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REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY.
APPENDIX No. 1.
REPORT OF CAPTAIN W. H. BIXBY, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, FOR THE
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit herewith my reports upon the fortification work with which I have been connected during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. BIXBY,
Captain of Engineers, U. S. A.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.
PREPARATION OF REPORT UPON INVESTIGATIONS IN EUROPE IN 1881-'82.
From 20th August, 1881, until 10th June, 1882, I was in Europe under orders to obtain information in relation to turrets, armor-plates, and the mounting and maneuvering of guns of large caliber. During that time I sent to your office various manuscript reports upon various individual portions of the subjects investigated. After my return I submitted a preliminary report dated 29th September, 1882, in which I stated that I hoped at an early date to present the whole information in the shape of a single comprehensive report.
By direction from your office to the Board of Engineers, by your let ter of date 11th July, 1882, the Board of Engineers returned to me for revision and completion my partial reports above alluded to, amounting
to about 440 pages of foolscap manuscript, 60 figures, 30 large tracings, 76 plates, and two large albums of photographs, without counting any of the printed matter transmitted by me from abroad. Besides this I had an almost equal amount of manuscript notes, descriptions, and tracings of English turrets and forts, which I had never submitted for want of time to put them in proper shape for transmission to your office. Progress upon my report was entirely prevented from July, 1882, until nearly August, 1883, by my more immediate duties as Adjutant of the Battalion of Engineers; and from August, 1883, until January, 1884, by sickness, during two months of which time I was absent on surgeon's certificate of disability. After January, 1884, this report was again taken in hand, and as the work progressed it was deemed advisable that the report should be divided into four parts. By further directions from your office by letter of 7th May, 1884, the separate portions of the report were to be submitted in the following order:
Part I of this report, 442 pages of type written text and 43 plates, was forwarded to your office on the 15th July, 1884.
Part II, 83 pages of type-written text and 23 plates, was forwarded on the 28th July, 1884.
Part III, 145 pages and 22 plates, was forwarded on the 20th Juls, 1884.
Part IV, the final portion of this report, 181 pages and 33 plates, was forwarded on the 1st August, 1884, making a total of 851 typewritten pages and 121 plates.
Part I received more time and attention and was much more full and complete than the succeeding portions, because it covered a ground which up to the present time has been comparatively untouched by other writers. Of this, 40 pages of introduction and about 160 pages of descriptions are entirely new and are my own contribution; about 80 pages more are my own translations of descriptions not as yet published in England; 80 pages more are compilations, and the remaining 80 pages are quotations regarded as of especial value.
Parts II, III, and IV are almost entirely my own individual work, either in composition or translation. Whenever I have received assistance from others, such assistance is explained by foot-notes.
In order as far as possible to give credit where credit is due, as well as to save time and trouble to other officers interested in the subjects de. scribed, I have everywhere given full references to the sources from which my information has been drawn and where in many cases more details are still to be found.
Orders from your office, of date of 1st August, 1884, directing me to proceed immediately to Wilmington, N. C., for river and harbor work in that neighborhood, put a stop to my further work upon this report. The report might have been much fuller without exhausting the information I brought back from Europe; but it is probably as full as is desirable at present. A large portion is composed af matter either as yet not printed, or at least not easily available to both Army and Navy Officers; and it is therefore hoped that the report may be printed in full without excisions.
APPENDIX No. 2.
FORT GREENE, NEWPORT HARBOR, RHODE ISLAND.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
Washington City, January 20, 1885. The Secretary of War has the honor to transmit to the United States Senate a report dated the 19th instant, from the Chief of Engineers, and its accompanying copy of a report dated the 15th instant, and plat of Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, from Lieut. Col. George H. Elliot, Corps of Engineers, the same being transmitted in response to the resolution of the Senate of January 9, 1885, as follows:
Resolved, that the Secretary of War be, and that he hereby is, directed to report without unnecessary delay to the Senate, whether any private person is in the possession and occupation of Fort Greene, in Newport, Rhode Island, belonging to the United States; and, if so, under what authority does such person hold the same; whether the said Fort Greene is of any present use to the Government of the United States; and, if not, will the United States probably have any future use for the said fort; and if there is no present or prospective use for the said fort, whether or not the same ought not to be sold, and the proceeds thereof be covered into the Treasury of the United States; and if the said Fort Greene is not of any present use to the United States but will probably be of use thereto hereafter, whether the said Fort Greene may not well be committed to the care and custody of the city of Newport, to be by the said city used as a public park until further action of Congress or of the Secretary of War is had in reference thereto.
The Secretary of War concurs in the opinion expressed by Lieuten ant-Colonel Elliot, which is also concurred in by the Chief of Engineers, that the site of Fort Greene should not be sold by the United States, but should be turned over to the city of Newport for use as a public park, as contemplated by the Senate resolution, to be retained by the city during the pleasure of the Secretary of War, under such conditions as he may deem best to impose.
ROBERT T. LINCOLN,
Secretary of War. The PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE
OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE.
LETTER OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY, Washington, D. C., January 19, 188!
1885. SIR: I have the honor to return herewith the resolution of the Senate of the United States, dated January 9, 1885, calling for a report whether any private person is in the possession and occupation of Fort
Greene, in Newport, R. I., and, if so, under what authority does such person hold the same, &c.
I have the honor, in reply thereto, to submit the accompanying copy of the report thereon, dated the 15th instant, by Lieut. Col. George H. Elliot, Corps of Engineers, which it is believed will fully answer the inquiries contained in the resolution, and afford all necessary information in regard thereto.
In addition to the statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot in regard to the title of the United States, there is foupd upon the files of this office an uncertified copy of a deed executed September 6, 1823, by wbich Richard Mitchell and others, “proprietors of a tract of land in said Newport, called Easton's Point,
remised, released, and forever quitclaimed” to the United States all their “estate, right, title, interest, quit-rent, rent reserved, property, claim, and demand of, in, and to” the said land; consideration, $133.33.
The files of this office also contain a copy of a quitclaim deed dated August 13, 1853, from David Buffum and others, "overseers of the Rhode Island Monthly Meeting of Friends," to Mrs. Agatha B. Mayer, for the site of Fort Greene; consideration, $200.
It would appear that the deed of Mitchell and others to the United States in 1823, if the uncertified copy on file is correct, secured a title to the General Government, but the lease executed by Capt. George Dutton, of the Corps of Engineers, by direction of the Secretary of War, in November, 1853, to Mrs. Agatha B. Mayer, to which reference is made by Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot, provided for the payment annually to the proprietors of Easton's Point, in Newport, R. I., three ounces and twelve pennyweights of coined silver upon each pair or each two lots of 50 feet front each," &c.
I concur in the opinion expressed by Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot, that the site of Fort Greene should not be sold by the United States, but should be turned over to the city of Newport, for use as a public park, as contemplated by the Senate resolution, to be retained by the city during the pleasure of the Secretary of War, under such conditions as he may deem best to impose.
From the papers on file in this office it does not appear that the opinion of any law officer of the Government upon the title has ever been sought or obtained. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN NEWTON, Chief of Engineers, Brig. and But. Maj. Gen. Hon. ROBERT T. LINCOLN,
Secretary of War.
REPORT OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GEORGE H. ELLIOT, CORPS OF
ENGINEER OFFICE, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Newport, R. I., January 15, 1885. GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of the following resolution of the Senate of the United States:
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
January 9, 1985. Resolved, That the Secretary of War be, and that he hereby is, directed to report without unnecessary delay to the Senate, whether any private person is in the possession and occupation of Fort Greene, in Newport, R. I., belonging to the United States; and, if so, under what authority does such person hold the same; whether the said Fort Greene is of any present use to the Government of the United States; and, if not, will the United States probably have any future use for the said fort; and if there is no presint or prospective use for the said fort, whether or not the same ought not to be sold, and the proceeds thereof be covered into the Treasury of the United States ; and if the said Fort Greene is not of any present use to the United States, but will probably be of use thereto hereafter, whether the said Fort Greene may not well be committed to the care and custody of the city of Newport, to be by the said city used as a public park until further action of ongress or of the Secretary of War is had in reference thereto.
In compliance with the direction contained in the letter inclosing the above resolution, I beg leave to submit the following report:
Fort Greene is situated on wbat was formerly known as North (also Easton's) Point, on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, just above the barbor of Newport and within the city limits. It is a semicircular earthen battery, with a masonry scarp on the water front. This scarp, which is of rubble-stone laid in mortar, and about 20 feet high above the beach, is in fair condition except on the northern flank, where it is somewhat broken. The parapet, which has a development of about 240 feet, is about 20 feet thick; the terre-plein is about 15 feet wide, and the parade is in area about 200 feet by 60 feet. The height of the parapet over the level of the parade is about 8 feet. There is a magazine under the parapet of the left flank of the battery.
The land belonging to the work, which is bounded by Washington street on the east, Battery and Pine streets on the north and south, and the bay on the west, comprises four lots, each 50 feet front on the bay and about 100 feet deep. The entire area is therefore about 20,000 square feet.
There is a good fence around it on the land sides and the parapet; the terre-plein and the parade are covered with turf and have been neatly kept.
The United States holds the land by virtue of two separate deeds of conreyance from Samuel and William V. King to John Adams, Pres. ident of the United States, dated the 29th August, 1799, the consideration being the payment to each of said persons the sum of $80, and "three ounces and twelve pennyweights of coined silver upon each pair or each two lots of 50 feet front each, payable annually on the 25th day of March, in each year, to the proprietors of Easton's Point, in Newport, R. I., of whom the said land has been holden by the grantors of the United States, and those whose estate they have, of the manner of fee farm and common socage, by fealty only in lieu of all services."
On the 22d of November, 1853, Capt. George Dutton, of the Corps of Engineers, United States Ariny, acting under the authority of Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, leased the land to Agatha B. Mayer, wife of Edward Mayer, her executors, administrators, and assigns, until required by the Secretary of War to restore the same, in consideration of her paying to the proprietors of Easton's Point the annual rents reserved in the two deeds before mentioned and to the United States the sum of $12 on the 1st of September annually.
The lease also provides that the premisesShall be preserved at all times free from depredation and violence, and from all excaration and embankment, or tearing down or demolishing, and that the said premises shall not be built upon during the continuance of this lease, and that the right conferred by this lease shall not be transferred without the consent of the United States previonsly obtained, and that whenever require 1 by the Secretary of War, the same shall forth with be restored to the United States; and furthermore, that the said premises shall at all times be subject to inspection by the United States by their au