Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

2500 feet, as a mean. Similar to all other chains of the Appalachian system, that of Alleghany does not rise into peaks, but stretches in parallel ridges, which, to the view from either side, presents gentle rounded, and swelling knolls, or elegantly defined lines, which bound the distant horizon. The component material of the Alleghany, is mostly graywake, though limestone and other rocks occasionally occur. This chain is rich in iron and bituminous coal.

Some ridges have naked summits, but this feature is rare, the ridges generally being clothed with timber in all their height. A few mountain planes with tolerable soil for agriculture occur, but mostly the soil is rocky and barren, and often marshy. Pine and oak the most abundant timber.

APPALACHIAN System.—The name given to the immense chain extending along the whole Atlantic course of the United States, from Alabama to Maine. In the southern states they are 200 miles from the sea, but to the north they approach nearthe coast. They run generally in parallel ridges, and the various divisions go by different names. In Tennessee they are called the Cumberland Mountains,—in Virginia—Blue Ridge,-in Pennsylvania the Alleghany and Laurel Mountains,-in New York,—the Catskill,-in Vermont the Green Mountains, and in New Hampshire,—the White Mountains. They are sometimes broken into groups and isolated chains. Their highest summits are in New Hampshire, and between 6 and 7000 feet above the level of the sea. East of the Hudson they are of granite formation. In the west and south they consist of granite, gneis, mica, clay-state, primitive limestone, &c.

Blue Mountain. This undistinguishing term has been applied to several chains of the Appalachian system in the United States, but more particularly to that one called by some tribes of Indians “Kaatatin Chunk," or Endless Mountain. If we turn our attention to the Appalachian chain we find them often only interrupted, where a cursory survey would lead us to place a termination. Whether the Kittatinny Chain or "Blue Mountain” could be detected eastward from the Hudson we are unprepared to determine, but westward of that river, this chain is found distinct in the Shawangunk, near Kingston, in Ulster county, New York. It thence ranges Š. W., meets and turns Delaware river at the extreme northern angle of New Jersey, and continues its original direction to the Delaware Water Gap, where the mountain chain is traversed by the river, and the former curves more to the westward, enters Pennsylvania, over which it ranges about 150 miles to the northern angle of Franklin county, after having been pierced by the Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehannah rivers. Between Franklin and Bedford counties the Kittatinny reassumes nearly its original direction in the state of New York, and though in some places confounded with the Alleghany, really continues a distinct chain over Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, into Alabama, S. W. of Susquehannah, the Kittatinny rises, and extending first nearly west, between the tributaries of Coredogwinet and Shoreman's rivers, is thence broken into ridges bounding on the west, the valley of Conecocheague, gradually curves to the southward, and reaches Potomac, extending very little west of south. Rising again beyond the Potomac, between the Opequan and Black creeks, it runs nearly parallel with the Blue Ridge, is passed by the North Fork of Shenandoah, and extends thence between the two main branches of that river. Though scarcely appearing distinctly on our best maps, the chain of Kittatinny is completely distinct, and continues over Rockingham, Augusta

and Rockbridge counties, Virginia, into Botetourt, to where it is traversed by James river, below the mouth of Craig's creek. Rising again beyond James river, the chain stretches along the higher sources of James and Roanoke rivers, to the centre of Montgomery county, near Christiansburg. Here it leaves the Atlantic slope, and merges into the valley of the Ohio, by entering the subvalley of New river or Upper Kanawha.

Thus far, in all its range from the Hudson, the Kittatinny chain is broken into links by the higher sources of the Atlantic rivers, and similar to the Southeast Mountain and Blue Ridge, the base gradually rises, ascending the vast inclined plain obliquely, until it reaches the highest apex between the sources of Roanoke and those of Little river branch of New river. In this region the lowest gap through which measurements have been made for a projected canal, is 2049 feet above the level of the Atlantic ocean. The base of the chain now commences to depress and inflecting to a course considerably west of S. W., is traversed by New river or Upper Kanawha. Beyond the latter stream, under the Local name of Iron Mountain, and discharging to the eastward the tributaries of New river, and from the opposite Hank those of the south branch of Holston and Watauga, it reaches the extreme N. E. angle of the Tennessee. At the latter point, the chain assumes a direction very nearly S. W., and under the various local names of Iron Mountain, Bald Mountain, Smoky Mountain and Unika Mountain, is pierced in succession by Watuga, Doe, Nolechucky, French, Broad, Big, Pigeon, Tennessee, Proper and Hiwasse rivers, and merges according to Tanner's map of the United States, into Blue Ridge, in the northern part of Georgia, between the sources of Coosa and Hiwassee rivers.

If the whole body of the Kittatinny and its mean elevation is compared with the body and elevation of the Blue Rridge, the former exceeds in both respects, from the Hudson to their termination in Georgia, though at the high lands on the Hudson and in the Peaks of Otter, the Blue Ridge rises to a superior elvevation from their respective bases.

As a distinct and defined chain the Kitiatinny is upwards of eight hundred miles in length. The height above the ocean varies from 800 to 2,500 feet. All the ridges in their natural state were wooded to their summits, though the trees are generally stunted in growth at any considerable height. In the vallies along both flanks the timber is often very large and lofty; particularly the pines, oaks, hemlocks and liriodendron. On some of the ridges good arable soil is found on the summits, but sterility is the general character of the soil. Amongst the peculiar features of this chain, one may be remarked, which gives it a very distinct character. In all its length, it is no where strictly a dividing limit between river sources. Without assuming any connexion with the mountains eastward of the Hudson, the Kittatinny is pierced by the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill, Susquehannah, Potomac and James rivers, flowing into the Atlantic ocean, and by the Great Kanawha, and various branches of Tennessee, flowing into the valley of the Ohio, or basin of the Mississippi.

BLUE Ridge..—Of the distinctive chains of the Appalachian system, and indeed of all the sections of this system, the Blue Ridge stands most apart and prominent, though of much narrower base, and of less mean elevation than either the Kittatinny or Alleghany. On a colored map of Virginia the Blue Ridge has a very striking appearance, arising from the fact of being a county limit in all its range over that state. Without tracing a probable but hypothetical identity, between the mountains of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, with the Blue Ridge, we first meet this chain distinct at West Point on the Hudson river. Thence it rises into broken but continuous ridges over New York and New Jersey, to the Delaware, in a S. W. direction. Traversed by the Delaware immediately below the influx of Lehigh, and inflecting similar to the Kittatinny, to S. W. by W., it is pierced by the Schuylkill at Reading, by the Susquehannah below the mouth of Swatara, by the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, by James river, between Bedford and Amherst counties, Virginia, and by the Roanoke between Bedford and Franklin counties in the same state. In its further progress S. W. from Roanoke, the Blue Ridge becomes the limit of river source to its final extinction in Alabama. The length of this chain from the Hudson to Roanoke, is 450 miles, and from Roanoke to where it ceases to be a distinct chain in Alabama, 350 miles, having an entire length of 300 miles 8. W. from the Hudson: The Hudson does not, however, terminate the Blue Ridge to the N. E. Many river passages through mountains have been noticed and celebrated, and, among others, the passage of this chain by the Potomac at Harper's Ferry; but it may be doubted whether from all the attendent circumstances, any similar phenomenon on earth combines so many very remarkable features as the passage of the tide stream of the Hud. son through the two chains, the S. E. Mountain and Blue Ridge.

Profoundly deep, far below the utmost draught of the largest vessels of war, the flux and reflux of the tides rush along a narrow and tortuous channel, on both sides bounded by enormous craggy and almost perpendicular walls of rock, rising from one thousand to twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the water surface. Sailing along this astonishing gorge the mind involuntarily demands by what operation of nature has this complication of wonders been produced? Again, what in an eminent degree enhances the surprise and admiration, is the fact, that this great river pass is made directly through a mountain nucleus In all the chains of the Appalachian system, masses rise at different places, far beyond the ordinary height, and spreading much wider than the mean base of the chain in which they occur. The Perks of Otter—the Peaks in the Catsbergs, in Windham, Green county, New York, several peaks of the Green mountains in Vermont, and above all, the White mountains of New Hampshire, are examples. The Highlands, pierced by the Hudson, and passed by the tide from the ocean, are however, every thing considered, by much the most remarkable of these mountain peaks or groups to be found, not only in the United States, but probably on this planet. Receding from the highlands, either to the S. W. or N. E. the chain depresses so much, that on our maps, the continuity in either direction, is generally not represented. There is, nevertheless, in the vicinity of the Hudson, no real interruption of either the South Mountains, or Blue Ridge, along their direction. The highest peaks being in the Blue Ridge on both sides of the river. Of these peaks, the highest is Butter Hill, which rises 1,535 feet'above the ocean tides, and rising abruptly from the water, affords a very fine and extended landscape to the N. W. and W.

After leaving the Hudson, Blue Ridge continues to N. E. about 20 miles, and then, similar to other chains of the same system on both sides of that river, rapidly inflects to a course a very little north of east, a direction which it maintains above 250 miles in the states of New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. For the first 70 miles of its northerly course, the Blue Ridge discharges from its eastern flank numerous branches of Housatonic. and from the opposing slope, Fishkill, Wappingers, Jansen's or Ancram and Kinderhook creeks, flowing westward into the Hudson. With the sources of Housatonic and Hoosack rivers, the features of Blue Ridge change; hitherto from the Hudson, a line of river sources, it now looses that character, and is broken into innumerable ridges by the higher sources of Hoosack and Batten Kill, flowing into the Hudson, and thence by those of Paulet, Otter, Onion, La Moille and Missisque rivers, falling into lake Champlain. All these latter streams rise in the S. E. mountain, and flowing down a western slope pass the Blue Ridge.

A hypothesis may be hazarded, that what is designated Green mountains in the sourthern part of Vermont, and the ridge or series of ridges, known by the same term in the northern part of the same state, are fragments of two separate chains, though generally represented as the continuation of one and the same chain. Regarding the great western chain, east of the Hudson, in the state of New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, as the continuation of Blue Ridge, the whole length of the chain in the United States, exceeds 1,000 miles. In relative elevation, the Blue Ridge is humble, though in one part, Bedford county, Virginia, the peaks of Otter rise to 4,200 feet above tide water. Generally, the ridges are from 700 to 1,000 feet above their bases, and the base rising with the mountain, when the ridges are seen from the elevated table land, from which flow Roanoke, Kanawha,

Yadkin and Tennessee, they are, in fact, less imposing than when seen from the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehannah, Potomac or James rivers, though at the former region, the real oceanic elevation is more than double what it is near the more northern rivers.

From its prominence, and southwestwardly from the Hudson, its isolation, Blue Ridge has been, though very erroneously, regarded and delineated as the extreme southeastern chain of the system; in reality, however, it is the third distinct chain advancing from the Atlantic ocean.

CUMBERLAND Mountain is a chain of the Appalachian system, and continues under this name through Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and part of Alabama; whilst it is known in Pennsylvania as the Laurel chain, This mountain though not so delineated on our maps, is continuous from Steuben county, in New York, to Jackson, Morgan and Blunt counties in Alabama,-along an inflected line of 800 miles. About the extreme eastern angle of Kentucky, and S. W. of the Great Sandy, this chain becomes distinctly known as the Cumberland mountain, and ranging S. W. seperates Virginia from Kentucky; as far as Cumberland Gap, on the northern boundary of Tennessee: continuing S. W., but with an inflection to the N. W. this chain stretches over Tennessee, dividing in its course the waters of the Cumberland from those of Tennessee river: entering Alabama, and crossing Tennessee river at its great bend, it gradually disappears among the sources of the Black Warrior river. The Cumberland chain is in no part very elevated, -ranging from 800 to 1,000 feet above the level of the tide; but though humble as to relative height, it mairftains otherwise all the distinctive characters of the other Appalachian chains; extending in long, regular and often lateral ridges, passable only at long intervals where gaps occur, or where it is traversed by rivers. The ridges are wooded to the summit.

KITTATINNY MOUNTAINS, an extensive and important chain of the Appalachian system. In Pennsylvania the Kittatinny is very definite, and with an intervening valley between their ranges, parallel to the Blue Ridge. It is the sam, chain, however, which first becomes definite in the state of New York, west of the Hudson, and there known as the Shawangunk, and extending S. W. over the upper part of New Jersey, enters Pennsylvania at the Delaware Water gap. Thence inflecting to W. S. W., is traversed by the Lehigh at the Lehigh Water gap, by the Schuylkill above Hamburg, and by the Susquehannah, five miles above Harrisburg. From the latter point the chain again inflects still more to the westward, between Cumberland and Perry counties. At the western extremity of those two counties, the chain abruptly bends to a nearly southern course, between Franklin and Bedford counties, enters Maryland, by the name of Cove moun. tain, being traversed by the Potomac river," between Williamsport and Hancockstown, and stretches into Virginia, as the Great North mountains, over Virginia, from the Potomac to James river, between Rockbridge and Alleghany counties. This chain though broken, remains distinct; a similar character prevails from James river to New river, between Wythe and Grayson counties. After being traversed by New river, the chain again assumes complete distinctness, leaves Virginia, and under the local name of Iron mountains, Bald mountains, Smoky mountains and Unika mountains, separates North Carolina and Tennessee, to the Unika turnpike on the western border of Macon county, of the former state. Thence continuing a litule W. of S. W., crosses the N. W. angle of Georgia, enters Alabama, and separating the sources of the creeks of Middle Tennessee river, from those of Coosa, merges into the hills from which rise the numerous branches of Tuscaloosa.

Thus, defectively as the Kittatinny, called expressly by the Indians Kataatin Chunk, or the Endless mountains, are delineated on our maps, it is in nature a prominent and individual chain, from N. lat. 34° 31' to 41° 30', and 2° 45' E. to 10° W. long., Washington city. Ranging through 7° of lat. and almost 13° of long., stretching along a space exceeding 900 statute miles, and varying in distance from the Blue Ridge, between 15 to 25 miles, generally about 20, though in some places the two chains approach, as at Harrisburg, to within less than 10 miles from each other. In relative height the Kittatinny exceeds the Blue Ridge, but as regards the plain or table land on which they both stand, it rises gradually from tide water in Hudson river, to an elevation of 2,500 feet in Ashe county, of North Carolina. From James river to the Hudson, the chain ranges along the Atlantic slope, and is broken by streams flowing through it on their course towards the Atlantic ocean, but passing the higher valley of James river, the Kittatinny winds over the real dividing line of the waters, and is thence traversed by New river, Watauga, Nolechucky, French Broad and Tennessee rivers.

KittatiNNY Valley, in the most extended sense of the term, is in length commensurate with the mountain chain from which the name is derived; it therefore extends from Hudson river to the northern part of Alabama, vary, ing in width from eight to 25 miles, with generally a substratum of limestone towards Blue Ridge, and of clay slate on the side of the Kittatinny. Some of the most flourishing agricultural districts of the United States, are included in this physical section. The county of Orange, in New York, Sussex and Warren, in New Jersey, are nearly all comprised within its limits. In Pennsylvania it embraces the greater part of the lower section of Northampton; nearly all Lehigh, Berks and Lebanon, the lower part of Dauphin, with the greater share of Cumberland and Franklin. In Maryland the eastern and left part of Washington. In Virginia, a large part of Berkley, Jefferson, Frederick, Shenandoah Rockingham, Augusta, Řockbridge, Bos

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »