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UNITED STATES ARMY, Washington, D. C., September 23, 1891.

SIR: I have the honor to present for your information the following report upon the duties and operations of the Engineer Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1891:


The number of officers holding commissions in the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, at the end of the fiscal year was 113.

Since the last annual report the corps has lost three of its officers, Capt. Frederick A. Hinman, by retirement, February 26, 1891, in conformity with section 1251, Revised Statutes; Capt. Willard Young and Lieut. Eugene J. Spencer, by resignation, February 22, 1831, and August 12, 1890, respectively.

On the 30th of June, 1891, the officers were distributed as follows: Commanding the Corps of Engineers and the Engineer Department Office of the Chief of Engineers..



Board of Engineers, fortifications, river and harbor works, and Division Engineer. Board of Engineers, Board of Ordnance and Fortification, and Division Engineer. Fortifications, river and harbor works, and Division Engineers..

Board of Engineers, Mississippi River Commission, Division Engineer, and Board of Visitors


Board of Engineers, fortifications, river and harbor works, and Board of Visitors. Washington Aqueduct


River and harbor works


Fortifications, and river and harbor works..........


Mississippi River Commission and Missouri River Commission..


Fortifications, Post of Willets Point, U. S. Engineer School, and Batallion of Engineers


River and harbor works, and Missouri River Commission


Public buildings and grounds, Mississippi River Commission, and Missouri River Commission

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Detached, with Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, at Military Academy, with Light-House Establishment, and as military attachés......



The officers detached were on duty as follows:

Lieut. Col. Henry M. Robert, Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia
Lieut. Col. John M. Wilson, Superintendent Military Academy.
Maj. David P. Heap, engineer third light-house district...

Maj. William S. Stanton, engineer first and second light-house districts...
Maj. James C. Post, military attaché to the United States legation at London...
Capt. John C. Mallery, engineer fifth and sixth light-house districts...
Capt. Frederick A. Mahan, engineer fourth light-house district, and, temporarily,
engineer secretary of the Light-House Board ...

Capts. William T. Rossell and James L. Lusk, assistants to the Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia

Capt. George McC. Derby, and Lieuts. Eugene W. VanC. Lucas and Charles H. McKinstry, on duty with Company E, Battalion of Engineers, and at Military Academy

Capt. Theodore A. Bingham, military attaché to the United States legation at Berlin








Lieuts. Harry F. Hodges, Lansing H. Beach, and Joseph E. Kuhn, on duty at Military Academy


In section 3 of the act of October 1, 1890, " An act to provide for the examination of certain officers of the Army and to regulate promotions therein," occurs this proviso:

That the examination of officers appointed in the Army from civil life, or of officers who were officers of volunteers only, or were officers of the militia of the several States called into the service of the United States, or were enlisted men in the regular or volunteer service, either in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, during the war of the rebellion, shall be conducted by boards composed entirely of officers who were appointed from civil life or of officers who were officers of volunteers only during said war, and such examination shall relate to fitness for practical service and not to technical and scientific knowledge; and in case of failure of any such officer on the reexamination hereinbefore provided for, he shall be placed upon the retired list of the Army.

All officers of the Corps of Engineers who are affected by this proviso were appointed cadets at the United States Military Academy, and graduated there, subsequently to their service during the war of the rebellion. They have all, since graduation, served more than 20 years on the various duties committed to the Corps of Engineers; all have attained the grade of captain and have passed examinations for promotion to the grades successively of first lieutenant and captain.

These officers should be able to pass a satisfactory examination on the technical and scientific knowledge required to discharge the duties of an officer of the Corps of Engineers.

It is recommended that officers of the Corps of Engineers be excepted from the provisions of this third section, above quoted, and that the examination of an officer of the Corps of Engineers as to professional efficiency shall be by the legal board upon which there shall be three officers of engineers, senior to him in rank, the former requirement of Revised Statutes section 1206.


For 15 years prior to August 18, 1890, no appropriations had been made for the construction of works of seacoast defense. In this period great advances have been made in the construction of ordnance; and the increased power developed rendered necessary works of increased resistance to projectiles. In the naval ordnance of foreign powers are to be found guns of 100 and 110 tons, mounted in vessels belonging to Great Britain and Italy. The existence of this ordnance afloat necessi tates a certain corresponding resistance of works of defense, a corre

sponding thickness of cover. It is not probable that a further increase of cover will be required. Already the substitution of 67-ton guus for those of 110 tons is seriously discussed, and the tendency on the part of foreign powers is toward the adoption of the gun of lesser weight for its heaviest caliber afloat. The time, then, is propitious for the construction of modern fortifications. General projects for the defense of Portland, Me., Boston, New York, Washington, Hampton Roads, and San Francisco, have been prepared and have received the approval of the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War, and under the appropriations of August 18, 1890, and February 24, 1891, $1,221,000 and $750,000, respectively, works have been commenced in furnishing emplacements for high-power guns.

The act of August 18, 1890, requires that the amount appropriated thereby should be applied as follows: Boston, $235,000; New York, $726,000; San Francisco, $260,000. Of these amounts there remain soon to be allotted, on the receipt of detailed projects, amounts as follows: Boston, $63,960.73; San Francisco, $59,000.

Of the appropriation of February 24, 1891, the following allotments have been made: To the defenses of New York, $285,349.25; Hampton Roads, $158,848; Washington, $117,150; and San Francisco, $15,000. A balance of $173,652.75 remains, which will shortly be allotted to works at Boston and San Francisco, upon the receipt of detailed projects in course of preparation. Details of the works contemplated and in course of construction under the allotments from both appropriations are given below.

While the general projects prepared contemplate the use of turrets, shields, barbette batteries, and mortar batteries, the works now under construction are barbette batteries, including those in which guns are mounted on lifts, and mortar batteries. No works which contemplate the use of iron are now being built, but concrete covered with sand is used to shield the armament and gunners, and the disappearing principle of mounting guns has generally been had in view in designing batteries.

For the construction of gun and mortar batteries an estimate of $2,647,000 is submitted. This amount, with appropriations already made, will be required to supply emplacements for only such armament as will be fabricated by January 1, 1894. To prepare emplacements for the armament to be completed by January 1, 1893, an estimate of $1,735,000 was submitted; as $750,000 only was appropriated, the present estimate necessarily greatly exceeds the amount of the last appropriation.

The last Congress appropriated $1,000,000 for the procurement of land, or right pertaining thereto, needed as sites for fortifications and coast defeuses. The act of August 18, 1890, authorized the acquisition of such sites by condemnation, purchase, or donation; $343,692.74 has been allotted and $250,000 so far expended for the purchase of 511⁄2 acres in Boston Harbor, 361 acres in New York Harbor, and 200 acres at Sheridans Point, on the Potomac River near Fort Washington; and for the expenses preliminary to the condemnation of other sites. The Department of Justice has been requested to institute proceedings for the condemnation of 167 acres in New York Harbor, 54 acres at San Francisco, 91 acres at Sheridans Point, and 44 acres at Hampton Roads; and for a site of 50 acres at Plumb Island, New York, an award bas been made. In this case land valued by the United States at $50,000, and by the owner at $150,000, was valued by the jury at $90,000. Judging from this isolated case the existing balance of appropriations

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