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Report on Roads and Canals.
experience of the late war amply proves, in the promptly and cheaply, at any point which may present state of our internal improvements, the be menaced, the necessary force and means for delay, the uncertainty, the anxiety, and exhaust. defence. ing effects of such calls. The facts are too recent To resist ordinary hostilities, having for their to require details, and the impression too deep to object the destruction of our towns and the exbe soon forgotten. As it is the part of wisdom haustion of our means, the force ought to be to profit by experience, so it is of the utmost im- drawn from the country lying between the coasts portance to prevent a recurrence of a similar and the sources of the principal rivers which state of things, by the application of a portion discharge through it into the ocean; but, to reof our means to the construction of such roads sist greater efforts, aiming at conquest, should it and capals as are required" with a view to mili- ever be attempted, the force and resources of the tary operations in time of war, the transportation whole community must be brought into resistof ihe munitions of war, and more complete de ance. To concentrate, then, a sufficient force, fence of the United States."
on any point of this frontier which may be in. In all questions of military preparation, three vaded, troops must be marched, and munitions of our frontiers require special attention; the of war transported, either along the line of the Eastern or Atlantic frontier; the Northern, or coast, or from the interior of the Atlantic States the Canadian frontier; and the Southern, or the to the coast, or, should the invading furce be of frontier of the Gulf of Mexico. On the West such magnitude as to require it, from the Westand Northwest we are secure, except against In- ern States; and the roads and canals necessary dian hostilities; and the only military prepara- for the defence of this frontier are those which tions required in that quarter, are such as are will render these operations prompt, certain, and necessary to keep the Indian iribes in awe, and economical. to protect the frontier from their ravages. All From the coast to the Alleghany mountainsand of our great military efforts, growing out of a the high land separating the streams which enter war with an European Power, must, for the into the St. Lawrence from those of the Atlantic, present, be directed towards our Eastern, North in which the principal Atlantic rivers take their ern, or Southern frontiers; and the roads and rise, the distance may be averaged at about 250 canals which will enable the Government to miles; and the whole extent, from the St. Marys concentrate its means for defence, promptly and to the St. Croix, is intersected, at short intervals, cheaply, on the vulnerable points of either of by large navigable rivers and the principal roads those frontiers, are those which in a military of this portion of our country, through which point of view, require the aid of Government. I its greai commercial operations are carried on. propose lo consider each of those frontiers sep. These, aided by the steamboats, now introduced arately, beginning with the Atlantic, which, in on almost all of our great rivers, present great many respects, is the weakest and most exposed. facilities to collect the militia from the interior,
From the mouth of St. Croix to that of St. and to transport the necessary supplies and muMarys, the two extremes of this frontier, is a dis- nitions of war. tance, along the line of the coast and principal Much undoubtedly remains to be done to perbays, without following their sinuosities, of about fect the roads and improve the navigation of the two ihousand one hundred miles. On this line, rivers; but this, for the most part, may be safely including its navigable rivers and bays, are situ- left to the States and the commercial cities parated our most populous cities, the great depots ticularly interested, as the appropriate objects of of the wealth and commerce of the country. their care and exertions. The attention of both
That portion of it which extends to the south of have recently been much turned towards these the Chesa peake has, with the exceptions of the objects, and a few years will probably add much cities and iheir immediate neighborhood, a sparse lo facilitate the intercourse between the coast population, with a low marshy country, extend. and the interior of the Atlantic States. Very ing back from 100 to 150 miles. To the north of different is the case with the great and important the Chesapeake, inclusive, it affords, everywhere, line of communication, extending along the coast, deep and bold navigable bays and rivers, which through the Atlantic States. No object of the readily admit vessels of any size. Against a line kind is more important; and there is none to so long, so weak, so exposed, and presenting such wbich State or individual capacity is more inadstrong motives for depredalions, hostilities the equate. It must be perfecied by the General most harassing and exhausting may be carried Government, or not perfected at all, at least for on by a naval Power ; and, should the subjuga- many years.' No one or two States have a suflion of the country ever be attempted, it is prob- ficient interest. It is immediately beneficial to able that against this frontier, facing Europe, the more than half of the States of the Union, and, seat of the great Powers of the world, the prin- without the aid of the General Government, cipal efforts would be turned. Thus circum- would require their co-operation. It is, at all stanced, it is the duty of the Government to times, a most important object to the nation; and, render it as secure as possible. For much of this in a war with a naval Power, is almost indispen: security we ought to look to a navy, and a judi- sable to our military, commercial, and fioancial cious and strong system of fortifications, but operations. It may, in a single view, be considnot to the neglect of such roads and canals as ered the great artery of the country; and, when will enable the Government to concentrate, I the coasting trade is suspended by war, the vast Report on Roads and Canals. intercourse between the North and South, which this may be easily effected, to the south of the annually requires five hundred thousand tons of Chesapeake, by land and steam batteries. That shipping, and which is necessary to the commerce, bay is itself one of the most importanı links in the agriculture, and manufactures of more than this line of communication ; and its defence half of the Union, seeks this channel of commun against a naval force ought, is practicable, to be ication. If it were thoroughly opened by land rendered complete. It was carefully surveyed, and water; if Louisiana were connected, by a the last Summer, by skilful officers, for this purdurable and well finished road, with Maine ; and pose in part, and it is expected that their report Boston with Savannah, by a well established line will throw much light upon this important subof inland pavigation, for which so many facilities ject, Long Island Sound, another part of the are presented, more ihan half of the pressure of line which is exposed, can be fully defended by war would be removed. A country so vast in a naval force only. its means, and abounding, in its various latitudes, It remains, in relation to the defence of the with almost all the products of the globe, is á Atlantic frontier, to consider the means of comworld of itself; and, with that facility of inter- munication between it and the Western States, course, to perfect which, the disposable means of which require the aid of the Government. Most the country is adequate, would lourish and pros- of the observations made relative to the increased per under the pressure of a war with any Power. strength and capacity of the country to bear up But, dropping ihis more elevated view, and con- under the pressure of war, from the coastwise sidering the subject only as it regards military communication, are applicable in a high degree operations in time of war, and the transportation at present, and are daily becoming more so, to of the munitions of war," what could contribute those with the Western States; and should a so much as this communication to the effectual war for conquest ever be waged against us, an and cheap defence of our Atlantic frontier ? event not probable, but not to be laid entirely out Take the line of inland navigation along the of view, the roads and canals necessary to comcoast, the whole of which, it is estimated, could plete the communication with that portion of be completed, for sea vessels; by digging one our country would be of the utmost importance. hundred miles, and at the expense of $3,000,000, The interest of commerce, and the spirit of the advantage which an enemy with a naval rivalry between the great Atlantic cities, will do force now has, by rapidly moviog along the coast, much to perfect the means of intercourse with the and harassing and exhausting the country, would West. The most important lines of communibe in a great measure lost to him. In fact, the cation appear to be from Albany to the Lakes; capacity for rapid and prompt movements and from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and concentration, would be, to the full, as much in Richmond, to ihe Ohio river; and from Charlesour power. We would have, in 'most of the ton and Augusta, to the Tennessee ; all of which points of attack, a shorter line to move over, in are now commanding the attention, in a greater order to concentrate our means; and, aided by or less degree, of the sections of the country im. steamboats, would have the capacity to pass it in mediately interested. But in such great under a shorter time, and with greater certainty, than takings, so interesting in every point of view to what an enemy, even with a naval superiority, the whole Union, and which may ultimately bewould have, to attack us. Suppose the fleet of come necessary to its defence, the expense ought such an enemy should appear off the Capes of not to fall wholly on the portions of the country Delaware; before it could possibly approach and more immediately interested. As the Governattack Philadelphia, information, by telegraphic ment has a deep stake in them, and as the system communication, might be given to Baltimore and of defence will not be perfect without their comNew York, and the forces stationed there thrown pletion, it ought at least to bear a proportional in for its relief. The same might take place if share of the expense of their construction. Baltimore or New York should be invaded; and, I proceed next to consider the roads and canals should an attack be made on any of our cities, coopected with the defence of our Northern fronthe militia and regular forces, at a great distance tier. That portion of it which extends to the along the coast, could, in a short time, be thrown east of Lake Champlain has not heretofore been in for its relief. By this speedy communication, the scene of extensive military operations; and I the regular forces, with the militia of the cities am not sufficiently acquainted with the nature and their neighborhood, would be sufficient to of the country, to venture an opinion whether repel ordinary invasions, and would either pre- we may hereafter be called on to make considervent, or greatly diminish, the harassing calls able military efforts in that quarter. Without, upon the militia of the interior. If to these con. then, designaling any military improvements, as siderations we add the character of the southern connected with this portion of our Northern fron. position of the Atlantic frontier, so fatal to those tier, I would suggest the propriety, should Conwhose constitutions are not inured to it, the value gress approve of the plan for a military surrey of this system of defence, by the regular troops of the country to be hereafter proposed, to make and the militia accustomed to the climale, will a survey of it the duty of the engineers wbo may be greatly enhanced. Should this line of inland be designated for that purpose. navigation be constructed, to enjoy its benefits For the defence of ihe other part of this line fully, it will be necessary io cover it against the of frontier, the most important objects are, a canal naval operations of an enemy. It is thought that or water communication between Albany and Report on Roads and Canals.
Lake George, and Lake Ontario, and between Pius- the munitions of war, and the more complete deburg and Lake Erie. The two former have been fence of the United States, require. commenced by the State of New York, and will, Many of the roads and canals which have been when compleied, connected with the great ioland suggested, are no doubt of the first importance to navigation along the coast, enable the Govern the commerce, the manufactures, the agriculture, ment, at a moderate expense, and in a short time, and political prosperity of the country; but are to transport munitions of war, and to concentrate not, for that reason, less useful or necessary for its troops from any portion of the Atlantic States, military purposes. It is, in fact, one of the great fresh and unexhausted by the fatigue of marching advantages of our country, enjoying so many on the inland frontier of the State of New York. others, that, whether we regard its internal im. The road commenced, by order of the Executive, provements in relation to military, civil, or politfrom Plattsburg to Sackeli's Harbor, is essentially ical purposes, very nearly the same system, in all connected with military operations on this por- its parts, is required. The road or canal can tion of the Northern frontier. A water commun- scarcely be designated, which is highly useful for ication from Pittsburg to Lake Erie, would greatly military operations, which is not equally required increase our power on the upper Lakes. The for the industry or political prosperity of the Allęghany river, by its main brancb, is said to be community. If those roads or canals had been navigable within seven miles of Lake Erie, and pointed out, which are necessary for military by French creek, within sixteen miles. Pitts- purposes only, the list would have been small inburg is the great military depot of the country deed. I have, therefore, presented all, without to the west of the Alleghany, and, if it were con- regarding the fact that they might be employed nected by a canal with Lake Erie, would furnish for other uses, which, in the event of war, would military supplies with facility to the upper lakes, be necessary to give economy, certainty, and sucas well as to the country watered by the Missis. cess to our military operations; and which, if sippi. If to these communications we add a road they had been completed before the late war, from Detroit to Ohio, which has already been would, by their saving in that single contest, in commenced, and a canal from the Illinois river men, money, and reputation, have more than into Lake Michigan, which the growing popula- demnified the country for the expense of their contion of the State of Illinois renders very import-struction. I have not prepared an estimate of ant, all the facilities which would be essential "10 expenses, nor pointed out the particular routes for carry on military operations in the time of war, the roads or canals recommended, as I conceive and the transportation of the munitions of war” that this can be ascertained with satisfaction only for the defence of the western portion of our by able and skilful engineers, after a careful surNorthern frontier, would be afforded.
vey and examination. It only remains to consider the system of roads Í would, therefore, respectfully suggest, as the and canals connected with the defence of our basis of the system, and ihe first measure in the Southern frontier, or that on the Gulf of Mex-"plan for the application of such means as are ico. For the defence of this portion of our coun- in the power of Congress," that Congress should try, though at present weak of itself, nature has direct such a survey and estimate to be made, done much. The bay of Mobile, and the entrance and the result to be laid before them as soon as into the Mississippi through all of its channels, practicable. The expense would be inconsiderare highly capable of defence. A military suró able; for, as the army can furnish able military vey has been made, and the necessary fortifica- and iopographical engineers, it would be princitions have been commenced, and will be in a few pally confined to the employment of one or more years completed. But the real strength of this skilful civil engineers, to be associated with them. frontier is the Mississippi, which is no less the By their combined skill, an efficient system of cause of ils security than that of its commerce military roads and canals would be presented in and wealth. Its rapid stream, aided by the force detail, accompanied with such estimates of exof steam, can, in the hour of danger, concentrate penses as may be relied on. Thus full and satisat once an irresistible force. Made strong by factory information would be had; and though this noble river, little remains to be done by roads some iime might be lost in the commencement and canals, for the defence of our Southern fron- of the system, it would be more than compensated tier. The continuation of the road along the by its assured efficiency when completed. Atlantic coast, from Milledgeville to New Or- For the construction of the roads and canals, leans, and the completion of the road which has which Congress may choose to direct, the army, already been commenced from Tennessee river to a certain extent, may be brought in aid of the to the same place, with the inland navigation moneyed resources of the country. The propriety through the canal of Carondelet, Lake Pontchar of employing the army on works of public utility train, and the islands along the coast of Mobile, cannot be doubted. Labor adds to its usefulness covered against the operations of a naval force, and health. A mere garrison life is equally hosevery facility required for the transportation of lile to its vigor and discipline. Both officers and munitions of war, and movement and concentra- men become the subjects of its deleterious effects. tion of troops, to protect this distant and import- But when the vast extent of our country is com. ant frontier, would be afforded.
pared with the extent of our military establishSuch are the roads and canals which military ments, and taking into consideration the necessity operations in time of war, the transportation of lof employing the soldiers on fortifications, barReport on Roads and Canals.
racks, and roads, connected with remote frontier latter patiently awaits the expiration of his term posts, we ought not to be sanguine in the expec. of service, while the former frequently seizes the iation of aid to be derived from the army in the first favorable opportunity for desertion. construction of permanent military roads and Should Congress think proper to commence a canals, at a distance from the frontiers. When system of roads and canals for the "more comour military posts come to be extended up the plete defence of the United States," the disburseMississippi and Missouri, as far as is contem- ment of the sums appropriated for the purpose plated, the military frontier of the United States, might be made by the Department of War, under not including sinuosities, and the coasts of navi- direction of the President. Where incorporate gable bays and lakes opening into our country, companies are already formed, or the road or canal as was stated in a former report, will present a commenced under the superintendence of a State, line of more than oine thousand miles, and, in- it perhaps would be advisable to direct a subscripcluding them, of more than eleven thousand. tion on the part of the United States, on such Thinly scattered along so extensive a frontier, it terms and conditions as might be thought proper. will be impossible, I fear, without having some In other cases, and where the army cannot be points exposed, to collect any considerable bodies made to execute it, the work ought to done by in the interior of the country, to construct roads contract, under the superintendence and inspecand canals.
tion of officers of the engineer corps, to be detailed As connected with this subject, I would respect for that purpose. It is ihus the Government will fully suggest the propriety of making an adequate be able, it is thought, 10 coostruct upon terms at provision for the soldiers, while regularly and least as favorable as corporate companies. The continually employed in constructing works of system of constructing all public works, which public utility. The present allowance is fifteen admit of it, by contract, would be attended with cents a day, which is considered sufficient in oc- important advantages. It has recently been adoptcasional fatigue duty, such as is now done at most ed in the construction of fortifications, and it is of the posts; but if systematic employ, on per- expected will be attended with beneficial results. manent works, should be made the regular duty The principal works at Mobile and New Orleans of the soldiers who can be spared for that purpose, have been contracted for on terms considerably a compensation, taking into the estimate the obli- under the estimates of the engineers. Such a gation of the Government to provide medical system, extended to military roads and canals, attendance and pensions to the deceased and dis- combined with a careful inspection and superinabled soldiers, not much short of the wages of tendence by skilful engineers, will enable the daily labor ought to be granted to them. With Government to complete them with economy, out such provision, which is dictated by justice, durability, and despatch. an increase of desertion and difficulty in obtain- In the view which has been taken I have ing recruits ought to be expected. Among the thought it improper, under the resolution of the leading inducements to enlist is the exemption House, to discuss the Constitutional question, or from labor; and, if the life of a soldier should be how far the system of internal improvements equally subject to it as that of other citizens in which has been presented may be carried into the same grade, he will prefer, if the wages are effect on the principle of our Government; and, much inferior, to labor for himself to laboring for therefore, the whole of the arguments which are the public. The pay of a soldier is sixty dollars used, and the measures proposed, must be conper annum; and if he were allowed, when em- sidered as depending on the decision of that quesployed permanently on fatigue, twenty-five cents tion. a day, and suppose him to be employed two hun- The only military roads which have been comdred days in the year, his compensation, including menced are from Plattsburg to Sackett's Harbor, his pay, would be $110 per annum-a sum, it is through the Chateaugay country; from the souththought, considerably short of the average wages ern boundary of the State of Tennessee, and crossof labor. If this sum should be allowed, the ing the Tennessee river near the Muscle Shoals, greater portion of it ought to be paid at the expi- to Madisonville, Louisiana; and from Detroit to ration of the term of enlistment." If fifteen cents Fort Meigs, at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami a day were so reserved, and the soldier should be of the Lakes. Documents marked A, B, C, show employed one thousand days in the five years for the progress which have been made. These roadswhich he is enlisted, it would constitute a sum of have been commenced, and thus far completed one hundred and fifty dollars, to be paid at the by the labor of the soldiers, who, while they are expiration of his term, which ought, in the same só employed, receive fifteen cents per day, with manner as the bounty land, be made to depend an exira allowance of a gill of whiskey. The on an honorable discharge. This would furnish labor of the troops is the only means within the an important hold on the fidelity of the soldier, reach of the Department of completing (bese and would be a powerful check to the great and roads; and, as the troops are so employed, only growing crime of desertion. An honorable dis- when they are not engaged in active service, it charge is now worth but little to the soldier, and is impossible to state, with accuracy, when the the consequence is, that desertions are more fre- roads will be completed, quent with those enlisted since the war, than those
J. C. CALHOUN. who were then enlisted, and are entitled to the Hon. HENRY Clay, bounty in land on their honorable discharge. The Speaker of the House of Reps.
Report on Roads and Canals.
the troops on the lower part of the road, making HEADQUARTERS, BROWNSVILLE, many causeways and bridges of the most durable December 6, 1818.
materials; and the detachment on this end have Şir: Your letter, covering a copy of one of the progressed about forty miles south of the Ten11th of August, calling for a report of the labor nessee river, making in like manner many bridges performed on the road leading from Sackett's
and causeways. Harbor, through the Chateaugay country, is be the road has been completed; and, from every
It is considered that the most laborious part of fore me. My letter of the 29th of November will inform An increase of men has been recently afforded
information, it has been done in the best manner. you what has been done, but I fear will not exhibit the progress of this work to the extent you which enables it to progress with much greater
to the detachment south of Tennessee river, have expected. It may, therefore, be proper lo state, in this place, that when the President, in
facility. the Autumn of 1817, directed the road in ques communicate their contents without delay.
Should I receive minute reports shortly, I shall tion to be opened and improved, I did not understand that the second regiment were to be or.
And have the honor to be, &c., dered from the duty they were then upon. This
ROBERT BUTLER, regiment, at the time referred to, were employed,
Adjutant General. enclosing with pickets the public ground ai
Hon. J. C. CALHOUN, Sackett's Harbor, and that duty occupied them
Secretary of War. the remainder of the season. Expecting the troops at the Harbor would bave been employed
C. in completing the barracks at that place ihis year, they were not put upon the road, but allowed
November 2, 1819. to be engaged in improving the public grounds for gardens; and, as these grounds were new, it
Sir: I have the honor to report that the milirequired múch lábor to put them in good con- tary way, directed to be opened from this place dition.
to ihe Rapids of the Miami, has progressed as far These causes, and the reasons assigned in my as the Eight Mile Creek, that is, within eight letters from this place and Plattsburg, produced miles of the Rapids, making in all a distance of the delay that has occurred in putting Colonel seventy miles. The road is truly a magnificent Brady's command upon the road, and, if your one, being eighty feet wide, cleared of all the letter of the 11th of August had not been received logs and underbush, every low place causewayed, upon my return to this place, I fear that this and all the creeks and rivers requiring it bridged work would not yet have commenced.
in a substantial manner. The number of causeI pray you to believe, that I regret the delay, ways exceeds sixty, and the bridges are of conand I beg you to see good cause for it in the siderable length. The one on which the troops reasons I have endeavored to assign.
are now employed is four hundred and fifty feet It is due to the command of Colonel Brady and in length, constructed of strong oak framed work. Colonel Atkinson to say, that they have dis- It was found impossible to complete the road to covered not only a becoming cheerfulaess in the Rapids this season, on account of the time obeying the orders received for perfecting the and labor required in throwing bridges over the Plattsburg and Sackeli's Harbor road, but much larger streams: it was also deemed more essential zeal in the performance of this duty, and, if these to complete the bridges, than cut the road this regiments are continued upon this important season to the Rapids, as the road would be usework the next season, more than double the less without the means of crossing the large length of way will be completed, that has been streams. passed the last and the present year.
The officers and soldiers who have been emWith respect, I have ihe honor to be, &c., ployed in this service deserve much credit for the
JAC. BROWN. zeal and perseverance they have displayed on this Hon. J. C. Calhoun,
occasion. The work they have performed has
proved highly beneficial,' both to the people of Secretary of War.
ihe country and of the Government. Besides B.
greatly adding to the defence and strength of this
frontier, the road has been the means of develop HEADQ'RS, DIVISION OF THE SOUTH, ing the richness of the public lands in this TerriADJUTANT General's OFFICE, tory, and greatly augmenting their value.
Nashville, Sept. 19, 1818. As soon as Major Anderson, topographical enSIR: On the eve of setting out for the Chick. gineer, can complete the survey of the road, a asaw Territory, I deem it necessary to inform you more minute and particular description of the
work will be forwarded. that no reports have been received as yet, of a particular character, in relation to the military
I have the honor to be, &c. road now opening from Columbia, Tennessee, to
ALEX. MACOMB. Madison ville ; but I am enabled to inform you, Hon. J. C. CALHOON, officially, tliai fifty miles have been completed by
Secretary of War.