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WAR DEPARTMENT, November 20, 1876.


The report of the Chief of Engineers states that work has progressed atisfactorily upon our sea-coast defenses, and as much has been accomlished as the limited appropriation would permit. It is recommended hat heavy guns should be mounted in covered positions along the inlets our harbors, as the basis of successful defense, and as being essential o the efficiency of torpedoes as channel obstructions. The trials with torpedoes at Willet's Point have been continued with satisfactory results. As much of the material for the torpedo system cannot be obtained in in emergency, the Chief of Engineers has asked for an appropriation of $150,000 to procure and store such parts of the apparatus as would be immediately required in the event of sudden hostilities.

Works for the improvement of rivers and harbors, and the surveys and examinations connected therewith, have progressed satisfactorily during the fiscal year. The amounts appropriated by the river and harbor act of March 3, 1875, were applied to the specific objects therein. designated. The removal by blasting of a portion of Hallet's Point, in East River, New York, which forms part of the operations in progress for the improvement of the navigation of Hell Gate, was successfully accomplished in September last without accident.

To carry into effect the act of March 3, 1875, for the further security of navigation on the Mississippi, which directed an inquiry to be made of the expense of causing sheer-booms to be placed on the upper end of any or all bridges on the river, for the better security and convenience of navigation, a board of officers of the Corps of Engineers has been constituted, and is now engaged upon the consideration of the subject. Of the amounts appropriated for public works on the rivers and harbors by the act of August 14, 1876, I directed allotments to be made, so as to limit the expenditure for those objects to $2,000,000, and at the same time directed that no new works be begun. This amount has been increased by subsequent allotments to $2,237,600, and the works are now being conducted on that basis.

The various surveys under the Engineer Department have made good progress during the year, although somewhat crippled by small appropriations.

In the elaborate survey of the lakes the field-work on Lake Ontario and the Niagara River has been completed. On Lake Erie the triangu lation has been carried west to Westfield, and the topography and hydrography west to the Welland Canal, in the north, and to Ashtabula on the south shore. Lines of levels have been run from Albany to Oswego, and from Port Dalhousie to Port Colburn. Determinations of latitude and longitude have been made at ten points in aid of State


surveys. Five of the series of detailed charts of the lakes have been completed during the year, and eight charts have been printed and distributed in aid of the great commerce of those waters.

Two volumes of the report of the geological exploration of the fortieth parallel have previously been published and distributed, and the remaining volumes are now ready for the Public Printer, together with copies of the atlas sheets and other illustrations.

In the engineer survey of the Territories west of the one hundredth meridian, progress has been made in Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. Of the report, volumes III and V and part of volume IV have already been printed. Volume II and the second part of volume IV are now ready for the Printer, and the others are in an advanced state of preparation. Seven topographical maps, representing about 17,000 square miles each, and six geological sheets have been published. The examination of the river Colorado, with the design of determining the feasibility of its diversion for purposes of irrigation, has been completed, and the report thereof will be found in the report of the Chief of Engineers. It is hoped that Congress will recognize the desirability of a regular progress of this very useful survey, and will provide ample appropriations for that purpose.

No little embarrassment has been caused during the current year by the failure of the appropriation for surveys by the engineer officers stationed at headquarters of the various military divisions and departments. These officers collect geographical and other information in their own reconnaissances and those of line officers on scouts and campaigns, and have at very little expense produced reports and maps of the highest utility, not only to the commanding generals, but to the public at large. This work is now entirely stopped by the failure of the appropriation and the consequent discharge of draughtsmen and other persons employed. Unless further appropriation is made a large mass of valuable material in the form of notes and sketches, now ready to be incorporated into reports and maps, must remain in its present useless form. It is urgently hoped that the estimate for this work will receive favorable attention from Congress.


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