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tetourt, Montgomery and Grayson, and in North Carolina, the counties of Ashe, Buncombe, Haywood and Macon,
The latitude and relative elevation of this great zone has already been shown in the preceding article, and the peculiar features of its parts may
be seen under the respective heads of the counties it embraces, in whole or in part.
LAUREL Hill, or Laurel Mountain, is a local name given to several of the western chains of the Appalachian system, and leads of course to confusion. The chain in Pennsylvania extending from the Conemaugh to the Youghioghany river,—and which seperates Cambria county, from Westmorland, and Summerset from Westmorland and Fayette, is there called the Laurel Hill, whilst another chain ten miles further west, is called the Chesnut Ridge. Both these ridges continue out of Pennsylvania, and enter Virginia, S. W. of the Youghioghany; but the names are reversed, and the Chesnut Ridge of Pennsylvania is the Laurel Hill of Virginia. Such is the wretched delineation of the Appalachian system, on all of our maps, that no adequate idea of the respective chains, can, in many instances, be obtained from them. The lwo chains mentioned in this article, though not so represented, preserve their identity, in a manner similar to the Blue Ridge, from New York to Alabama.
BAYS, HARBOURS, RIVERS, SWAMPS, &c.
To complete our view of Natural Virginia, we have only to consider her waters: these for convenience we shall arrange as we have the mountains, in alphabetical order.
ALBEMARLE SOUND belongs to North Carolina, but as it is intimately connected with some of the waters of Virginia, we will notice it, — It is an estuary of the Roanoke and Chowan rivers, extending 60 miles in length from east to west, along N. lat. 360, with a mean breadth of eight miles, but protruding several deep minor bays. The Roanoke enters from the west, and the Chowan from the N. W. at the extreme interior of Albemarle, which spreads below the entrance of those rivers in a shallow expanse of water, with a level, or rather a flat, country along each shore. Every small inlet has its own comparative broad bay, by one of which, the Pasquotank, a navi. gable inland communication by the Dismal Swamp canal, has been formed between Albemarle sound and Chesapeake bay. Albemarle sound is separated from the Atlantic ocean, by long, low, and narrow reefs of sand; but having two channels of connexion southward with Pamlico sound, one on each side of the Roanoke Island, and on the northward an opening to the ocean by Currituck sound and inlet; both rivers are navigable to near their
The climate of this basin differs very much between its extremes, both from difference of latitude and of level. The latitude differs near 3% degrees, and the level not less than 1000 fact, giving an entire difference of temperature of upwards of 5 degrees of latitude. The vegetable productions, both natural and exotic, have a corresponding variety with the extent of climate. On this basin, near the mouth, the orange and sugar cane are cultivated; and on its higher branches, the apple, and wheat, rye, oats, and other cerealia. The staple vegetable, however, both on the interior and islands contiguous to this basin, is cotton, though admitting a very wide range of staple, such as tobacco, indigo, &c. Rice is extensively cultivated,
Appomatox river rises in Buckingham and Prince Edward counties,
and flows thence by a very crooked channel, but by a general eastern course, with the counties of Prince Edward, Amelia, Dinwiddie, and Prince George, on the right, and Buckingham, Cumberland, Powhatan, and Chesterfield on the left, and falls into James river after a comparative course of 90 miles, The tide ascends the Appomattox, to the falls of Petersburg, about 20 miles above the mouth, and thus far contains depth of water for large merchant vessels. This stream drains a very fine section of Virginia, between lat. 37° 33' and 37° 26' north. It inay be navigated as far as Broadway's, by any vessel which has crossed Harrison's bar, in James river, and has eight or nine feet water a few miles higher up to Fisher's bar; and by late improvements it contains seven feet water to Petersburg, where navigation ceases.
BANNISTER river rises by numerous branches in Pittsylvania county, and flowing twenty-five miles in a N. E. direction, enters Halifax county, and inflects to the S. É. about 30 miles, and falls into Dan river about ten miles above the junction of the latter with the Roanoke. Bannister drains most part of the peninsula between Dan and Roanoke rivers, below the eastern boundary of Henry and Franklin counties.
BIG SANDY, mentioned before as Great Sandy river, has its most remote sources in the north western slopes of Clinch mountain, but receives tributaries from a distance of 70 miles, along the upper parts of Russell, Tazewell, and Logan counties. The eastern or main branch rises in Logan and Tazewell, but the higher streams uniting, the main channel becomes, for a distance of 30 miles, a line of demarcation between those two counties, to where it passes Cumberland mountain. From the latter point to its influx into the Ohio, the channel of Big Sandy separates Kentucky from Virginia, flowing between Logan and Cabell of the latter, and Floyd, Lawrence, and Greenup of the former state. The main or eastern branch of Big Sandy has interlocking sources with those of Guyandot, Blue-stone, a branch of Great Kana wha, Clinch branch of Tennesse, and its own West Fork.
The West Fork of Sandy rises in Russell county, flows thence westward, traverses Cumberland mountain, and enters Pike county, Kentucky. Passing over Pike into Floyd in the original direction, the channel curves to northward, and unites with the eastern branch between Lawrence of Kentucky, and Cabell of Virginia. The valley of Big Sandy is in its greatest length from S. S. E. to N. N. W. about 100 miles, with a mean breadth of about 30; area 3000 square miles; bounded to the westward by the vallies of Kentucky and Licking rivers, to the northeastward by that of Guyandot, and eastward by that of New river, or the upper waters of Great Kanawha. The main stream enters the Ohio at Catlettsburgh in Greenup county, Kentucky, and opposite to the extreme southern angle of the state of Ohio, N. lat. 38° 24' and long. 5° 33' west of Washington.
BLACKWATER river has its extreme source in Prince George county, and within 8 or 10 miles southward from the influx of Appomatox into James river. Flowing thence southeastward over Surry and Sussex, it inflects to the southward and separating Southampton on the right from Isle of Wight, and Nansemond on the left
, falls into the Nottoway river very nearly on the border between Virginia and North Carolina, after a comparative course of 70 miles,
Blue-STONE, a small river in Tazewell and Giles counties, which rises in the latter, and interlocking sources with those of Clinch and Big Sandy,
flows thence N. E. down a mountain valley into New river, which it enters about five miles above the influx of Greenbrier.
Cheat river, a considerable branch of the Monongahela, rises on the border of Randolph and Pocahontas counties, interlocks with Elk and Greenbrier branches of the Great Kanawha, and after uniting with the south branch of the Potomac, flows thence by a general northern course 70 miles, over Randolph into Preston county, inflecting in the latter county to N. N. W. forty miles to its junction with the Monongahela, at the S. W. angle of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. The valley of Cheat lies between those of Monongahela on the west, Potomac east, and Youghioghany east. The length of this valley is about 100 miles, mean breadth not more than 18, and its area about 1800 square miles. Cheat river is 200 yards wide at its mouth, and 100 yards at the Dunkard's settlement,—it is navigable 60 miles higher for boats, except in dry seasons. The boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania crosses it, three or four miles above its mouth.
CHICKAHOMINY river rises between the vallies of the Pamunkey and James rivers, about 20 miles N. W. from Richmond; it flows thence S. E. by E.—having the counties of Henrico and Charles City on the right, and Hanover, New Kent, and James City counties on the left; it falls into James river after a comparative course of 60 miles.
CHESAPEAKE bay, a deep gulf, opening from the Atlantic ocean, between capes Henry and Charles; lat. 370 and long. 1° east from Washington, intersecting in the mouth of the bay, near midway between the capes, which are about 15 miles asunder. The mouth of this fine sheet of water extends westward 20 miles to the mouth of James river. Curving rapidly, above the influx of James river, the Chesapeake extends almost directly north over one degree of latitude, with a mean breadth of 20 miles, having received from the westward James, York, Rappahannock, and Potomac rivers, and from the opposite side, Pocomoke and Nantikoke rivers. Widened by the union of so many tributaries, the Chesapeake is upwards of 40 miles wide from the mouth of the Potomac to that of Pocomoke, and about 35 from the most southern capes of the Potomac to the influx of Nantikoke river. Above the entrance of the two latter streams, the main bay narrows to a mean width of about 10 miles, and at some places under 5 miles, but with an elliptic curve to the westward 115 miles to its termination, at the mouth of Susquehannah river, having received from the westward above the Potomac, the Patuxent, Patapsco, Gunpowder and Bash rivers, and from the eastward Nantikoke, Choptank, St. Michaels, Chester, Sassafras and Elk rivers. The entire length of Chesapeake bay is 185 miles; and it may be doubted whether any other bay of the earth, is, in proportion to extent, so much diversified by confluent streams as is the Chesapeake.
In strictness of geographical language, it is, however, only a continuation of Susquehannah river, of which primary stream all the other confluents of Chesapeake are branches. In the main bay the depth of water continues sufficient for the navigation of the largest ships of war to near the mouth of Susquehannah; and in Potomac that depth is preserved to Alexandria.
In the other tributary rivers large vessels are arrested before reaching the head of tide water. If taken in its utmost extent, including the Susquehannah valley, the Chesapeake basin forms a great physical limit; to the S. W. with few exceptions, the rivers, bays and sounds, are shallow, and comparatively unnavigable; but with the Chesapeake commences deep harbors, which follow at no great distance from each other, to the utmost limits of
the Atlantic coast of the United States. The entire surface drained into this immense reservoir amounts to near 70,000 square miles.
We know of no place in which we can better introduce an article upon the CHESAPEAKE PENINSULA, a natural section of the United States, the peculiar features of which are generally lost or confused among the political subdivisions of our country. This physical section is bounded by the Atlantic ocean S. E., by Chesapeake bay W., by Delaware bay N. E. and united to the main continent by an isthmus, now traversed on the north by the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. That work has in fact insulated the peninsula, and given it water boundaries on all sides. Thus restricted, this peninsula extends from Cape Charles N. lat. 37° 8' to the Chesapeake and Delaware canal at N. lat. 39° 32'. Greatest length very nearly in a direction north and south 182 miles. The general form is that of an elongated ellipse, which, in component material, features, and elevation, differs in nothing essential from the Atlantic islands scattered along the coast of the United States. Chesapeake bay is itself divided between Virginia and Maryland; the shores on both sides south of the Potomac and Pocomoke rivers belong to the former, and to the north ward to the latter State. The southern part of the peninsula is entirely in Virginia, and is a long, narrow promontory, 70 miles, by 8 to 10 miles wide. Above Pocomoke bay the peninsula widens, and after an intermediate distance of 33 miles, is equally divided between the States of Maryland and Delaware. In the widest part, between Cape Henlopen, Sussex county, Delaware, and the western part of Talbot, Maryland, the width is 70 miles, but narrowing towards both extremes, the mean breath is about 27; area 4900 square miles. The surface is generally levelor very gently undulating. The ocean and Chesapeake shores are strongly contrasted. Along the former, are narrow and low islands, with shallow sounds, and no stream issuing from the land of any consequence. The opposite shore of the Chesapeake is in an especial manner indented by innumerable bays, and compared with the confined width of the peninsula, rivers of great magnitude of volume. The character of the Atlantic is extended along the Delaware bay; and entirely round the peninsula, much of the soil is liable to diurnal or occasional submersion from the tides.
The general slope is southwestward as demonstrated by the course of the rivers Pocomoke, Nantikoke, Choptank, Chester, Sassafras, and Elk. Politically it contains all Sussex, Kent, and more than one-half of New Castle county, of Delaware, all Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline, Queen Ann, and Kent, and one-third of Cecil county, of Maryland, with all Accomack and Northampton counties, of Virginia.
CHOWAN river, is in North Carolina, but formed by the union of three streams of Virginia, the Meherin, Nottoway, and Blackwater rivers:
The Meherin rises in Charlotte county, Virginia, 1° 30' west from Washington City, lat. 37°, between the vallies of Roanoke and Appomattox, and flowing thence S. E. by E. by comparative courses 80 miles, passes into North Carolina between Northampton and Gates counties, and 20 miles farther unites with the Nottoway, above Winton, between Gates and Hertford counties.
The Nottoway derives iis remote sources from Prince Edward county, Virginia, between those of Meherin and Appomatox. In a general eastern course of 70 miles, the Nottoway separates Lunenburg, Brunswick and Greensville counties from Nottoway, Dinwiddie and Sussex, and flows into the central parts of the latter. Thence inclining S. E. 40 miles it receives Blackwater river almost on the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. Below the junction of the Nottoway and Blackwater, the name of the former, and course of the latter, are preserved, and about 10 miles within North Carolina and in Gates county, meet the Meherin to form Chowan river.
A tide water river, or more correctly a bay, the Chowan, gradually widens, but still retaining a moderate breadth, 25 miles to the influx of Bemer's creek, there bends to near a southern course and more rapidly widens for 25 miles to its junction with Roanoke, at the head of Albemarle sound. Lat. 36°, passes up Albemarle sound, and intersects the eastern point of Bertie county, North Carolina, between the mouths of Chowan and Roanoke, 0° 20' long. east of Washington City.
Including all its tributaries, the Chowan drains an area of 3,500 square miles, which, as a physical section, comprises the northeastern part of the basin of Roanoke. As a commercial channel, the Chowan, Nottoway, and Blackwater extend almost directly from the mouth of Roanoke to that of James river. There is at all seasons sufficient depth of water to admit sloops of war to Murfreesboro' on Meherin, about 10 miles above the entrance of Nottoway river.
Clinci river of Virginia and Tennessee, the great northeastern constituent of Tennessee river, rises in Tazewell county, Virginia, and flows thence by a general course of S. W. over Russell and Scott counties, 90 miles. Entering Tennessee, Clinch separates Claiborne county from Hawkins, Granger and Anderson; Campbell from Anderson, and thence traversing the latter, enters Roan, and unites with the Tennessee at Kingston, after an entire comparative course of 180 miles. In the south part of Campbell county Clinch receives from the N. E. Powell's river. The latter rising in Russell county, Virginia, issues thence in a direction almost parallel 10 the Clinch; traverses Lee county of Virginia, enters Tennessee, crossing Claiborne and Campbell counties, joins the Clinch at Grantsboro, after a comparative course of 90 miles. A short distance above its junction with Tennessee river, the Clinch receives from the N. W. Emery's river. It may be remarked that the course of the higher branches of Emery's river is directly the reverse of that of Clinch and Powell's river. Uniting the vallies of Emery's and Clinch river, the whole valley is about 220 miles long; but the width is contracted comparatively, and fully estimated at 20 miles; area 4400 square miles.
In all their respective courses, Clinch and Holston pursue a parallel direction, in few places 20 miles asunder, each receiving short creeks, from an intervening mountain chain. On the opposite or right side, Clinch in succession interlocks sources with those of Great Sandy, Kentucky and Cumberland rivers. The relative elevation of the vallies of Clinch and Holston differ but little from each other, and each stream above their junction, must have, from their remote fountains, a fall of 1000 or 1200 feet.
Coal river, in western Virginia, rises in Logan county by two branches, called relatively Great and Little Coal rivers. The former rises in the western spurs of the Appalachian ridges, flows N. W. out of Logan into Kanawha county, receives Little Coal river from the S. W. and finally falls into the right side of Great Kanawha and Guyandot rivers. (See Kan. co.)
Craig's creek, or, more correctly, Craig's river, is the extreme S. W. tribulary of James river, rises in Giles and Montgomery counties, Virginia, interlocking sources with a branch of Great Kanavha, and with the extreme