Thomas Jefferson Papers

Plan of a Dry Dock

Plan of a Dry Dock


Discription of the Drawing

A The wet Dock, B twelve dry Docks, each to contain one Ship, C the upper Lock, by which the Ships are to pass in and out of the wet Dock, F the Canel to supply the Docks with water, E a branch of it leading into the wet Dock, D two other branches which surrounds the dry Docks and by gates opening into each, any one of them can be filled without the others.

The water in the wet Dock may always be kept to the same hight by the Canel E. and when the water in the dry Dock, in which the ship is to be let in or out, raises by means of the Canels D. to the same level with that in the wet Dock. the gates of that dock only are to be opened, and when the ship has passed out or in, the gates are to be shut, and a sluce opened from the back end of the Dock into a tunnel which cannot be seen in the drawing, but which is supposed to lay under D No 2, and a little below the bed of the Dock, and communicating with the river, by which means the water in the Dock will be soon discharged, the water in the Lock is supply’d by the Canels D No 3.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 128:22186–7); undated; in Leslie’s hand.

TJ’s papers also contain a series of four undated dry dock plans prepared in an unidentified hand. Drawn on a scale of 60 feet to one inch, they appear to relate to the dry dock for Washington, D.C., proposed by TJ. Simply rendered and lacking significant detail, the drawings show a series of plans for partitioning a single dry dock into smaller docks, with some capable of being flooded and drained independent of each other. The fourth and most detailed plan shows four docks measuring 100 feet by 175 feet designed to hold two ships each, a single dock measuring 150 feet by 175 feet designed to hold three ships, and a single dock measuring 80 feet by 180 feet. Additional notations describe gates of 48 feet each in width and partition walls 10 feet thick at the base, 5 feet thick at the top, and 24 feet in height (DLC: TJ Papers, 127:22029–35; endorsed by TJ: “Docks”).

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