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James Doyle, for articles, &c., furnished on account of the improvement of Missouri river.......
J. K. Dillingham, for medical attendance on his slave, on account of improvement of Arkansas river...
Thomas Johnson, for labor furnished for the improvement of the Illinois river.......
J. T. Roberts, for extra services on account of the improvement of Arkansas river......
M. D. Dubois, for services as watchman for ditto......
With the exception of the claim first noticed in the foregoing list, the others are supposed to have been predicated upon services rendered and articles furnished under the superintendence of Lieutenant Colonel Johnston; and embrace all the outstanding claims relating to the improvement of the western rivers of which I now have any knowledge.
The claims above enumerated may probably be supported by well authenticated vouchers; and on their presentation for settlement will be forwarded to the bureau for approval prior to their liquidation.
Receipts and expenditures by C. A. Fuller, esq., United States agent for the improvement of Red river at and near the raft: Unexpended balance in the possession of Agent Fuller
on the 1st of July, 1856.. Amount expended during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1857, $108 45 being deducted on account of errors admitted...
Unexpended balance in the hands of Agent Fuller at the commencement of the current fiscal year, beginning July 1, 1857......
Agreeably to the order of the War Department of the 11th December last, before cited, the improvement of Red river, as above, was continued under my charge and supervision.
Receipts and expenditures of Major John G. Floyd, United States. agent for the improvement of the rapids of the upper Mississippi, for the third quarter of 1856, subsequently to which this work was transferred to the charge and supervision of Captain Wm. R. Palmer, agreeably to the order of the 11th December, above cited: Unexpended balance in possession of Agent Floyd on
the 1st of July, 1856.....
Amount expended for the third quarter of 1856, or first quarter of the last fiscal year, $6 74 being deducted on account of error admitted...
Unexpended balance in the hands of Agent Floyd at the end of the first quarter of the last fiscal year..............
Receipts and expenditures by J. C. Jennings, esq., late United States agent for the improvement of the harbor of Dubuque, for the third quarter of 1856, subsequently to which this work was also transferred to the charge and supervision of Captain Wm. R. Palmer, agreeably to the order cited as above:
Unexpended balance in the possession of late Agent
Amount expended for the third quarter of 1856, or first
Unexpended balance in the hands of late Agent Jennings at the end of the first quarter of the last fiscal year, (September 30, 1856)......
In the hands of Agent Fuller, July 1, 1857..
To the balances, as above, remaining in the possession of agents on the dates above mentioned, should be added an unexpended balance of $266 17, remaining in the hands of George A. Dunlap, esq., late United States agent for the improvement of the Illinois river, which still remains to be accounted for.
Recapitulation of balances in the hands of United States agents, remaining to be accounted for.
Agent Floyd, October 1, 1856......
Total of balances to be accounted for by United States agents......
Proceedings and operations in reference to western river improvements during the last fiscal year ending on the 30th day of June, 1857.
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 or near the Raft; and of the Ohio river; the operations, in furtherance of which, prior to the 1st of September, 1856, have been explained with sufficient clearness in my annual report of the date just mentioned.
HARBOR OF DUBUQUE.
The proceedings, &c., in reference to the improvement at this point, prior to the 1st September, have been sufficiently explained in the report just before cited, and in sundry other papers previously submitted. The proceedings alluded to had for their object the preparation and execution of a contract with the Dubuque Harbor Company, by which the United States should be implicated in the prosecution of
the improvement to the extent only of the unexpended balance (about $1,000) of the appropriation for the improvement of the harbor, approved August 30, 1852. The contract was predicated on terms specially prescribed by the War Department, and concluded in due form on the 6th of the same September. A copy of the contract is exhibited in the appendix subjoined hereto.-(See Appendix, Doc. No. 1.)
The superintendence of this improvement was transferred to Captain William R. Palmer, agreeably to the order of the War Department of the 11th December last, before cited.
On surrendering my charge of this improvement, and at the instance of sundry gentlemen of Dubuque, I took occasion to signify my views in reference to the capacity, utility, and importance of the harbor, in a letter addressed to the Hon. George W. Jones, a copy of which is appended to this report. (See Appendix, Doc. No. 2.)
RAPIDS OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
Copious details, in reference to the works on the rapids, have been given in my last annual report, in so far as relates to their progress prior to the date of that paper, (September 1, 1856).
Under this head are comprised two distinct series of waterfalls, in the Upper Mississippi, separated from each other by a navigable reach of about one hundred and twenty-nine miles in extent.
The lower series is called the Des Moines rapids, and has an extent of about eleven miles; the upper series is called the Rock Island rapids, and has an extent of about fourteen miles.
The appropriation of $100,000, approved August 30, 1852, was designed for the improvement of both of these rapids.
Surveys for ascertaining the character and extent of the work to be done under that appropriation were set on foot under my superintendence in 1853, and completed under the superintendence of Colonel J. E. Johnston in 1854.
The work of improvement of both rapids was put under contract by Colonel Johnston early in the year following, at the rate of $5 85 per perch for blasting and removing rocks from the proposed channel
In the latter part of 1854, Messrs. Swan & Co., the contractors, abandoned the work by reason of the inadequacy of the contract price to meet and cover their outlays and expenditures.
On and after the abandonment, as above, there remained of the appropriation an unexpended balance of $56,738 02, as reported by Agent Floyd. Of this balance $35,927 was made applicable to the improvement of the Rock Island rapids, agreeably to a decision of the War Department, dated September 14, 1854. The disposition made of the sum thus set apart will hereafter be noticed.
Subsequently to the events above considered, and by order of the War Department, dated in the latter part of March, 1855, I was directed to relieve Colonel J. E. Johnston, and again resume the superintendence of western river improvements, which was done on the 27th of that month; and at an early date thereafter I instructed
Agent Floyd to make all proper arrangements for the re-letting of the work to other contractors.
Proposals were accordingly called for in due form by the agent, and a re-letting was effected on the 26th of May following, at $9 per cubic yard; J. H. Hager, esq., of Terre Haute, Indiana, being the successful proposer, at this price. Accordingly a new contract was made with this gentleman, and he commenced. operations in conformity thereto on the 15th of September, 1855.
Under the new contract the work was prosecuted with signal efficiency, the drilling of the rocks being effected by steam instead of manual power. A brief account of the means and manner of the operations is contained in my inspection report of September 6, 1856, an extract of which is hereto appended.-(See Appendix, Doc. No. 3.)
Owing probably to a misapprehension of the agent in regard to the import of certain instructions issued from the War Department, and given to him by Colonel Johnston, the operations under the new contract have hitherto been applied exclusively to the improvement of the Des Moines rapids, to such an extent that the balance remaining for the improvement of the Rock Island rapids is only about $24,000, instead of $35,927, as before stated.
A report of agent Floyd, dated on the 1st of December, 1856, shows that the amount of work done under the new contract with Mr. Hager is only 2,197 cubic yards, instead of about double that amount, which was called for by the contract, for the time occupied. The reasons of this delinquency are given in a letter from Mr. Hager to Agent Floyd, and submitted by the latter to the superintendent, with comments thereon; copies of which are hereto appended.-(See Appendix, Docs. No. 4 and No. 5.)
No decision in reference to the forfeiture of the contract was authorized to be given prior to the transfer of this work to Captain Palmer.
DES MOINES RAPIDS.
An appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars for the improvement of the Des Moines rapids was passed by a two-thirds majority of Congress on the 16th of August, 1856; and on the 9th of September following, instructions were issued from the topographical bureau, prescribing a new contract for the improvement of the Des Moines rapids under this appropriation.
The agent was accordingly instructed to call for proposals by public notice, which was done in due form, and the call responded to in a series of bids varying from $5 80 to $12 50 per cubic yard for blasting and removing rocks from the channel, under the direction of the agent.
The proposals were opened on the 15th of November, 1856, and the terms of each proposer, together with the credentials of character and competency furnished by each respectively, were duly communicated to the bureau; but no final award had been decided upon at the time of my being relieved from this branch of the public service, agreeably to the department order of the 11th of December before cited.
The means and appliances contemplated to be used in executing
the work of this new contract are similar to those relied upon under the contract with Mr. Hager, as explained in appendix, Doc. No. 3, before cited.
The craft and other apparatus employed for the improvement of this river had been laid up for safe-keeping at Clifton, a few miles above Alton, the work of improvement of that river having been suspended late in the fall of 1855, for want of funds for its further prosecution. The severe frosts of the succeeding winter and the exceeding dryness of the following summer had contributed to render the boats leaky and unfit for use, without being repaired. An opinion was entertained that the craft in question might advantageously be transferred to Agent Fuller for employment in removing the raft of Red river, or to Agent Floyd for service in improving the rapids of the Mississippi. Both of these officers were invited to examine the craft, but after having witnessed the condition of the boats, &c., both declined the acceptance of them, by reason of the cost and trouble of repairing and conveying them to their respective agencies.
Failing to effect a transfer on reasonable terms, I recommended that the whole be offered at public sale for a sum not less than eight hundred dollars. The recommendation was sanctioned by the War Department, and after due notice given, the sale was effected on the 1st of January, 1857; the highest price bid for the whole being eight hundred and thirty-five dollars, which was of course accepted.
Within the last fiscal year two successful efforts have been made for the improvement of this river, viz: one by Captain J. R. Hamilton, and the other by Captain Jessie Vansickle, both duly commissioned as Falls pilots. The work done under the direction of the former (Mr. Hamilton) consisted in the removal of the wreck of the steamer Magnolia from the Point of Rocks, about 250 yards below the mouth of the Louisville and Portland canal, and that done under the direction of the latter (Mr. Vansickle) consisted in the blasting and removal of rocks from the Indiana chute of the Falls, which last, I am inclined to believe, has materially benefitted the navigation of that channel of the river.
Captain Hamilton's case has been submitted to the War Department, accompanied by a letter from the undersigned to the Hon. H. Marshall, in which are presented the fairest and most authentic lights in relation to the matter, upon the strength of which and of other concurrent testimony an allowance of $559 91 has been awarded to Captain Hamilton. A copy of the letter is hereto appended.-(See Appendix, Doc. No. 6.)
The work of Captain Vansickle, as I have been credibly informed, has been executed at a cost considerably greater than that of Captain Hamilton.
As yet I have not been able to obtain any duly authenticated details.