Connecticut River, New England
This beautiful river, the Quonektacut of the Indians, and the pride of the Yankees, has its sources in New Hampshire and the mountainous tracts in Lower Canada. Its name in the Indian language is said to signify Long River, or, as some render it, River of Pines. Its general course is north and south. After forming the boundary line between New Hampshire and Vermont, its crosses the western part of Massachusetts, passes the state of Connecticut, nearly in its centre; and, after a fall of 1,600 feet, from its head, north of latitude 45°, it falls into Long Island Sound, in latitude 41°16'. The breadth of this river, at its entrance into Vermont, is about 150 feet, and in its course of 60 miles it increases to about 390 feet. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, its breadth, may be estimated from 450 to 1,050 feet. It is navigable to Hartford, 45 miles, for vessels of considerable burthen, and to Middletown, 30 miles from the sea, for vessels drawing 12 feet of water. By means of canals and other improvements, it has been made navigable for boats to Fifteen Mile Falls, nearly 250 miles above Hartford. The most considerable rapids in this river, are Bellows' Falls, the falls of Queechy, just below the mouth of Waterqueechy river; the White river falls, below Hanover, and the Fifteen Mile Falls, in N.H. and Vt.;—the falls at Montague and South Hadley, in Mass., and the falls at Enfield, in Ct., where it meets the tide water. The perpendicular height of the falls which have been overcome by dams and locks between Springfield, in Mass., and Hanover, in N.H., a distance of 130 miles, is 240 feet. Bars of sand and gravel extend across this river in various places, over which boats with difficulty pass in low water. The most important tributaries to the Connecticut, in New Hampshire, are Upper and Lower Amonoosuck, Israel's, John's, Mascomy, Sugar, and Ashuelot rivers: in Vermont, Nulhegan, Passumpsic, Wells, Wait's, Ompomponoosuck, White, Waterqueechy, Black, Williams, Sexton's, and West rivers: in Massachusetts, Miller's, Deerfield, Agawam, Chickopee, and Westfield rivers; and the Farmington in Connecticut.
The intervales are generally spread upon one or both sides of the river, nearly on a level with its banks, and extending from half a mile to five miles in breadth; but its borders are in some places high, rocky and precipitous. In the spring it overflows its banks, and, through its winding course of nearly 400 miles, forms and fertilizes a vast tract of rich meadow. In point of length, utility, and beauty, this river forms a distinguished feature of New England.
Large quantites of shad are taken in this river, but the salmon, which formerly were very plenty, have entirely disappeared. Connecticut river passes through a basin or valley of about 12,000 square miles; it is decorated, on each side, with towns and villages of superior beauty, and presents to the eye a wonderful variety of enchanting scenery.