Read More: River Navigability Projects


By the middle of the nineteenth century at least five major projects to improve the navigability of the New River had been attempted. In 1855 one last attempt to clear the most hazardous part of the New River's channel, the 600-yard rack of oyster rocks above the tidal delta, was directed by the North Carolina General Assembly. The project resulted in no significant improvement in the river's navigability, which meant that just before and during the Civil War access to and egress from Onslow's major waterway and its county seat of Jacksonville were limited by a narrow, twisted channel approximately 50 feet wide and five feet deep at the river's mouth.