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The delay occasioned by the sixty days' advertisement required by law, and by the time consumed in making and executing the contracts, caused the commencement of the work by the contractors to be deferred until the advent of the hot months and the beginning of the sickly season on the line.
The consequence has been a very unsatisfactory progress with the work. Men were scarce, hesitating to go upon the line, where they suffered from malarious diseases; and, as the public works of the country were generally in a prosperous condition, they found ample employment elsewhere.
The work carried on by the government was prosecuted with activity until July, when it, too, began to feel the effects of the bad reputation of the work for health.
The financial revulsion of October, stopping most of the railways in course of construction, set free a large number of hands just as the healthy season upon the aqueduct commenced.
Efforts have been made to compel the contractors to take advantage of this supply of labor; and finding that they were deficient in means or energy to make proper provision for an increase of force before the setting in of frost should put a stop to all works of masonry, shanties or boarding houses have been constructed at various points of the line by the government, and the work commenced, with a view of doing a part of it by day's work, and turning it over to the contractors whenever they come forward provided with the force and the means to carry it on without delay.
All this has thrown additional labor upon the engineers, who have been thus compelled to make the preparations for beginning work which ought to have been begun by the contractors
Contractor Decker having failed to collect such a force as would insure the completion of his contracts within a reasonable time, though notified early in March and repeatedly urged during the spring to push his work forward as required by his contract, he was notified, in the beginning of August, that his contract for culverts and for graduation were forfeited.
A force was collected with the least possible delay, but with great difficulty, in the midst of the sickly season, and, by great exertions, the work upon culverts and graduation under his contract has been so far advanced as to give assurance that it will be entirely completed before the setting in of winter.
Work on the tunnels was almost entirely suspended during the summer, owing to the difficulty of inducing miners to work on the line during the hot and unhealthy season. There is now, a large force employed, and all the tunnel headings but one are fully manned.
The present condition of the work is as follows:
A strong force is employed at the Seneca quarry, quarrying and cutting stone for the masonry of the culverts, bridges, waste weirs, dams, &c.
At the Great Falls a small force is employed in moving stone to the dam; and therein excavating at the head of the conduit, and preparing for building the masonry abutments of the dam. A third gang is employed in excavating the deep pit of the gate-house, which is in solid rock.
The portion of the conduit which leads from the entrance on the river, under the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, to the gate-house is completed.
Upon section No. 1 tunnel No. 1 is about one-third finished. Tunnel No. 2 is about one-half excavated.
Below tunnel No. 2, on section No. 1, there are about 1,806, and on section No. 2 about 800 feet of masonry conduit completed.
The culverts from the Great Falls to the District line, twenty-two in number, are all so far completed that the embankments over them have been carried nearly up to grade, except No. 18, which has just been commenced, having been delayed on account of difficulties in obtaining title to the land on which it is built. This title has only lately been perfected, and the culvert which has been begun will be completed this fall.
One culvert in the District of Columbia has been begun, and is nearly completed. Its arch is closed, and the embankment over it is being made.
The other culverts in the District, three in number, are yet untouched, owing to difficulties in obtaining good titles to their sites.
Nearly all the heavy embankments outside of the District of Columhia have been raised within a foot or two of grade; and if Congress will pass a law, much needed, by which lands for the aqueduct can be taken on appraisement within the District, as they were for the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, and have been for the aqueduct itself within the limits and under the law of Maryland, all the embankments can be finished in the course of the spring, and water introduced into the city from the stream which flows into the receiving reservoir in the course of next season.
Without such a law I see no prospect of obtaining title to some tracts of land in which minor heirs are interested, and to certain others where the owners refuse all reasonable prices which have been offered, or where the titles are imperfect on the records.
A law of Congress prohibits the expenditure of money upon any site before the opinion of the Attorney General has been given that the title is good.
Upon the receiving reservoir the contractor, Daniel Stone, is now at work with a considerable force; but he has not made as much progress as was desirable, having suffered from the scarcity of hands during the sickly season. It is expected, however, that he will be able before winter to get in the masonry of the sluice which drains the reservoir; and when this is done, the work of the earthen dam can be carried on in any moderate weather during the winter.
The iron gates for the gate-house at the falls, and for the sluice through the dam of receiving reservoir, and that for the auxiliary pipe vault of the distributing reservoir, have been built and are in store.
A considerable quantity of iron pipes have been delivered under the contract of Messrs. F. W. and F. S. Starr.
The first contractors for bricks have availed themselves of the joint resolution of the 4th of March last, which provided for releasing them from their contract and paying their losses. New contracts for ten millions of bricks were entered into with Mr. Douglas, and a large number of bricks have been purchased from other parties, and delivered along the line of the canal.
As it is evident there will be a great difficulty in procuring a supply of bricks sufficient to carry on the work with vigor next spring, search has been made for quarries of stone suitable for building the conduit. A number of quarries have been found and opened at points convenient to the line, which furnish a material that, with economy, will replace brick in the construction of the conduit.
These quarries will be worked throughout the winter, and when the spring opens a large stock of materials will be on hand. Cement has been ordered from New York, and is being stored along the line as fast as received, in order to have a supply on hand at the opening of the spring, as the season for building begins here before the opening of navigation on the Hudson river permits the shipment of cement.
Bridges Nos. 1 and 2 have been commenced, the foundations laid, abutments built, arches turned, and the superstructure carried up a little above grade. It is probable that they will be finished this fall; if not, they can be completed early in the spring.
At bridge No. 3 a boarding house has been built, the timber for centreing provided, and the foundations have been excavated. Some stone and sand are delivered, but the masonry is not commenced.
At bridge No. 4, over the Cabin John, the centre has been framed, and is now being erected. The excavation for the foundations of the abutments has been nearly completed, and a portion of the foundations will be put in this fall.
The stream has been dammed, and the pool thus formed communicating with the Chesa peake and Ohio canal, permits the large quantity of materials-stone, cement, sand, and timber-brought from a distance to be boated to the site of the bridge, and hoisted from boats directly into the work. This will effect a great economy of time and labor in its construction.
Besides the making of contracts, building of boarding houses, stables, shops, providing of boats, &c., for the accommodation of hands and the transportation of materials, preparatory works for the bridges, &c., which have occupied the greater part of the season, the principal items of work accomplished during the season have been as follows: Rock excavation...
9,963 cubic yds. Earth excavation......
63,135 Earth embankment......
24,293 Stone masonry.
2,128 Bricks laid.
1,267,468 Bricks delivered.....
2,122,169 Sand delivered.......
102,994 bushels. Stone quarried and boated to the vicinity of the work...
1,530 perches. 599 lineal feet of tunnels have been pierced, and
2,741 feet of conduit laid this season.
These quantities are not large; but the appropriation of Congress was made at a time when the work was entirely suspended, and had been so for months. It was necessary to gather and organize a force, to provide materials, and make contracts, which, under the operation of the law of contracts, required about four months.
These delays threw the beginning of the work into the sickly season, and both the government and the contractors had to contend against great difficulties in consequence. It was not until October that a respectable force could be gath red upon the aqueduct, and the work done in this month will probably equal that of any four months since the work was commenced.
During the month of November great progress will be made, should the weather continue favorable.
The right of way has been acquired from the Great Falls to the District line, and for about half the distance from the District line to the distributing reservoir. All the culverts in Maryland are either completed or nearly so; one has been built in the District. Two of the bridges have been nearly completed, and the preparatory works for the other two are finished. All the embankments and excavations over ravines in Maryland have been carried up to within a foot or two of grade, and all will be completed before the close of this season. Six thousand one hundred and four feet of masonry conduit have been completed. Two thousand and thirty-four feet and seven inches of tunnels have been excavated.
A large number of boarding houses, stables, shops, storehouses for cement, &c., have been built. Boats and scows for transportation of materials have been provided ; a large stock of cement is being delivered, and quarries have been opened, from which, during the winter, stone will be taken ouć for the next season's operations; and the whole work is now prepared for a rapid and vigorous prosecution, such as will insure the delivery of water in this city next season, provided means are granted to carry the work on without another of the suspensions which have heretofore cost so much in time and money.
preserve the work already done from injury..... Appropriation of 1857.....
$100,000 00 250,000 00
250,000 00 1,000,000 00
Total appropriations...... Expended to September 30, 1853.. Expended in the year ending September
30, 1854....... Expended in the year ending September
30, 1855 .....
Expended in the year ending September 30, 1856...
... $153,156 08 Expended in the year ending September 30, 1857......
Total expended to 30th September, 1857
Amount remaining on hand 30th September, 1857...... 1,024,425 26 Of which there are belonging to the appropriation for
liabilities and preservation of the work already done from injury, and therefore not applicable to the prosecution of the work.......
Amount available for the prosecution of the work on
the 30th September, 1857 .....
Probable amount to be expended by 30th June, 1858... 805,107 98 Amount required for proper prosecution of the work
during the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1859......... 1,000,000 00 Respectfully submitted.
M. C. MEIGS, Captain of Engineers, in charge of Washington Aqueduct. Brevet Brigadier Gen. J. G. TOTTEN,
All of which is respectfully submitted.
J. G. TOTTEN,
Contract for Graduation. Agreement between Myers, Boston, Massachusetts, Jones and Pratt, of the State of Maine, of the first part, and Captain M. C. Meigs, of the corps of United States engineers, of the second part, acting under the authority of and for and in behalf of the United States of America, as engineer in charge of the Washington aqueduct, witnesseth:
1. That the party of the first part, for and in consideration of the matters hereinafter referred to and set out, covenants and agrees with the party of the second part to clear, grub, muck, excavate, embank, ram, and puddle, and do all other work required for the graduation of sections Nos. 14 and 15, between stations No. 154 and No. 250, upon the profile of the Washington aqueduct, in the engineer's office, as may be necessary to raise the embankment to the grade of the