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shores and bottom of the great northern and northwestern lakes; the bringing to light all hidden dangers to navigation; the furnishing the evidence of the capacity and depth of water in all the harbors and rivers, and consequently the most practicable mode of improving them; the furnishing the evidence of the wants of navigatio.., in reference to light-houses, beacons, and buoys, and the proper sites for the same.”

“This cursory glance at the objects of the survey sets forth the field of usefulness that is covered by it, and the numerous and extensive interests it embraces."

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“For this operation a contract with Theodore D. Barton, of Buffalo, to excavate at 30 cents per cubic yard, was approved by the Secretary of War June 22, 1857. Operations were commenced on the first of July following. They were interrupted by much stormy weather.

"The total amount excavated in the month of July was 14,159 cubic yards, 1,158.5 being the greatest number of yards dredged in one day.

“ In August the excavation amounted to 9,261 cubic yards, 13,670.9 having been the greatest day's work. The material removed consists of course sand, fine sand, and an occasional mixture of clay or mud. A cut, between forty and forty-five feet in width and about fourteen feet in depth, has been excavated entirely through from the river channel to the deep water of the lake.

“ This has caused an increase in the velocity of the current threading the cut. It is desired to complete this channel during the summer of 1858, and the contractor promises to put on the work sufficient machinery to accomplish it. For this purpose an additional appropriation of $23,421 will be required."



“ The plans for these structures have not been approved, and no expenditures will probably be made until the strata, upon which the foundations should rest, have been examined.”

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A contract for this improvement was entered into with Barton and Osgood, and approved by the Secretary of War April 24, 1857.

“ The prices for excavations were

“1. For all earth, such as sand, gravel, stone, or clay, not cemented, the sum of 37 cents per cubic yard.

“ 2. For hard pan, or cemented sand and clay, $1 50 per cubic yard.

"3. For rock measuring above one-half cubic yard, $10 per cubic yard.

“Dredging was commenced July 14 ; the material excavated proved to be partly fine clay, occasionally mixed with sand ; partly sand without clay, and in some places so hard as to be dredged with considerable difficulty. In July the excavated material amounted to 7,226.44 cubic yards; the greatest amount in any one day being 1,036.24 cubic yards.

“In August the best day's work was 1,328.85 cubic yards, and the total removed 13,435.75. The United States sub-agent reports that there remains to be excavated from the extreme west channel about 480,000 cubic yards ; of this there are about 40,000 cubic yards of hard material, for which the contractors will claim a greater price than for the rest. But at 37 cents per cubic yard, an estimate for the completion of the improvement of this channel would be as follows, viz: 480,000 cubic yards of excavation, at 37 cents............ $177,600 00 Improvement of East Neebish rapids, (as per Captain Macomb's estimate).........

9,440 00 Ten per cent, for superintendence and contingencies.... 18,704 00

Tota) .......... Amount on hand

205,744 00 90,282 47

Additional appropriation required ....

115,461 53



The engineer officer in charge of the work reported against the practicability of the scheme, and recommended its abandonment, which was approved by the War Department. The engineer reports :

“ The products of eastern North Carolina mostly find a market through the Dismal Swamp canal, which is too limited in its capacity ; but the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company are now engaged in excavating a canal of larger dimensions, connecting Chesapeake bay with Currituck, Albemarle and Chesapeake and Pamlico sounds, and their tributary streams, which they anticipate completing within the next year, and, when accomplished, will obviate all necessityof a communication with the sea through Nag's Head.”


“The works for the improvement were suggested and recommended by a commission, at the head of which was Professor Bache, of the Coast Survey. They first proposed the protection of Bald Head from further abrasion by jettees, like those at Fort Caswell.'

“2d, is the filling up of the two small openings near New Inlet, about four hundred yards over, and four feet deep in the middle at low water; the other, about two hundred yards over, and two feet deep at low water."

This portion of the work has been accomplished. It was commenced under the direction of Lieutenant Woodbury.

The work was completed under the direction of Lieutenant Whiting, of the corps of engineers.


“3d. A jetty from Zeke’s island to prevent New Inlet from making south.

“4th. Closing up New Inlet.”

The engineer officer in charge recommends “ that New Inlet should be kept open; its bar is equally good as the western bar, and is far more accessible in certain winds than the eastern bar.

" In the event of New Inlet being preserved, it would be necessary to fortify it, which could be done at a far less expense than stop

The engineer recommends“ an appropriation of $25,000 to maintain and extend the works between Zeke's island and Smith's islands."

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The works in progress during the year embraced the improvement of the harbor of Dubuque, of the Rapids of the Mississippi, of Red river at and near the Raft, and of the Ohio river.


The proceedings in reference to this improvement were limited to contracting with the Dubuque Harbor Company to the extent of the unexpended balance of the appropriation ($1,000) for the prosecution of the improvements.


Lieutenant Colonel Long remained in charge of the improvements until relieved by Captain Palmer in December last. Captain Palmer was relieved by Agent Floyd in May last. The improvements have been continued under the contracts of May, 1855.

Two distinct series of waterfalls in the Upper Mississippi are com prised under this head, with a navigable reach of about one hundred and thirty miles connecting them.

The lower series is called Des Moines rapids, and has an extent of about eleven miles ; the upper series is called Rock island rapids, and has an extent of about fourteen miles.

The work of improvement of both rapids was put under contract in 1854. The contract was abandoned by the contractors by reason of the inadequacy of the contract price.

A new contract was effected in 1835, under which the work progressed the last season; the contractor, however, failed to remove as large an amount of rock per month as was required by contract, owing, as is alleged, by the contractors, to cold rains and to rise of water.

During the present season Agent Floyd has been in charge of the improvements. He reports that the work was resumed under the existing contract, but the season has proved unusually backward. “The river has not subsided to low water this season, remaining constantly a foot, or more, higher than the last season, and is now rising, with no probability of low water."



It was proposed to continue the improvement under the appropriation of August 16, 1856, by contract. Bids were accordingly solicited. The prices, per cubic yard of rock to be removed, varied from $5 80 to $12 50. The War Department declined the acceptance of any of the bids offered, and directed that the agent be instructed to prosecute the work by hired labor.

The agent has procured machinery that will work at any stage of water upon the rapids, and at all seasons, except when the river is closed by ice. His report marked K is hereto appended.


The craft and other apparatus belonging to this improvement have been sold.


Two successful efforts have been made during the past year for the improvement of this river; one the removal of the wreck of a steamer from the Point of Rocks below the mouth of the Louisville and Portland canal; the other consisted in the blasting and removal of rocks from the Indiana chute of the falls.


Nothing has been done by the United States towards the improvement of these rivers during the last fiscal year, except so far as relates to the improvement of Des Moines rapids, and of the mouths of the Mississippi.


The work of improvement has been much embarrassed by the insalubrity of the raft district, the difficulty of procuring and retaining laborers, the scarcity and consequent high prices of provisions and labor, and the sickness and desertion of laborers. Agent Fuller in his annual report to Lieutenant Colonel Long, remarks: "The present state of the work is briefly as follows: upwards of three miles of old raft having been removed from Red river and stowed in Dooley's bayou and the small lakes, the route is open, although not completed, from Shreeveport to Coshatta bluff, on Red river, and might be navigated to the upper river were the mile of new raft removed. A cut has been partially made into Dutch John's lake, above the head of this new raft, both for the purpose of stowing raft and avoiding that portion of the river at which this new raft has lodged.

An outlet into the river above Coshatta, and another below this raft, will not only allow the river to pass through the lake, but will give a receptacle for the stowage of several years' run of timber.

The route through Dooley's bayou, the lakes, and Twelve Mile bayou to Shreeveport, although susceptible of navigation, requires much labor to render it safe. A portion thereof, where it crosses Shift Tail lake, and the pass into the head of Soda lake, will need some dredging.'

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The expenses during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1857, were $24,445 82.

The balance remaining unexpended at the same date was $13,040 13. A further appropriation will be required for the completion of this improvement.


The work of improvement consists in the removal of obstructions from the Southwest Pass and the removal of obstructions from the Pas à l'Outre, each of which is to be carried into effect by special contract, which required the opening of both passes of a channel 300 feet wide and 20 feet deep across the tidal bar, in a period of ten months from the date of the contract, to wit: on the 15th September, 1857.

The method of improvement proposed by the contractors contemplated the formation of jettys or lines of piles on both sides of each channel through greater or less distances converging towards each other as they approached the tidal bar. Similar works were to be erected across the outlets of both passes above the convergent lines of piles above mentioned, for the purpose of preventing overflows and compelling them to pass between the jettys.

The contractors have confined their work to the Southwest Pass. No work has been as yet commenced at Pas à l'Outre.

On the 30th of June last the line of piles on the left or southeasterly side of the Southwest Pass had an extent of about 3,200 feet.

Nothing had been done towards the formation of a counter line of piles on the other side of the Pass, or to the blocking up of outlets on either side of the Pass.

The progress of the work has been retarded by unfavorable weather, and large portions of the work have been deranged by storms.

It does not appear that any changes of moment have been produced in the Pass by the operations of the contractors up to the 30th of

June last.


The several works for which appropriations have been made are as follows, viz:

1. Road from Point Douglas to the mouth of St. Louis river.

2. Road from Point Douglas to Fort Ripley.

3. Road from Mendota to Wabashaw.

4. Road from Mendota to the mouth of Big Sioux river.

5. Road from the Falls of St. Anthony to Fort Ridgely.

6. Road from Fort Ripley, via Crow Wing river, to intersect the main road leading to the Red River of the North.

7. Road from Swan river to Long prairie.

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