Page images



the receipts and expenditures during the period of reduced tolls, i. e., from June 10 to December 31, 1874, and the condition of the canal at the close of the year.

In compliance with the provisions of the act approved June 22, 1874, authorizing the construction of a substantial iron and masonry bridge and of a causeway across the Anacostia, or Eastern Branch of the Potomac River, at or near the site of the present Navy-Yard bridge, a contract has been entered into with responsible parties for the construction and completion of the said bridge.

An act approved June 22, 1874, provided for the appointment of a commission of engineers to investigate a permanent plan for the reclamation of the alluvial basin of the Mississippi River subject to inundation. The commission has been organized, and the members are now engaged upon the investigation and collection of the data necessary to the preparation of a full report.

The amounts appropriated by the river and harbor act of June 23, 1874, are applied to the specific objects therein designated. Detailed information in regard to the condition of each work of improvement, and the progress made in the surveys provided for in the act, may be found in the report of the Chief of Engineers.

The surveys upon which to base estimates for the improvements recommended by the Senate Select Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, including that for the extension of the Cheaspeake and Ohio Canal, are now in progress.

The board of engineers provided for in the third section of the act has been organized, and the members are now engaged upon the inves tigations, examinations, and surveys necessary to the preparation of a report upon the best method of obtaining and maintaining a depth of water sufficient for commercial and military purposes, either by canal from the Mississippi River to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or by deepening one or more of the natural outlets of the river.

The survey of the lakes has been carried on during the year with its accustomed energy and success. The connection of the triangulation of Lakes Superior and Michigan, the in-shore and off-shore hydrography and topography, have been finished; the Wisconsin triangulation has been carried southward to the vicinity of Chicago, and the Keweenaw base has been measured. The surveys of the Detroit River and river Saint Lawrence from the forty-fifth parallel have been completed, and a map of the lower half of the former has been published; the determination of several points in the interior of Michigan has been made in aid of surveys by the State; the survey of Lake Ontario has been commenced, and much of the field-work has been reduced. The preparation of Chart No. 1 of the Saint Lawrence, of Sandusky Harbor, and of the mouth of the Detroit River, has been completed, and they are now in the hands of the engravers. The need of the vigorous prosecution of this important survey is shown by the number of copies of the various finished charts called for now, from five to six thousand copies a year, and by the constant demand for charts not yet completed. It has been stated that a single survey made last year, viz, the survey of the mouth of the Detroit River, will save from $50,000 to $100,000 to commerce this year.

The labors of the party engaged on the geological exploration of the fortieth parallel have been mainly directed during the last year to the preparation of the report and accompanying illustrations. The topographical maps, all of which have been completed, have been put into the bands of an engraver, and the preliminary work for the report, con

sisting of chemical, paleontological, and microscopic studies, has been carried on with success. Microscopic researches are also being made with a promise of identifying American rocks with well-known types in Europe. It is confidently expected that the reports of this important survey will be brought to a close within the present fiscal year.

The geographical surveys and explorations west of the one hundredth meridian in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana, have been carried on successfully since my last report. At the commencement of the fiscal year the three main parties engaged in this work had left their rendezvous at Salt Lake, Utah, Denver, Colorado, and Santa Fé, New Mexico. They moved south into Arizona, connecting with the work of former years, and covering during the surveying season about 75,000 square miles of territory. In addition to its topographical work proper, the survey embraced the fixing of many points astronomically, and investigations in geology, mineralogy, natural history, and the natural resources of the country traversed. It is expected that a large part of the results of this survey will be ready for the press during the coming year.

The officers of the Corps of Engineers who have been attached to the headquarters of the military divisions and departments into which the United States is divided have been engaged during the past year in reconnaissances and explorations, in the collection of geographical and topographical information required by their commanding generals and for the compilation of the map engraved and distributed by the Engineer Department. Facilities have been furnished through these officers to most of the interior posts for the plotting of the routes of scouting and other military journeys, and an increased interest appears to have been taken by the officers and men in adding to our present knowledge of the interior of the continent, as is evidenced by the fact that in one of the departments-the Department of the Missouri-23,000 miles have been covered by the military journals and sketches during the last year, while in the preceding year there were but 9,000 miles recorded in the department. Among the more important results during the last year may be mentioned the discovery of a new wagon-route from the line of the Union Pacific Railway to the Yellowstone Park and Montana; a reconnaissance in the country of the Ute tribe of Indians; the construction of a wagon-road from Santa Fé to Taos, New Mexico, and a survey of the Black Hills of Dakota by the engineer officers attached to the military expedition which was sent into that interesting country during the summer of 1874.

The commission of two engineer officers and one coast-survey officer, organized under the act of Congress approved March 3, 1873, for the purpose of examining and reporting upon a system of irrigation of the San Joaquin, Tulare, and Sacramento Valleys, have completed their investigations and have made their report, the principal points of which are referred to in the report of the Chief of Engineers.

The estimates of the Chief of Engineers are submitted separately, as presented by that officer, viz:

Fortifications and other works of defense.

Public buildings and grounds, and Washington aqueduct.


Engineer depot at Willet's Point, New York.

Office expenses...

Improvement of rivers and harbors.


[blocks in formation]




1 E

« PreviousContinue »