« ПретходнаНастави »
vice, and at the same time petition to have the regular troops removed, the better to ensure the same object. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
B. RILEY, Lt. Col.com. the Ocklawaha and St. John's districts. Maj. S. COOPER,
A. A. General, &c.
Tampa, April 10, 1842. Sir: On the 28th of March I issued instructions to abandon the position of Trader's Hill (within the limits of Georgia) as a depot, and for withdrawing the garrison to a point within the limits of Florida. It was not until the 31st of that month that I was apprized, through the public prints, of your excellency's correspondence with the honorable Secretary of War, which is presumed to be authentic, intimating wishes and demands with which my action would seem to be a compliance, of course, under instructions from the Government.* My sole object in the new disposition simply was to establish a better and more economical covering line, especially in reference to the Georgia border and Florida settlements in that quarter. To guard against any public misapprehension on this subject, I beg to be permitted to assure your excellency that, had I been aware of the pub. lished correspondence referred to, no consideration of convenience or expediency could have induced me to adopt a measure seemingly touching! an issue which your excellency has been pleased to make with the Fed. eral Government, much less do I presume to discuss that question; and quite as foreign was it from my design thereby to admit the justice or truth of the imputations which your petitioners have attempted to fix upon the soldiership and discipline of the troops and the honor of the officers of this army. My purpose, however, mainly is, in all respect and sincerity, to' assure your excellency that, up to this moment, I have not had the honor to receive any instructions touching your demand for a withdrawal of the troops from the State of Georgia. I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Colonel commanding. His Excellency Governor C. J. McDONALD,
April 3, 1842. SIR: I have caused to be copied from the Federal Union of the 22d ultimo, published at Milledgeville, Georgia, and now, herewith, have the
• See letter of the Governor of Georgia of March 10, 1842, in the 1st series.
honor to transmit, for the inspection of the colonel commanding the army of Florida, a very nervous and denunciatory despatch from the Executive of Georgia to the Secretary of War, requesting the withdrawal of the regular troops from the territory of Georgia, charging upon them misconduct and supineness.
Upon this I have to remark, that if it be his excellency's purpose to scandalize, generally, the forces of the United States, I am not unwilling (in such good company) to sink as low as it may be in his power to plunge us; if he refer only to the troops which have heretofore, and until the 26th of February, 1842, garrisoned this post, it is neither my business nor my purpose, by this communication, to herald myself forth as their champion; but if he refer to the troops which I now have the honor to command, and which have been in position here since the above date, then I declare, most positively, that his accusations are wholly destitute of true and sufficient data.
It is not, generally, an honorable defence to resort to recrimination; but I have to assure you that the very few and trifling cases of misconduct which have occurred in this command have been promptly and properly noticed, and have arisen, chiefly, from an illicit traffic by the settlers in this vicinity in soldier's clothing and whiskey, which I promise you to suppress, if there is law in the land to do it.
I have, in conclusion, briefly to state that, in so far as I am informed, there is no cause whatever for alarm (nor can I learn that there does exist any alarm) from hostile Indians in this neighborhood; and, in order to corroborate this assertion, it is my intention, in the course of the next week, to penetrate and examine the Okefenokee swamp, in two small detachments from Forts Floyd and Norton—the first composed of one ser. geant and eight privates, commanded by Second Lieutenant T. S. Johnson, sth infantry; and the second, of one sergeant, one corporal, and eight privates, commanded by myself, leaving only one sergeant and seven privates for the protection of this post and depot.
The two detachments will rendezvous on Floyd's island, and, united, emerge from the swamp via Forts Tatnall and Gilmer, (see map,) and so return to this post via Fort Moniac. Of the result of this operation I shall give you timely advice. I have the honor to be your most obedient servant,
R. B. SCRÉVEN,
Captain 8th Infantry, commanding. Major S. COOPER,
Assistant Adjutant General, Loc.
DISCREPANCIES IN ESTIMATES FOR FORTIFCATIONS.
APRIL 27, 1842.
Washington, April 20, 1842. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant, to Colonel Totten, and, in his absence, to offer such explanations, in regard to supposed discrepancies between past and present estimates for works of fortification, and to give such other information in relation thereto, as seems to be called for by your communication.
And, first, in regard to the fort at New Bedford, Massachusetts. The board of officers assembled in 1840, to digest and report upon a system of national defence, estimated $5,000 as the probable cost of the old fort at New Bedford. They contemplated nothing more than the execution of such repairs as would prepare the old fort for its armament, and such as would render it immediately available in case of an emergency. And if the work is to stop here, they were not far wrong in their estimate; for the appropriation has been made, has been alımost entirely expended, and will prove just about sufficient to accomplish the objects contemplated by the board. But the old fort is exceedingly limited in extent; the area enclosed by it is so small that it does not afford sufficient room for the erection of the necessary storehouse, magazine, shot furnace, &c. This old fort is the only work for the desence of New Bedford harbor. It is so small that it may now be considered entirely disproportionate to the present importance of the place, and totally inadequate to afford the requisite defence. It is therefore proposed to modify and enlarge the work, by extending one of its faces. This will afford room for the buildings mentioned above, and will increase the strength of the battery by doubling the present number of guns. It was to effect this enlargement, and to prepare for the additional number of guns, that the estimate of $10,000 was submitted at the commencement of the present session of Congress. No part of this sum was required for the mere repair of the old fort, as it now stands, nor is it believed that any portion of it could be applied to the construction of the interior buildings mentioned above, but it is probable that an additional sum will hereafter be required for that purpose. This brief explanation of the object of the appropriation will, it is hoped, remove from the minds of the committee any ideas which they may have entertained of discrepancies between the estimated and actual cost of this work.
In regard to the repair of Forts Caswell and Johnson, and the preservation of the site of Fort Caswell, you refer to the 25th paragraph of a report from this office to Mr. Bell, dated 28th June, 1841, and seem to understand from it that the estimate of $5,000, then submitted, was intended to complete the repairs of Fort Johnson, and also to complete all operations ne
cessary for the security of the site of Fort Caswell. It was not intended, however, to communicate this idea to the full extent in which you understand it. The idea intended to be communicated was this: that of the estimate for $5,000, then submitted, a small portion only would be required for the repair of Fort Johnson, and that the remainder would be applied to the protection of the site of Fort Caswell; but it was not intended to say that this remainder would be sufficent to complete all the measures necessary for the security of that site. At the time that report was made, the character of the operations for the security of this site was well understood, but the extent to which it would be necessary to prosecute them was not so fully known; and hence the impracticability of then submitting a final es. timate for the completion of those protective measures. It was believed that the sum then required would be sufficient for conducting the operations until a careful estimate could be made, and the necessary sum for final completion obtained. The sum of $6,000, submitted at the present session of Congress, is the result of such careful estimate for completion. No part of this sum is required for the repair of either of the forts. When the estimate left this office, it was “ For preservation of the site of Fort Caswell, North Carolina, $6,000.” It has since been altered (perhaps in the Treasury Department) so as to make the phraseology conform to the heading of the former appropriation for the works at the mouth of Cape Fear river.
In regard to the repair of Forts Jackson, St. Philip, Pike, and Wood, and Battery Bienvenu and Tower Dupré, you refer to the estimate of the board of 1840, and to the greatly enlarged estimates and appropriations subsequently made, for the repair of the same works. The board of 1840 was assembled in Washington, for the purpose of reporting upon a system of national defence, and they were called upon to submit estimates of the probable cost of constructing new and of executing necessary repairs upon old works. These estimates were based, in some instances, upon accurate data in possession of the board ; in other cases they relied upon a general knowledge of the work possessed by some of the officers of the board. In some cases they obtained such general information as was to be derived from the records of this office, and in others they called upon officers in the vicinity of the works for estimates of the probable cost of repairs, &c. The estimate for the repair of the works we are now considering was made by an officer in their vicinity. He embraced in his estimate the cost only of preparing the works for mounting their guns, and the execution of such hasty repairs as would render them available for immediate service. This esiimate, as might have been anticipated, fell very far short of the execution of all those thorough and extensive repairs which were rendered absolutely necessary by the greatly dilapidated state into which these works had fallen. These works were all constructed upon a treach. erous soil ; some of them had never been completed. They had all been abandoned for years, and were left fully exposed to all the causes of deterioration and decay to which they were so peculiarly liable from climate and from their particular locality. By referring to paragraph or article 37 of a report made from this office to Mr. Bell, dated 28th June, 1941, you will there find the almost ruinous condition of these works, and the necessity that existed for their thorough and immediate repair, spoken of in language not to be misunderstood. The Chief Engineer had just returned from an inspection of these forts. The operations were then in progress, and he saw that almost every step that was taken in the work of repair revealed new defects and new injuries, the existence of which had not been foreseen. He would not, therefore, venture the expression of a hasty opinion as to the entire cost of completion. The $50,000 then required was expected to prepare the batteries for mounting their guns, and to execute such other portions of repair as were of the most pressing necessity. The entire amount appropriated at the late extra session of Congress has already been expended upon these works, and the objects which it was expected to accomplish have been mostly realized. Forts Pike, Wood, and St. Philip, have been reported ready for their entire armament; Fort Jackson has been reported ready for about one-half its armament ; besides which, other repairs of an important character have been executed upon all these works, as well as upon Battery Bienvenu and Tower Dupré.
Some further preparations remain still to be made for mounting the remaining guns of Fort Jackson, as well as for mounting those of Battery Bienvenu and Tower Dupré. Further and extensive repairs, which, though not so pressing perhaps in their character, are nevertheless of equal importance to the strength and efficiency and to the ultimate security of these works, remain stili to be executed. Portions of the earth are to be removed from some of the bastions ; leaks in some of the casemates are to be stopped, and their floors laid ; portions of the earthen parapets are to be formed, and their slopes revetted and protected ; pavements are to be laid ; gun platforms, in some cases, are to be prepared; portions of the revetments of scarps and counterscarps are to be executed ; gateways and bridges, in some cases, are to be constructed ; trees and vegetation are to be cleared away from portions of the sites; storehouses and magazines are to be constructed and fitted up; shot furnaces are to be erected, &c. These are the objects which it is designed to accomplish with the appropriations now pending before Congress. It is not intended, hereafter, to apply any portion of the appropriation for these works to the repair of quarters for officers or soldiers ; but, on the contrary, the whole appropriation will be expended with a view of increasing the efficiency and strength of the military defences, and with a view of protecting the works, as far as practicable, against future dilapidation and decay. As the former appropriations have been entirely expended, it is highly important that additional appropriations should be made at an early day, in order that the works may not be again abandoned for any considerable period, and left exposed, in their unfinished state, to surther injury.
The appropriations under the heads of contingencies of fortifications, and incidental expenses attending the repairs of fortifications, are alike applicable to all the works of public defence, whenever, in the opinion of the department, circumstances sufficiently urgent in their character seem to demand such application. If a foundation is giving way, it will not do to wait for a specific appropriation, for the whole work migbt tumble down. If the thrust against a wall is sufficient to throw it out of line, it must be secured to prevent its fall. If piers, or the arches resting upon them, are cracking and giving way, they must be secured to prevent their fall. If drains are injured or choked up, they must be repaired to prevent the water from deluging and injuring the work. If, from any cause, a storehouse is in such condition that the public stores are insecure, or if the condition of a magazine is such that the ammunition is exposed, repairs must be instantly applied. It may become suddenly necessary to execute upon an old fort