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propriety in holding officers of the line, as they are termed, accountable for the non-performance of their duty on the part of those over whom they have no control, and the especial business of whom it is to take charge of, and account for the property of the government committed to their keeping, under the penalty of their bonds.
Entertaining these opinions, your committee respectfully recommend the passage of the accompanying bill.
IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
JANUARY 28, 1850.
Mr. NORRIS made the following
[To accompany bill S. No. 78.]
The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred the petition of Brevet
Major H. L. Kondrick, report:
That the evidence seems to establish the following facts: Major Ken. drick was ordered by General Worth, about the middle of June, 1848, to sell certain ordnance and ordnance stores, property of the United States, at Puebla, in Mexico. He made the sales, and was charged with the transportation of the money received, it being silver, to Vera Cruz. He put the money into wooden boxes strongly made, and placed them on board iwo wagons, over which he placed a special guard; and, the more effectually to insure the safety of the money, he ordered Corporal W. J. Dickson, who had been doing duty in the ordnance department, both at Puebla and on the march, in addition to the guard, to watch the specie wagons, and to sleep in one of them. While the command was at Jalapa, on the march to Vera Cruz, on the night of the 6th of July, 1848, one of the specie boxes was pried open, and $1,294 66 stolen from it. On the same night, said Dickson, who up to that time had sustained a trustworthy character, deserted the service under circumstances leaving no reasonable doubt of his having taken the money. It appears Major Kendrick was unable to obtain iron chests at Puebla for the transportation of the money, and was obliged to make use of the wooden boxes. The boxes were too large to be placed in the tent, and admit its use for other purposes. The wagons were placed only ten or twelve yards from the tent, and in full view of it. The special guard was at all times kept over them. Major Kendrick frequently visited the wagons, giving and repeating orders calculated to make the guard vigilant and watchful. He never left the camp except on duty, and never without calling the attention of Lieutenant Totten (the only subaltern in the company) and the guard to be particularly watchful of these wagons. He seems to have used all reasonable efforts for the apprehension of the thief and the recovery of the money. The said Dickson, prior to this act, had been deemed by the officers and noncommissioned officers of the company honest and faithful.
From all the evidence, the committee are of opinion that the money was actually stolen as alleged, and that the loss was not attributable to any neglect of duty or want of care on the part of the memorialist. They herefore report the accompanying bill for his relief.
IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
JANUARY 28, 1850.
Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, made the following
[To accompany bill S. No. 80.]
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the resolution
instructing inquiry "into the expediency of making an appropriation for the erection of a fortification on Dauphin island, in the bay of Mobile, and also Ship island, or either of them,” report :
That Congress made an appropriation for the construction of defensive works on Dauphin island August 8, 1846; that measures were promptly taken to obtain for the United States a title to the sit and that the evidence of title, believed to be complete, was submitted to the Attorney General of the United States in November, 1848.
By joint resolution of Congress of September 11, 1841, it is required that the Attorney General shall have decided the title of the United States to the site to be complete before expenditures on fortifications, &c., shall be made. We are informed by the chief of engineers (General Totten) that the preliminary steps have been taken, and that the contemplated fort on Dauphin island will be commenced as soon as the decision of the Attorney General shall enable him to do so conformably to the above joint resolution of 1841. Though relieved from the necessity of making further inquiry or report in relation to Dauphin island by the fact of an existing appropriation, the committee will state that recent explorations show a greater depth of water in the entrance to Mobile harbor than was believed to exist at the date of the appropriation, which, equally increasing the importance of the harbor and its exposure to attack, strongly enforces the propriety of that appropriation, and urges the necessity of an early fortification of Dauphin island, such as shall be adequate to the command of the entrance and the protection of the anchorage.
Upon the second branch of the resolution, that relating to Ship island, the committee find that a board of engineers was appointed to examine the coast of Mississippi, and the islands and harbors lying off the same, from the Malhereux to Dauphin islands, with a view to their defence, and that of the inland navigation between New Orleans and Mobile bay. The board reported April 24, 1846, and recommended as a measure of defence the employment of light draught war steamers and the establishment of coal depots “at Fort Pike and Dauphin island, and an additional fortified depot at Ship island for coal and naval supplies.” Again: the board recommend the establishment of a fortified depot, at which steamers employed in protecting the in!and navigation could (say the board) “ be readily supplied with coal, provisions, &c.; at the same time to afford similar supplies to the larger steamers cruising in the gulf. Such a point would combine centrality with a good harbor, facility of wharfage, and ample room for works of defence to the harbor and anchorage. Upon a full consideration of all the points on the coast, the west end of Ship island appears to afford all these advantages to a greater degree than any other, and the board therefore recommend this point to the consideration of the Engineer department, and that it should be occupied after the usual survey shall have been made, with such fixtures of defence and accommodation as may be deemed necessary to the accomplishment of the objects proposed.
The broad sheet of water which lies between the coast of Mississippi and the chain of islands parallel to it, is the channel of a commerce important in peace and indispensable in war. Through this passes the inland navigation which connects New Orleans and Mobile. This is the route of the mails and of a large part of the travel between the eastern and southwestern sections of the Union. Through this channel supplies for the naval station at Pensacola are most readily drawn from the great storehouse, the valley of the Mississippi, and its importance in this respect would be increased in a two-fold degree by the contingency of a maritime war : first, because a war would increase the requisite amount of supplies at that station; and, secondly, because it would greatly augment the difficulties of the more extended and exposed lines of communication by exterior navigation. These considerations, of sufficient im. portance to determine the expediency of making whatever appropriations might be necessary to secure the navigation of this channel, connect themselves with one of not less magnitude, that of the defence of New Orleans from investment or assault. In this channel, sheltered from storm by the islands which cover it, British shipping found safe anchorage, and a British army easy debarkation, when advancing through Lake Borgne to the attack of New Orleans. Since that date, 1814, the application of steam to war vessels has rendered this route more available than then, and the small draught to which it has been found practicable to reduce such vessels gives to this approach a new value, and creates an additional claim for its protection.
General Totten, chief of engineers, in a letter to the chairman of the committee, January 14, 1850, says, that for the defence of the passes and protection of this channel, resort must be had to steam cruisers, having shelter at Dauphin and Ship islands. And in the event of a formidable expedition against New Orleans, Mobile, or Pensacola, he offers the opinion, that “fortifications at Dauphin and Ship islands, and the steam force lying under their guns, would prevent any long continued interruption of the communication."
“ In this point of view, the fortification of Ship island becomes very important. But it will have other influences of great moment. This fortified anchorage will stand in the relation of a strong advanced post as to any attack directed against New Orleans through Lake Pontchartrain or Lake Borgne.”
In the same letter he says: “ I will add, as to Ship island, that I should