Long Island Sound, New England
This inland sea washes the whole southern boundary of Connecticut, and is formed by Long Island, in the state of New York. This island extends from Montauk Point, off Stonington, to the harbor of New York. Its length is 120 miles. The widest part, 20 miles, is off New Haven; the narrowest parts, on the border of New England, are off the mouth of Connecticut river, about 8 miles, and off Greenwich, or Saw Pits, 7 miles.
This Sound, as far as Hurl Gate, is navigable for vessels of any burthen, and the passage to and from the sea round Montauk is remarkably easy at any time of tide, and in all weather. See Judith Point.
Hurl Gate, sometimes called Hell Gate, but properly Horll Gatt, a Dutch term signifying a whirlpool, is a narrow strait of difficult passage between Long and New York Islands. At half tide the current runs 7 or 8 miles an hour. It contains numerous whirlpools, is rocky and bears a threatening aspect; but good pilots navigate it with ease when the tide is favorable. Steam-boats press through at all times of tide. Through this passage a vast amount of the productions of Connecticut and Rhode Island pass to New York market.
A survey for a ship canal, uniting these waters and Narraganset bay with Boston harbor, was commenced by the government of the United States in 1827. From a tide lock at Braintree, in Boston harbor, to a tide lock at Somerset, Mass., on Taunton river, the distance is 36 miles. The summit level is at Randolph, Mass., 134 feet above high water mark at Boston. A ship canal in this direction, or one across Cape Cod at Sandwich, would save many lives, and a vast amount of property.
Some of the distances from Providence, and along the northern coast of this Sound, to the city of New York, are here given.
From Providence to Newport, 30 miles:—to Judith Point, 11—41:—to the mouth of Stonington harbor, 27—68:—to the mouth of New London harbor, 8—76:—to the mouth of Connecticut river, 13—89:—to the mouth of New Haven harbor, 27—116:—to Stratford Point, 10—126:—to the mouth of Fairfield harbor, 6—132:—to Norwalk, 8—140:—to Greenwich, or Saw Pits, 15—155:—to Throg's Point, 14—169:—to Hurl Gate, 6—175:—to New York, 8 miles, making the distance from Providence to New York, by water, 183 miles.