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{JjJh '//7/Z7 

s of the Chesapeake & Del Sanal 

Companj to its Stockholders. 



1803-1 304 





renty-si: ; 1844-1846 

3?hirtie1 Ib4u-lb49 

fourth Ib5:i-1653 

rhii tjr- seventh 1855-18.56 

The Chesapeake & Del c Canal in the Civil 
by Major R. _.. Raymond. 

Documents relative to Chesapeake ana Delaware Canal 
Company and the conditional transfer of the stock hela therein 
by the j. J. .ieraorial of the Che and Delaware Canal 
Company presented to the Senate and House of Representatives. 

U. S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee 
on rivers and harbors. Chesapeake ana Del ware Canal. Wash- 
ington, 1914. 

U. 3. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee 
on rivei, rbors, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Wash- 
ington, 19ld. 

. ORD 

The object of this paper is to present the facts 
which are prominent and important in the history and devel- 
opment of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, emphasizing 
especially the ,;ater .Jheel at Chesapeake City. All pass- 
ages are original unless otherwise indicated. The greater 

part of the information was gathered from the annual re- 

ports of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company to its 
stockholders. Other information was taken from the Con- 
gressional Hecoras. Dimensions and specifications were 
taken directly from bibliographies. 


For many hundreds of years canals have played a 
very important part in the progress of nations. At a very 
early period the Egyptians, realizing the great advantages 
resulting from canals, constructed several along the Ifile 
and one from the i.lediterranean to the Red Sea, thru the Isth- 
mus of Suez, which opened the oommeroe of India and other 
maritime parts of Asia to Rurope. This indeed was the rea- 
son for their great improvement in arts and power. From 
this time on down thru the .ages we find canals paving the 
way for internal improvements during times of peace and of- 
fering means for quick concentration of troops daring time 
of war. Hence we can see that ihe concention of the Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal was nothing new, although at that 
time the methods of construction were necessarily crude. 

During the Revolutionary _ Bfar General Washington 
often deplored the fact that there was no canal connecting 
the Chesapeake with the Delaware. Most of the supplies 
for his army were drawn from the Chesapeake and upwards of 
400 wagons were required to transport them across the Isth- 
mus. Such a large number of wagons was never available so 
that he experienced considerable delay. Then in his move- 
ment to the South, the baggage, stores, and heavy artillery 
were transported by boats from Philadelphia to Christiana 
Bridge; and more than 100 water crafts were required to do 


this; yet his progress across the Isthmus was so slow that 
he had considerable difficulty joining the Southern Array. 

Realizing the tremendous advantages of such a 
canal, both in time of peace and in time of war, it is no 
wonder that the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was conceived, 
planned, and executed at such an early date as 1829. 




During the years 1799, 1601, and 1802, several 
Acts were passed by the various legislatures of the States 
of Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania incorporating a com- 
pany for the purpose of forming a navigable canal over the 
Isthmus which separates the Chesapeake and Delaware Pays. 
In pursuance of these Acts various citizens of the United 
States made subscriptions, after which a Board of President 
and. Directors was dulj elected to plan and execute the afore- 
mentioned canal. 

The Board immediately met and appointed Mr. Benja- 
min H, Latrobe, Mr. ^Cornelius Howard of Maryland, and Mr. 
John Thompson of Pennsylvania, all engineers of good repute, 
to examine sources of supply, situations on each bay, passes 

ioh were usable and the nature of the country itself. 
Prom this examination several important principles were es- 
tablished. The canal would have to be one of practical 

;er level with lockage at each end, as a tide water canal 
would cost more than the company could ever hope to assemble, 
and would be an unknown quantity as far as the action of the 
two tioes was concerned. Methods of canal construction used 
before and with success would be used in preference to dubi- 
ous methods whieh would jeopardize the money of the stock- 
holders. A copious supply of water could be obtained from 
(/hit eel ay Creek and the Elk P.iver, and either could furnish 

enough, water for extensive navigation on the canal with the 
advantage of using the other whenever it should be needed. 
After a minute survey, the Board finally decided 
t fix the "route of the canal from delch Point on Elk River 
to Christiana Creek, near ilendenhall' s Landing, a distance 
of twenty-t'.'.'Q miles. At low tide the depth of water in 
Christiana Creek is nine feet, and in Elk .-.iver is twelve 
feet within one hundred feet from the shore. The tide ri- 
ses four feet in both rivers. The highest intervening 
ground over which the canal will be executed extends for a 
distance of thirteen miles and is seventy-four feet above 
tide water. The descent is to be affected by nine looks on 
each side. The supply of w.iter is to be drawn from Elk 
River by a feeder six miles in length, three and one-half 
feet deep, ana sufficiently wide to serve as a boat canal. 
The feeder will be united to the main canal by a lock of a 
ten foot lift, which will fill one hundred forty-four locks 
daily. This will enable the passage of twenty-four vessels 
daily. k reservoir of thirty acres, which may be increased 

jne hundred and fifty acres, ill supply occasional defi- 
ciencies. A supplj of water may be also taken from Christi- 
ana and Whiteclay Creeks in case the increased navigation 
demands such. The canul will be eight feet deep, twenty- 
six feet wide at "ho bottom, and fifty feet wide at the top, 
on the water line. It will accommodate vessels of forty to 
seve-it;, tons d: : seven and one-half feet of water. Ihe 
siae of the banks, which on the one side are three feet 


above the water level and extend twenty, feet to the side 
for conversion into a turnpike, and on the other e are 
. 1 r ;e enough to accommodate a towpath, will permit a depth 
of v/ater of nine feet in the canal provided the gates are 
increased in height -by one foot. The looks, eighty feet 
long, eighteen feet wide; and eight or nine feet deep over 
the gate sills, containing each eleven thousand five hun- 
dred or thirteen thousand cubic feet of water, and with a 
lift of -eight or nine feet each, will be constructed of 
hewn atone laid in tarras. 

As the waters of Whiteolay Creek and Elk River 
had to be resorted to for the supply of v/ater, it was de- 
cided that the most economical way to begin the construc- 
tion would be b,y C'„. demoting the feeders from their source 
to the reservoir so that water could be let into -11 parts 
of the canal as suon as it was completed, and so that 
stone, lime, and other materials needed in the work could 
be transported over the feeders at a minimum cost. To 
this end the Board purchased water- rights on the Elk River 
and necessary land for the feeders. On the second of Hay 
the first sod of the feeder of the canal was broken at Elk 
Forge and work began on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, 

?or the first ye^r the work progressed as rapidly 
as Qould te expected. It was necessary of coarse to hire 
men, get together tools and equipment, build construction 
cabins, and in other v:ays prepare for such a big undertak- 
ing . This was all -aid a reasonably good working sys- 


tem established, and approximately three lailes of the pros- 
pective five-mile feeder were completed and ready for navi- 
ion. This was quite 3 creditable showing aa much of the 
excavating had to be done where there were many large sized 
roc, . 

The following year marked the beginning of real 
difficulties for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company. 
The subscribers who had at first taken such a lively inter- 
est in the undertaking began to wonder if, after all, their 
investment had been a wise one. Other investments were en- 
ticing and offered quicker remuneration. It 7/0 uld be sev- 
eral years at least before the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal 
Company could pay dividends, and so it became harder and 
harder to collect the subscriptions, until, the company was 
finally compelled to go to lav;. After several suits were 
brought, practically all delinquent subscribers in Pennsyl- 
vania and Maryland settled up, Lut in Delaware; the state 
that was most vitally affected, the majority did not pay 
up. Owing to the lack of funds, the work was discontinued 
until such a time as the subscribers should have paid 
enough to resume the work. 

During the winter of 1805-1806 applications were 
made to Congress and to the respective legislatures of Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland, impressing them with the national im- 
portance of such . canal, but although they acknowledged 
its worth, no definite steps were taken to aid the company 
financially. On June 3, 1806, the time at which the Chesa- 

_ ■". _ 

peake and Delaware Gan il Company made its annual report to 
its stockholders, there still remained about a mile of the 
feeder to be finished. 

For several years it appeared that the Chesapeake 
and Delaware Canal was a dead proposition, but on January 
19, 1817 the directors of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal 
Company made application to Congress for a loan. If Con- 
gress acted uj>on this, petition to the extent of subscribing 
$150,000, then the State of Maryland would subscribe ^50,000, 
the State of . Pennsylvania $75,000, and the State of Delaware 
&20 , 000 . 

Early in 18S2 the Ches ipeake and Delaware Canal 
Company was reorganized. The Board immediately set out to 
resurvey and check all the old surveys. To this end they 
hired several competent engineers and began work. Outside 
engineers were called in and consulted as to a proposed 
new cut which was much shorter, and reduced the summit 
level by several feet. The Examining Engineers assembled 
and submitted the following report; "After a careful in- 
vestigation of all the circumstances connected with the 
important question of the most eligible route for a canal 
across the Delaware Peninsula we unanimously recommend the 
following— viz. Beginning on the Delaware River near rev- 
bold' s Landing, where an artificial harbor and tide-look 
must be provided, the oanal should be cut thru St. George's 
Meadows to St. George's Dam, then to be lifted by a lock of 


eight feet-- thence thru St. George* s 1,1111 Pond, thru the 
dividing ridge of the Peninsula, and thru Turner' a Kill 
Pond to a lock of a six foot fall at Turner's Mill Dam, and 
thence along Broad and Back Creeks to a tide lock near the 
mouth of Long Creek." This report was unanimously adopted 
bj the directors. The Examining Engineers placed the cost 
of construction at $1,364,364.64. 

The new canal was to be sixty feet wide at the 
water line, thirty-six feet wide at the bottom, eight feet 
deep, leas than fourteen miles long, and lined with stone. 
It had many advantages over the one proposed in 1804. It 
was shorter, led into deeper water at its mouth, didn't 
have aqueducts or tunnels, had fewer locks, hence fewer 
attendants, and possessed the practicability of being con- 
verted into a ship navigation canal should occasion demand. 
The cost of the new one was .,;110,000 more than the old one. 

Benjamin ./right, Esq. was chosen Engineer in 
Chief and on April 15, 18£4 construction was begun by the 
removal of the first sod near liewbold's Landing. The 
Board and a large assemblage of people were present. 

After six years of hard toil the canal was com- 
pleted, and opened on the seventeenth day of October 1829. 
It was thirteen and five-eights miles long, sixty-six feet 
wide at the water line, thirty-six feet wide at the bottom, 
and ten feet deep. The depth of the excavation at the sum- 
mit was severity- six and one-half feet, the extreme width of 


any section at the surface was three hundred sixty-six feet, 
and the excavation from the deep cut was 3, 500,000 cubic 
yards. The oanal was divided into seven sections. Section 
number ne extended twenty-nine chains to section number 
two v/riioh was thirty-two chains long. Section number three 

s three and one-half miles long, extending from section 
number tv:o to the village of St. George' a. At St. George's 
a lock of an eight foot lift connected sections three and 
four, the fourth section being the sumuit level. Section 
number four e;-:t ended three and one-fourth miles from the 
village of St. George's to section number five where the 
deep cut began. The length of section five was three miles 
^nd fifty- eight chains, and crossed the rid re which divides 
the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Sections six and seven 
terminated the oanal. It the end of section seven was a 
lock which communicated with Each Creek, a branch of Elk 
Hiver. The locks were one hundred feet long and twenty- 
two feet wide, there being two tide and two lift locks. 
The length of Summit Bridge was two hundred forty-seven 
feet, and its height above the bottom of the cmal, ninety 
feet. The total cost of construction was $£, 250,000, of 
which v 450,000 was paid by the United States, $100,000 by 
the State of Pennsylvania, $50,000 by the State of Maryland, 
Sl ^5,o00 by the State of Delaware, and the remainder by citi- 
zens of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. 

The canal continued to operate until the twenty- 
ninth of January 1830, when it was closed because of an ice 


jam in the Delay/are River. On the twenty-third of February 
the Delaware became navigable, and the canal was again 
opened. Prom this time until the first of June, 1834, ves- 
sels and boats passed, the tolls on these amounting to 

J, 613. 20. This was indeed a very good beginning for the 
Chesapeake and .Delaware Canal. 

Each year the canal made money, but not enough 
to pay dividends. On the seventeenth of June, 1846, "A 
Bill Direoting the Conditional Transfer of the Stock Held 
by the United States in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal 
Company to the Said Company" was reported in the House of 
Representatives. The conditions were that no tolls should 
be charged on United States boats,, and that locks one hun- 
dred and fifty feet long, and twenty-eight geet wide, should 
be constructed within five years. Heedless to say, the bill 
did not pass. 

The trade on the canal steadily increased until in 
1853, it the end of the year, the company had a large enough 
surplus on hand to pay dividends. In 1856 a Bond issue of 
$2, 800, 000 provided for the construction of new locks and a 
.. ping station. 

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal played a very 
ortant part in the Civil War. When the Confederate 

Troops '"ere 

marching on the city of Washington and the Union 

Troops were 

over a hundred miles a- ith no apparent way 

of reaching 

there in time, it looked as though the Capital 

was doomed. 

All railroad bridges around Washington had been 


burned so that it was practically impossible to get there 
by land. But some one thought of the Chesapeake and Dela- 
ware Canal. Using this canal, the Union troops arrived in 

hington just as the Confederate troops reached the South 
end of long Bridge. 

As the steam railroads developed, the Chesapeake 
and Delaware Canal began to decline. For several years 
after 1900 the company made no profit at all. 

The Agnus report of 1907 showed the cost of re- 
production to be as follows: 

Dry exoavat ion— 15,000,000 cu. yds. g la< ,400,000.00 
Dredging, 1,455,760 cu. yds. i 14c ' £00,996.00 

80,000 linear feet bank revetment 70,000.00 

44,000 perches masonry £ $3 132,000.00 

Look at Delaware City 120,000.00 

Lock at St. George's 118, £20. 00 

^ock at Chesapeake City 147,970.00 

Average of land holdings, 8000 acres @ §50 400,000.00 
Pumping plant at Chesapeake City 50,000.00 

Auxiliary arrangements for summit level 

supply 5,000.00 

Bridges 31,000.00 

Houses, Offices 30,000.00 

Tools, Machinery 1,000.00 

Telephone Line , £,000.00 

Total $3,708,186.00 

Finally in 1918, after much discussion pro and 


con, it was taken over by the Government. Since then it 
has been operated by the Government with the intention of 
some day making it a ship navigation canal. Within, the 1 
few years, four vertical lift bridges have been constructed 
across the canal. There is one at Chesapeake City, one at 
Buck Tavern, one at St. George's, and one at Delaware City. 
The largest of these is at Chesapeake City, Maryland. The 
span alone weighs one thousand tons, and is counterbalanced 
by two weights, weighing approximately five hundred tons 
each. The span is lifted by a .vestinghouse , Type M, C. 
Motor, Frame — #90, Series ,-ound , 550 volts, D. C. , 100 H. 
P. at one hour rating. In case anything goes wrong wi-th 
this motor there is a gasoline engine which can be belted 
to lift the span. This is an Industrial Unit, The Buda 
Company, Harvey, Illinois, 40 H. P., four cylinder, four 
cycle engine, completely equipped with fan, radiator, 
gasoline tank, and clutch. These bridges embody the very 
latest in bridge design and construction. 

The present locks of the oanal are 820 feet long 
and 24 feet wide. At the low level the depth is ten feet. 
The total depth of the lock Is twenty-five feet from top to 

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal will never at- 
tain the place in transportation that its originator hoped 
it would. They did not foresee the rapid rise and develop- 
ment of railroads, and the consequent effect it would have 
on canals. But the railroads oannot take the olace of 


water navigation altogether, and so the Chesapeake and Del- 
aware Canal will still remain a very important asset to the 
Government, both in time of peace and in time of war. 


. S CITY, M ..r iAHD 

In 1854 a Bona issue of $2,800,000 was floated by 
the Chesapeake ana Delaware Company. Part of this was used 
to eo struot new looks xor the canal, and the remainder to 
construct & water wheel. This wheel was usee to raise the 

ter from a level lowei than that of the oanal, and pour it 
into the oanal. Several years later two centrifugal pumps 
were installed. The largest of "hese pumps h capacity 
of oo, . -.ions of water per minute, and is run by an in- 

ternal combustion engine of the nks Morse type. This 
engine is a semi-diesel, type Y, six oylinders, ana is rated 
at ooo --. -. The otner . a capacity of £50 gallons 
ner minute and is better to a Fairbanks ;^orse, two cylinder 

16 rated at luO H. P. At the present time these centrif- 
ugal pumps supply most of the water usea by the canal, the 
water wheel is use< onl; in c it becomes necessary to shut 
down one of the others, or in case an increased supply is 
neeae- . 

The water wheel at Chesapeake City is the largest 
of its kind in the world. Constructed of wood, it is thirt - 
nine feet in diameter and seven feet wide. The shaft which 
supports the m mmoth eel is twelve inches in diameter, ..nd 
runs in bearings which are enclosed so that the water cannot 
get to them. The twelve buckets in the wheel serve to de- 
liver 24,000 gallons of water per minute when the wheel 
makes one md one- 1 revolutions per minute. Around the 


outer circumference of the wheel are two gears, one on 
each Bide. Two smalles ;ears meshing with these 1 ©3 ones 
serve to turn the heel. Power is gotten from two steam 
engines of the rocker beam type such as are con: 1 use<j on 
ferry boats. These engines are vertical, each having a high 

. lc -t.rfLire cylinder, and e iCih rate-, at 350 H. 
Steam is supplied by boilers which were constructed by the 
Pusey and Jones Company, and installed at Chesapeake City in 
1894. .- layout of the lant is . hereafter. 

The entire wheel ana its prime movers are enclosed 
in i briok building, picture of which is shown. 

The principle of operation is as follows: the 
wheel dips into the lov. r er level of rr, scooping up 
large quantity . As it revolves the water is lifted, and ( 
the same time rv.u^ to the center of the wheel, where it 
flows out and around the be irings into troughs whioh earry 
it into the oanal. The bearings of the wheel are 
about two feet above the level of the canal itself. The 
I the lower lever is conducted into the pit into 
Loh the water wheel dips. By means of a valve it is pos- 
sible to control the depth of the water in the pit, and 
hence the amount scooped up bj the wheel each time. 

At the present time most of the '."Liter is put into 
the oanal by the cen ri al pump mentioned above. The 

ler wheel, however, is in good running order, and ilthough 
its efficiency has decreased through ears, it is always 
reaa^ to us^ ..hen needed. 

C ch + t' -fuq* 3 I Pump 5 

3-heam tngi"© 

Water ^, 



W« f e t 

5+eom Engine 

Boi lers 

Logout of Pumpina 3-foTion « + Chesapeake C itu 






fl f„a comma down tl^e c a ^i a I \^Yo 

Dec- ia,oaC> , 
•Pus kin & i c. e Fro v>n be. Wind tke A,a"f"« <» "£ +k e