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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR, November 30, 1835. To the President of the United Stales :
Sir, lo conformity with your instructions, and with the usage of this Department, I have the bonor to lay before you a statement of its operations during the past season, and reports from the various bureaus, exbibiling, in detail, their respective proceedings, as far as these appear to be sufficiently important for cominunication in the usual annual statements.
The general positions of the army remain the same as at the time of my last report. Some movements, however, have taken place, which it is proper should be specially brought before you.
Fourteen companies have been placed under the command of General Clinch, in Florida, with a view to impose a proper restraint upon the Seminole Indians, who have occasionally evinced an unquiet spirit, and to insure the execution of the treaty stipulations providing for the removal of these Indians. As soon as this takes place, these troops will resume their proper positions.
The regiment of dragoons has been usefully employed in penetrating into the Indian country, in exhibiting to the Indians a force well calcu
lated to check or to punish any bostilities they may commit, and in adding to our geographical knowledge of those remote regions. Colonel Kearvey, with one detachment, marched through the country between the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers ; Colonel Dodge, with another, made an excursion south of the Missouri, towards the Rocky Mountains ; and
Major Mason, with a third, joined by a detachment of infantry, was employed in duties connected with the assemblage of a body of Indians at
the Cross Timbers, near the great westeru prairie, for the purpose of establishing permanent pacific relations between the remote wandering bands and the United States, and the more agricultural Indians, who have migrated, under the public faith, to that region, or who seen, disposed to iniprove their condition by more settled habits. The duties committed to these troops have been well performed.
The information concerning the discipline and morale of the army is satisfactory. The officers are engaged in a great diversity of duties, growing out of various acts of Congress, many of which have no direci connexion with their professional a vocations. These duties are satisfactorially executed, and the expenditures to which they lead are generally made with fidelity, and accounted for with promptitude.
I beg leave to ask your attention to the report of the Chief Engineer, in relatiou to the state of the corps under his command. The number of officers in that corps is not sufficient for the performance of the various duties comunitted to it. The consequence is, that in some instances the public works have been neglected or delayed, and in others they have been prosecuted by those who had not the necessary professional skill and experience. Persons in civil life, possessed of competent scientific knowledge, will not often enter into the temporary service of the Government for such compensation as is provided by law for the engineer
officers. The progress of inprovement through the country creates a demand for those qualifications which are required in the military and topographical engineer service; and a higher rale of compeusation is allowed than it has been the usage of this Department to grant. A gradual and nioderate addition to the corps offers the only remedy for this state of things, and I am satisfied that considerations of economy, as well as a due regard to the proper execution of a must important class of public works, call for this arrangement.
The same considerations apply, in a considerable degree, to the topographical corps, and I ask your favorable consideration for the measure recommended by the officer at the head of it. One of the plans suggested will accomplish the object, without any addition to the public expenditures, and will make adequate provision for a branch of service, connected with the defence of the country, and which has also the ad. vantage of surnishing information that may prove highly valuable to every portion of the community.
Agreeably to a provision in an act of the last session of Congress, that part of the Cumberland road betweeu the town of Cumberland and the Ohio river has been surrendered to, and accepted by, the States through which it passes; and arrangements have been made, by the authority of these States, for the collection of such lolls as will keep it in proper repair. The funds appropriated for the completion of this road have been applied to the object, and will be fully adequate to its attainment. The work with the exception of some of the bridges, and of a few necessary repairs, is nearly finished, and is passable in its whole extent.
All accounts concur in representing it as constructed in the inost faithful manJaer. Captain Delafield, who has superintended the operations, and the officers engaged with him, are entitled to cunimendation for the zeal and professional ability they have displayed.
The United States are exonerated from all future claims on account of this road, while competent provision has been made for its preservation.
The progress in the other works of internal improvement is shown in the report of the Chief Engineer. Among these, one of the most remarklable, as well liom its great importance as from the unexpected facility with which it las so far been executed, is the removal of the raft over Red river. An immense body of timber, extending one hundred and eleven miles along that stream, had covered a large portion of its surface, and interrupted all communicatioo. This has probably been collecting for ages; and not only was this great natural highway thus shut up by it, but a fertile and extensive region along the river was inundated, and the whole country in its vicinity subject to local diseases, having their origin in this submersion.
This work has been in progress, upon the present system, little more than two years, and the whole expendipure, including the sum of twentythree thousand dollars, which was applied io previous experiments that failed, has been about one hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars. li is estimated that an additional appropriation of forly thousand seven hundred and thirteen dollars will be required to complete it, which, with the sum of ten thousand dollars now in the treasury, will miske for the whole cost one hundred and eighty-five thousand seven huodred and thirteen dollars. The river has been cleared for a distance of eighty-eight miles,
and there yet remain twenty-three miles of obstructions to remove. This portion, it is expected, will be finished early in the next season, if the necessary appropriations are made in time.
Before the present plan of effecting this work was adopted, there were various projects suggested for its accomplishment; but ihe most sanguine projector could not have anticipated such a great physical change as is already taken place, within the time and the means that have been de
voted to the work. A loose estimate of the land which will be reclaimed and rendered valuable by this improvement, which has been made by Colonel Brookes, formerly Indian agent in Louisiana, and intimately acquainted with the region upon Red river, places it at upwards of a million of acres, and it will forni one of the most productive districts in the Union. This operation, as a mere maller of pecuniary value, will return many times the amount expended upon it.
I have brought the subject to your view at this time, not only on ac. count of its intrinsic importance, but from the encouragensent it affords to the introduction and prosecution of a system of improvement by which
the public lani's upon ihe lower Mississippi and some of its tributaries may be reclaimed from their present condition, and rendered fit for agricultural purposes.
Whether the object be aitainable within the limits of a reasonable experise, there are not satisfactory data for determining i but its great results to the country, in health, in power, and in wealih, are obvious.
No a ppropriations having been made at the last session of Congress for the prosecution of the works upon the fortifications, it has been deemed proper to submit additional estimates for these objects; and as some
of the forts first commenced have been completed, estimates have also been approved by you for the commencement of others, which have been recommended by the board of engineers in the continuation of the system of defence devised by them and submitted to Congress. A number of our inost important harbors and inlets are yet either wholly undefended, or 80 partially protected as to render their situation altogether insecure in the
event of exposure to hostile attempts. An adherence to the general plan of defence, and a gradual prosecution of the work as the national finances and other considerations may justify, seem to be demanded by a just regard to the circunstances of the country, as well as by the experience which the ovents of the last war forced upon us.
In addition, however, to these permanent fortifications, there are some of our most extensive roadsteads, in which foaling steam batteries ough to be employed. Ainong these are the Chesa peake and Delaware bays, and the barbor of New York. The preculiar situation of these estuaries, as well with relation to their exposure as to the best measures for their defence, and the immense value of the navigation and commerce of which they are the outlets and inlets, render their security a matter of deep interest in the whole countıy. When the present system of defence was projecied, I understand the board of engineers contemplated the eventual construction of these moveable batteries as a part of their plan. The great improvenients which have since taken place in all that relates 10 the applicarion of the power of steam furnish additional motives for providing these co-operative defences. Alternately protecting and protected by the fixed batteries, these inoveable ones will be found to be of the highest
importance. In fact, with an adequate force of this description stationed in the vicinity of our permanent inilitary works, and enabled to take refuge under their cover, whenever necessary, a hostile fleet would scarcely venture to pass the position, and thereby expose itself to the
hazard of annoyance in detail, and of being captured or destroyed, whenever a calm, a change of wind, or any other of the many accidents to which a maritime force is liable, might furnish a favorable opportunity for the action of the steam ba eries. Our Atlantic frontier will not be properly secured till this means of efficient co-operation iv its defence is introduced.
In my last annual report I communicated the facts which appeared to render it proper that the operations upon two of the most important works (Fort Calhoun and the Delaware breakwater) should be tempo. rarily suspended. Experiments have been made to test the effects and probable extent of the causes which were in operation, a od which threatened to injure, if not destroy the utility of these works. It is believed that the depression of the foundation of Fort Calhoun is so nearly checked that further danger is not to be apprehended. But, as will be
seen by the report of the Quartermaster General, the experiments at the breakwater' have not been so decisive as to settle the question connected with that work; and it has heen thought best to ask of Congress an appropriation only for one hundred thousand dollars, which, under any probable circumstances, can be judiciously expended. It is to be hoped that the experiments which will be continued, and the scientific examination it is proposed to make next season, will furnish data for a just conclusion on the subject of this important structure, and indicate either that the causes which have threatened to injure its utility have produced their full effect, or that they may be counteracted by some change in the origi nal plan. This artificial harbor is too valuable to an extensive com.
merce, peculiarly exposed, not to engage every effort in completing it, and preserving it from destruction.
The report of the visiters appointed to inspect the Military Academy, and the documents transmitted by them, are submitted for your consi deration, together with the suggestions they have made, and which are calculated, in their opinion, to promote the efficiency of that institution These annual examinations by a body of highly respectable citizens, called from various paris of the country, are not only useful as checks upon any improper tendency to which all public establishments are more or less liable, but they are satisfactory, when they bear testimony to the value of the system, and to the correctness of its administration ; and practically advantageous by the suggestions they offer. That improve. ments may be made in the several departments of the Military Academy cannot be doubted; nor can it be doubted that a thorough examination by Congress of its various concerns, wliether adniinistrative, fnancial, or instructive, woulil be bighly useful, and would tend to its permanent melioration. Its results, so far as these can be judged by the character, conduct, and qualifications of the officers of the army, about two-thirds of whom have been educated at this institution, have been decidedly beneficial. The standard of acquirement for the military profession has been raised ; habits us discipline and subordınation, necessary first lo learn before the duly of command can be properly executed, have been
acquired ; elementary knowledge, peculiarly arlapted to a military life, has been more extensively and accurately taughi; and we have been better enabled to keep pace with those improvements which the nations of Europe have made and are making in this important branch of modern science.
Agreeably to your permission, I have introduced into the estimates an additional sum for the armament of the fortifications.
Without going into any unnecessary detail upon this subject at the present time, I will barely remark that this measure is called for by the actual state of our preparations, and by a provident regard to the duty of self-defence. 11 no increase takes place in this branch of the service, many years must elapse before our fortifications and arsenals are sufficiently provided.
A resolution passed the House of Representatives at the last session, requiring the Secretary of War to procure certain information, having relation to the establishment of a national foundry in the District of Columbia. The information which has been collected will be communi. cated in obedience to the resolution ; but I am so impressed with the importance of the measure, that I am induced to bring it to your notice in this report. The United States have no establishment for the manufacture of can.
The supplies wanted, as well for the field artillery of the army and miliija as for the armament of the fortifications, are now procured from lour private foundries—one near Richmond, one at Georgetown, one opposite West Point, and one at Pittsburg, which appear to have been established, at several periods, in the expectation that their products would be received by the Government as the public necessities might require, and at such prices as might from time to time be judged reason. able. As there is no private demand for this manufacture in our coun. try, it is obvious that no person would make the requisite preparations, which are understood to demnand considerable investments aud the em. ployment of skilful workmen, practically acquainted with this branch of business, unless expectations of a just reimbursement were held 'out. Contracts for limited periods have from time to time been made, provid. ing for the delivery of stipulated quantities ; but, as I had the honor to communicate to you in my annual report of November 21, 1831, the act of Congress of March 3, 1809, seems to present serious difficulties in the way of such an arrangement, and since that time no formal contract has been made for the supply of cannon. 'The proprietors of these founfairies have been annually informed that if the appropriations would permit, and if cannon of designated quality and size were fabricated, these would be purchased. In this manner the subject has lingered, without any actiun on the part of Congress, and without any authority on the part of this Department to make more efficient arrarigements. During the present year, the appropriation for the armament of the fortifications has been principally expended in procuring iron gun carriages, and the foundries have not been employed in the fabrication of cannon for the military branch of the service It is believed that this circumstance, by deranging their operations, has been seriously injurious, and, il it agaiul occur, it may induce some of them to discharge the workmen specially employed upon this business, and who may hereafter be collected with great dificulty. The Government now depends upon this temporary