Page images

It is apparent that experiments should be made to test the eff of the new batteries and new modes of mounting projected for cl of guns so novel to our service. Such trial batteries can be place sites already selected for the permanent defense of New York Ha and they will thus become at once available for use in war. It is t fore recommended that the first funds granted be applied to cons ing one two-gun lift battery and one sixteen-mortar battery. The mated cost of the former is $310,000, and of the latter (including flanking arrangements) $200,000.


Lieut. Col. Peter C. Hains, Corps of Engineers, in charge.

The construction of this wharf was provided for by the act m provision for the sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year ending June 30, 1887. The original appropriation was $10 By act approved August 10, 1888, an additional appropriati $75,000 was made for the purpose of enlarging the wharf then in c of construction. In accordance with the said act the plans o wharf were changed, the principal items being the addition of 42 t its length and 28 feet to its width. A wooden fender system wa adopted. The officer in charge reports that at the close of the year 1889 the work was well advanced toward completion. Abo the iron piles were in place, and the flooring was laid on abou half of the wharf.

July 1, 1888, amount available....

Amount appropriated by act of August 10, 1888..

July 1, 1889, amount expended during fiscal year, exclusive

of liabilities outstanding July 1, 1888..

July 1, 1889, amount covered by existing contracts..

July 1, 1889, outstanding liabilities....

July 1, 1889, balance available...

(See Appendix 2 A.)




$73, 626. €9
54, 277.36



Lieut. Col. Peter C. Hains, Corps of Engineers, in charge.

By the act making appropriations for the sundry civil expen the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1890, an appi tion of $20,000 was made for the construction of an iron bridge Mill Creek at Fort Monroe, Va. The work was assigned to the cha Lieutenant-Colonel Hains, who prepared plans and specification advertised for proposals to be opened July 25, 1889.

Amount appropriated by act of March 2, 1889..
July 1, 1889, balance available...

(See Appendix 2 B.)




Officer in command, Lieut. Col. W. R. King, Corps of Enginee


At the close of the fiscal year the garrison consisted of 26 cc sioned officers and 393 enlisted men.

The improvements made during the year have been only such as could be made with very small allotments of funds available, supplemented by the labor of the garrison.

Brick sidewalks have been laid, wagon roads repaired and graded, a suitable gateway erected at the entrance to the post. The old hospital has been converted into a suitable building for headquarters, and the old headquarters building into four sets of quarters for unmarried officers. The fence around the post cemetery has been completed. The laboratory for enlisted men has been rebuilt. A post canteen and a combined mess for enlisted men has been established, and the target range has been improved and extended.

The improvements recommended are new barracks and mess building for enlisted men; (in this connection attention is earnestly invited to the necessity for new barracks as a sanitary measure, as set forth in the report of Lieut. Col. W. R. King, Corps of Engineers, commanding the post-see Appendix 3;) a suitable building for quartermaster's and commissary stores, including coal bins, etc., and the lighting of the barracks and grounds by electricity; the cleaning out of the ditch or lagoon bordering the post, and the walling in of the ice pond so as to prevent surface water from washing impurities into it.

As this post is one of the largest on the coast it should be made worthy of the place it occupies at the entrance to our greatest sea-port.


During the year five engineer officers and two artillery officers completed the course, and eight artillery and infantry officers, who have completed the laboratory duty, are still engaged in the practice work of planting and operating torpedoes, which it is expected will be completed on the 1st of October, 1889.

The plan of detailing infantry as well as artillery officers works well, and it is recommended that it be continued, and that the course be extended to the 1st of October, instead of terminating on the 1st of July, as heretofore, thus giving ten months to the course instead of seven. Every effort has been made to introduce practical methods of instruc tion wherever it can be done, and it is believed that officers of industrious habits and fair intelligence can acquire a useful knowledge of the uses of electricity and high explosives, and their application to the torpedo service, even if they have not had the benefit of a thorough scientific education.


The legal strength of the Battalion of the Corps of Engineers is five companies of 150 men each, with a sergeant-major and quartermastersergeant, and it is officered by details from the commissioned officers of the Corps.

The present strength is 17 officers and 404 enlisted men.

The authorized strength of Companies A, B, and C, which are sta tioned at Willets Point, is 133 men each, and of Company E, stationed at West Point, 100 men, an increase of 50 men having been authorized June 13, 1889.

The total losses from all causes during the year have been 122, and the total gains 138, making a net increase of 16 men.

The battalion has been employed during the year at engineer, ponton, and torpedo drill, infantry drill, rifle practice, photography, and Company E, at West Point, has assisted in the instruction of cadets in military engineering and ponton drill.

A detachment of 3 officers and 68 enlisted men from this post and 1 officer and 30 men from West Point was ordered to Johnstown, Pa., on the 5th of June for the purpose of building ponton and trestle bridges to replace, temporarily, those swept away by the great flood which had devastated that region. A portion of the detachment was relieved on the 17th of June, but the balance was still on that duty at the close of the fiscal year.


The soldiers' laboratory, for which an appropriation of $6,500 had been made, was completed, furnished with benches, tool-boxes, etc., and occupied, as was also an addition to this building for engines and boilers and dynamos employed in connection with the fish torpedo and search lights. The steamer Bushnell was hauled out on the ways and is undergoing thorough repairs and changes necessary to adapt her to the needs of the torpedo service. The officers' laboratory has been repainted and other minor repairs to buildings and property have been made.

The new building for engineer models, etc., for which an appropriation of $8,000 was made at the last session of Congress, will soon be under way. Instruments have been received (by purchase and transfer), repaired, and issued as the necessities of the service and the funds available would admit.

As there was no appropriation available for torpedo experiments until November last, but little work in that line could be accomplished. Some few experiments were made, however, with explosives, building materials, and with a new motor in Sims' fish torpedo, an account of which will be found in the report of the officer in charge. A board of officers to witness and report on the test of the Patrick auto-mobile controllable torpedo was appointed in June, 1888, and the test took place before the board in July. The report appears as Appendix 4. The conclusion of the Board is that this torpedo is worthy of consideration and trial when funds become available.


Congress appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1889, for engineer depot at Willets Point, N. Y

$18,000. 00

Of this there has been expended and pledged..
Congress appropriated (act of September 22, 1888) for torpedoes for har-
bor defense....



And of this there has been assigned to the commanding officer at Willets


Of this there has been expended and pledged.


Appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1890, for engineer depot at Willets Point, N. Y


For continuing torpedo experiments...

Congress appropriated under the general title “Torpedoes for Harbor Defense" for purchase of submarine mines and the necessary appliances, by act of March 2, 1889, the sum of..

For mining casemate at Willets Point, N. Y., "Allotment "

There will be required for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1891–

[blocks in formation]

For purchase and repair of instruments..

For purchase and binding of professional works for the library.


$5,000.00 1,500.00 2,500. 00 500.00


250,000.00 30,000.00 25, 000. 00

(See Appendix 3.)


The funds with which the works for the improvement of rivers and harbors were prosecuted during the last fiscal year were derived from the appropriations by the act of August 11, 1888, and such balances of former appropriations as were available. No appropriation for these works was made at the last session of Congress.

A brief statement, derived from the reports of the officers in charge of the several works hereinafter given, sets forth the condition of each improvement, the extent of work performed during the last fiscal year, the amount expended, and, in compliance with the provisions of the river and harbor acts approved June 23, 1866, and March 2, 1867, an estimate of the amount required for its completion, and of the amount that can be profitably expended in the next fiscal year.

In the preparation of these estimates regard is necessarily had, as a general rule, to the more intimate acquaintance of the engineer officer in charge with the requirements of each locality; the estimates have, however, been carefully revised and amended in this office when deemed advisable, the most economical administration of the works being considered as well as the average of the appropriations made by Congress for each work during the past few years.

Reports are also appended of the work accomplished in the removal of wrecks obstructing or endangering navigation, as provided for in section 4 of the river and harbor act approved June 14, 1880, and enlarged by provision in the river and harbor act of August 2, 1882.

Reports upon the examinations and surveys provided for in the river and harbor act of August 11, 1888, so far as the work has been done, will be found appended to this report, and the remaining reports will be submitted from time to time as soon as possible after the execution of the work, for transmittal to Congress at its ensuing session.

Under the authority given to the Secretary of War in section 12 of the river and harbor act of August 11, 1888, harbor lines have been established at the following localities: Boston, Mass.; New York, East River between Fifty-ninth and Sixty-fourth streets, New York City; Staten Island, New York; Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va.; Savannah and Brunswick, Ga., and Marquette, Mich., of which details are given fur ther on in this report.

The above section provides that beyond such established lines "no piers or wharves shall be extended or deposits made except under such regulations as may be prescribed from time to time by him." As no penalties are prescribed for the violation of this law it is recommended that the attention of Congress be called to the omission with a view to securing the necessary legislation.

Examinations were made whenever required by committees of Congress of proposed bills authorizing the construction of bridges upon which the views of the War Department were desired. Of the bills so examined since my last report to the close of the last session of Congress fourteen originated in the Senate and nine in the House of Representatives.

Examinations were made during the fiscal year of such plans and locations as were submitted by parties interested of bridges proposed to be built over navigable waters subject to the approval of the Secre tary of War. A brief statement is given of the action had in such


Reports made in compliance with the requirements of section 2 of the river and harbor act of July 5, 1884, and section 4 of that of August

5, 1886, of instances where bridges, causeways, or other structures erected or in process of erection do or will interfere with free and safe navigation, and also of instances in which piers, breakwaters, or other works built by the United States in aid of commerce or navigation are injured by a corporation or an individual will be found in appendixes X X and Y Y, respectively.

The engineering works in charge of this office have been divided into five divisions, and officers of the corps assigned as division engineers to overlook the work, as follows:

West of the Rocky Mountains: Pacific Division, Colonel Geo. H. Mendell. East of the Rocky Mountains: Northeast Division, Colonel Henry L. Abbot; Southeast Division, Colonel Wm. P. Craighill; Southwest Division, Colonel Cyrus B. Comstock; and Northwest Division, Colonel Orlando M. Poe.

This arrangement for the execution and supervision of the work of the Corps of Engineers is authorized by the new regulations, approved by the Secretary of War February 4, 1889.

Attention is invited to the necessity for legislation to prevent the obstruction of navigable waters, and to protect public works against trespass or injury. Senate bill No. 27, Fiftieth Congress, first session, which passed the Senate March 22, 1888, with a slight addition to section 5, and an additional section relative to liability of vessels, would, it is believed, accomplish the purpose, and it is recommended that Congress be requested to give the matter early consideration. The following is a copy of the bill, with proposed additions in italics:

AN ACT to prevent the obstruction of navigable waters and to protect public works against trespass or injury.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall not be lawful to cast, throw, empty, or unlade, or cause, suffer, or procure to be cast, thrown, emptied, or unladen, either from or out of any ship, vessel, lighter, barge, boat, or other craft, or from the shore, pier, wharf, furnace, manufacturing establishments, or mills of any kind whatever, any ballast, stone, slate, gravel, earth, rubbish, wreck, filth, slabs, edgings, sawdust, slag, cinders, ashes, refuse, or other waste of any kind, into any port, road, roadstead, harbor, haven, navigable rivers, or navigable waters of the United States which shall tend to impede or obstruct navigation, or to deposit or place or cause, suffer, or procure to be deposited or placed, any ballast, stone, slate, gravel, earth, rubbish, wreck, filth, slabs, edgings, sawdust, or other waste in any place or situation on the bank of any navigable waters where the same shall be liable to be washed into such navigable waters, either by ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or obstructed: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to the casting out, unlading, or throwing out of any ship or vessel, lighter, barge, boat, or other craft any stones, rocks, bricks, lime, or other materials used, or to be used, in or toward the building, repairing, or keeping in repair any quay, pier, wharf, weir, bridge, building, or other work lawfully erected or to be erected on the banks or sides of any port, harbor, haven, channel, or navigable river, or to the casting out, unlading, or depositing of any material excavated for the improvement of navigable waters into such places and in such manner as may be deemed by the United States officer supervising said improvement most judicious and practicable and for the best interests of such improvements, or to prevent the depositing of any substance above mentioned under a permit from the Secretary of War, which he is hereby authorized to grant, in any place designated by him where navigation will not be obstructed thereby.

SEC. 2. That it shall not be lawful to build any wharf, pier, dolphin, boom, dam weir, breakwater, bulkhead, jetty, or other structure outside established harbor-lines without the permission of the Secretary of War in any port, roadstead, haven, harbor, navigable river, or other waters of the United States in such manner as shall obstruct or impair navigation, commerce, or anchorage of said waters; and it shall not be lawful hereafter to commence the construction of any bridge, bridge-draw, bridge piers and abutments, causeway, or other works over or in any port, road, roadstead, haven, harbor, navigable river, or navigable waters of the United States, under any act of the legislative assembly of any State, until the location and plan of such bridge have

« PreviousContinue »