years, because it takes a long time to build up a new yard and get all its utilities in. So, looking at the approach to the navy yard as a practical question, whatever is done about a new site for a navy yard, if that should be decided on later, we have got to count for a great many years ahead upon using every facility of the existing yard in Brooklyn.
The CHAIRMAN. Your statement might or might not suggest some intention of moving that navy yard or discontinuing it later on.