Concerning the advangages of the island as a military point. -From its commanding site along the Pacific main, its near proximity to the continent, possessed as it is of numerous harbors, and at least one of very commendable capacity of the easiest access to the largest class of war vessels, so situated that with the aid of a few guns of heavy caliber, and a trifling amount of labor, a small force might within a few hours put them in position so as to render the harbor (completely land-locked as it is) almost impregnable. Adding to which at the head of the said bay or harbor on the summit of the isthmus, a regular fortification, which would command not only that harbor, but also with the entire isthmus the bay on its northerly and easterly side. The island, and more especially that particular portion of it, to with, the said isthmus with its adjacent bays, is capable of becoming a vast military and naval depot and key point of a long reach of the Pacific Coast, and in the hands of an enemy possessed of a respectable navy might become of infinite annoyance and incalculable prejudice to the Government. Wherefore it would seem of vital moment that in the way of coast defense a small force with a few guns should be permanently stationed there at once to prevent the possibility of its falling into the power of a maritime enemy. The entrance to the harbor alluded to from head to head is some 1,200 yards wide. It has no bar, and experienced mariners who have known it long say, no swell. Fort it sextent and the surroundig points, as also anchorage, &c., reference is hereby made to the accompanying sketch, or diagram, PAGE11 hereof. * Leaving the southerasterly head some 1,500 yards along the shore of the bay in a northerly direction, and toward the isthmus or head of the bay, is the neck of Ballast Point, curving westerly into the bay some 100 yards, and then northerly about 300 yards to its terminus, at which there is a wharf. For about 40 by 20 yards at the terminus, this point, or tongue, is some three feet above high-water mark, upon which two guns might be placed in position, as also some two others on the narrow reach of the point toward the shore, all of which might range for the entrance of the harbor. Likewise in the way of water-line defense several guns might be placed in earth-works at the mouth of a ravine some 100 yards wide (at its mouth), situated nearly opposite Ballast Point and distant about 500 yards, which might concentrate and cross fire with those which might be on the point, and thereby effectually sweep the entrance.
In addition to which, notwithstanding the extreme roughenss of the head and contiguous shore of the bay on the north side up to the ravine heretofore named, after passing and inside of it, the slope of the high hills is such as would admit of earth-works for some four guns some eighty feet or so above high-water mark, which would bear well on vessel attempting to enter the harbor, some 1,600 yards distant. The other headland is the terminus of a mountain spur, having a favorable slope of sixty yards or more, upon which several guns, likely not to exceed two, might be put in battery some fifty, or at any rate not to exceed eighty, feet above high-water mark and play to advantage on shipping attempting to enter the harbor. The lands immediately adjoining the harbor are occupied by D. B. Diltz, esq., who resides at the mouth of the ravine on the west side of the bay, or Isthmus Harbor, and has a store-house and wharf at the end of Ballast Point, opposite. At his residence he has a well of fresh water, affording a good supply, besides which water might be brought in abundance in pipes from a stream eight miles distant from the harbor discharging itself
*See p. 688.