Another letter to the editor from a boatman, 1856
For the Herald and Torch.
Messrs. Editors:—I observed in your last week’s paper a communication from "A Boatman," censuring the conduct of the Canal officers for the bad management of the Canal. Fearing those not acquainted with the facts, might think “A Boatman” meant that all had neglected their duty, and believing that such was not his intention, I state with pleasure, that out of the six Superintendents on the line, one has his division supplied with Ice Brakers.
Mr. Oliver directed his bosses to assist the boatmen all they could, and he is the only Superintendent who is entitled to the least credit for braking ice. I have been told that a boat builder offered to build an ice breaker for one of the lower Divisions, but the Superintendent refused to let him do so. And on the upper division, I understand, one of the Board of Directors ordered the Superintendent not to break any ice. The consequence of this is, that boats going down as well as those coming up, have been cut by the ice and sunk, one coming up with a load of salt shared the same fate.
Now all this could have been avoided, and the Canal at this moment could be in full operation, instead of the navigation being suspended. To show how important it is to brake a little ice for the boats, I will mention that a boat left George Town, with about 35 tons Groceries, &c-., which, but for the timely assistance of some of the laborers on the Canal, would have been totally lost to the owner; fortunately, the men were near at the time; the boat was cut through by the ice, and by throwing out the load they saved it.
Herald of Freedom and Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History