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Hill and Fisher's Island Sound. From the latter water the route is direct, down Long Island Sound to New York.
AT THE METROPOLIS There are, however, plans for an alternative route which would possess great advantages for both commercial and military purposes. That is, to cross from Fisher's Island Sound to Gardiner's Bay and Peconic Bay, and thence by a short canal across the sand plains to the great chain of lagoons along the southern edge of Long Island, including the Great South Bay and Jamaica Bay, the last-named water giving a superb frontage in the metropolitan borough of Brooklyn. Thence passing back of Coney Island the waterway would reach New York Bay at Gravesend; from which point it could proceed to the Raritan River and trans-Jersey canal either by way of the Lower Bay or by way of the Kill van Kull, Newark Bay and Staten Island Sound. The latter route would doubtless be followed by all vessels which desired to be in touch with the trunk railroad lines, and very largely by all which came by way of Long Island Sound and the East River. It would take them directly to the doors of Newark and Elizabeth, and past the immense industrial and commercial establishments which will soon cover the Newark and Elizabeth meadows and will make those hitherto neglected regions one of the chief centers of business activity in the United States.
FROM THE DELAWARE SOUTHWARD The remainder of the route is pretty well determined. A notably easy canal route has been surveyed across New Jersey, from Raritan Bay to the Delaware River and Philadelphia, whence improvement of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal will carry it to Chesapeake Bay with
access to Baltimore and Washington. From the neighborhood of Norfolk a canal will traverse the Dismal Swamp region to the Pasquotank River, or else will go directly from the Chesapeake and the James River to the head of Currituck Sound. In either case the route thence would be by TEE WATERWAYS
BALTIMORE & deGracet way of Albemarle, Croatan,
WASHINGTON Pamlico, Core and Back
BALTIMOREPLY sounds, to Beaufort, N. C.
son There is already a channel Angalia
WAS ENCOR along which small vessels can
Baston thus pass from the Chesapeaké to Beaufort inland, avoiding the terrors of Hatteras and Cape Lookout. Indeed, they may proceed about thirty miles further, along Bogue Sound to Bogue Inlet, at the mouth of White Oak River, where, however, there are no port facilities.
Here, however, the inland thoroughfare now ends, and vessels must take to the open Atlantic to proceed to Wilmington, N. C., to Charleston, S. C., to Savannah, and other Southern ports. Obviously, that fact enormously impairs the value of the whole route. It makes it a waterway from Massachusetts Bay merely to Onslow Bay, on the North Carolina coast, instead of to the Gulf of Mexico, and it leaves Wilmington and the traffic of the Cape Fear River, Georgetown and the Great Pedee River, Charleston,
Savannah and Brunswick all cut off from inland connection with the North. Moreover, while torpedo boats and submarines may now pass inland from Norfolk to Beaufort, they cannot get from the latter port to Charleston, the chief naval station south of the Chesapeake, without navigating the open ocean for nearly two hundred and fifty miles along a dangerous coast.
FROM THE CAROLINAS TO TEXAS To fill this gap with a suitable waterway would not be a formidable task. From Beaufort to Cape Fear, nearly half the distance, natural thoroughfares exist which need nothing but deepening and connecting with short stretches of canal. From Cape Fear to the confluence of the Waccamaw and Great Pedee rivers, in South Carolina, would be the hardest part of the undertaking, but army engineers have estimated that a canal could be constructed between those points for only $3,000,000. Then from Winyah Bay, at the mouth of the Great Pedee, to Charleston, to Savannah, to Brunswick, to Fernandina, to Jacksonville and so on to Key West, nature has provided passages which need nothing but a little improvement. From the St. John's River across upper Florida a canal may readily be constructed giving access to the Gulf near or at Apalachee Bay, whence St. George's Sound, Choctawatchee Bay and other coastal waters give natural passage to Pensacola, to Mobile Bay, to Mississippi Bay and to New Orleans; while from the latter city nature has provided an inland thoroughfare along almost the entire Louisianian and Texan coast, to Galveston and thence to the Rio Grande.
. THE VALUE OF THE SCHEME The value of such a waterway, from Boston Harbor to the Rio Grande, is to be estimated from two points of view. One is the commercial. In connection with that, a few figures will be pertinent. In the first ten years of the present century, along the very stretch of coast which this inland waterway is to serve, 1,675 vessels with a tonnage of 483,743 were lost and 4,040 with a tonnage of 3,289,200 were more or less seriously damaged. The loss to vessels was more than $30,000,000, and the loss to cargoes was more than $10,000,000. The number of lives lost was 2,223. Now it is not to be contended that all these losses would have been spared if the intracoastal waterway had been in existence and operation. But if we reckon that only half of them would have been spared, which is a most conservative estimate, we shall have a saving of $20,000,000, or $2,000,000 a year, which is as much as it would cost to open the entire route to navigation; not to mention the saving of more than 1,100 human lives. Surely it would be better to spend the money for the canal than to send it to the bottom of the sea.
FOR COAST DEFENSE So much for the utility of the intracoastal waterway in time of peace. It should not be an objection to the project, not even to the most extreme pacifist, that it would be of still greater, vastly greater, utility in time of war, particularly as its military usefulness would be entirely for defensive and not at all for aggressive purposes. Such a waterway would not be of sufficient capacity to accommodate great battleships, and these indeed would have no occasion to use it. But its utility for the mosquito fleet, the functions of which are exclusively defensive, would be simply inestimable. It would enable submarines, torpedo boats, and small gunboats, transports, and tenders, to move freely from one part of the coast to another without being Coast DEFENSE GUN A modern 14-inch coast defense gun at Sandy Hook. The gun is mounted on a disappearing carriage, which lowers it out of sight behind the breast works after firing. This is one of the powerful guns of the world, firing a projectile which would pierce the armor of a battleship more than five miles away.