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RkP.'kT OF Tl K hLCKKTAHY OK WAR. Waii DeI'AKTMLNT, Washington, December 3, 1855. Sir: 1 have the honor to submit the follow ing report of the operation! of the army for the past year, and to lay before you the reporU of the heads of the t jveral bureaus of the War Department, and comrnuuicatioua from other officers of the army 1 he authorized .-'rength of the army (as now pasted) is 17,f<>7 officers and meu, but the accompanying ti.ole, prepared in the Adju tant General's Office, show that, at the date of tlie latest returns, the actual strength was 15,752. The recruiting service is now pro gressing satisfactorily, however, and it is be lieved that in a few months the disparity between the authorized and actual strength of the army?2,115?will be nearly overcome. The number of enlistments made during the twelve months ending September 30 was 10,546. The number of p rs ?ns offering to enlist, and who were refused on account of minority and until!.ess lor service, were 26,522. The num ber oi equalities in the army by deaths, dis charg's, and desertion!', "luring the same period, was 5,500. The very numerous applications for the dis charge ot minors?so many of which have succeeded within the past year?renders neces sary that some step should be taken to check the growing evil, a id the serious expense to which the government thereby subjected. The regulations are nufficiently stringent on the subject of the enlistme.it of minors ; but re cruiting officers are i'rtquently deceived by the appearance of the recruit, and the false repre sentations respecting his true age. In cases where deceptions of this character have been practised, the coutract should be considered binding, or the recruit should be required, at the time of enlistment, to swear that he is either ol full age, or, being a minor, that he has neither parent nor guardian. A modification to this extent of the existing law respecting the dis charge of minors. (5th section of the act of September 28, 1850) would, it is believed lessen the impositions which are now practised, and protect the government from no inconsiderable loss. The general distribution of the troops re mains, for the most ;>arr, as indicated in the last annual repjrt. Am >ug the changes of most importance are the following: The four addi tional regiments authorized by the act ofMarch 3, 1855, have bceu recruited and organized. Seven companies of the 1st cavalry have re cently returned from an expedition into the Sioux country, and the regiment will winter at Fort Leavenworth, where it will be in position for ulteri r operations in the spring. The 2d cavalry has been sent to the department of Texas to replace the six companies of the 2d dragoons, transferred to the department of the We#'. The 9ih infantry, (riflemen,) designed for service in the department of the Pacific, has b-en embodied at Fort Monroe, und held under i lstruction preparatory to a campaign which it was proposed it should undertake as soon as the season would permit through the Indians ou the head waters of the Missouri and tribu taries of the Columbia river, from which ex hibition of our power among those remote tribes it was cxpected a beneficial influence over them woulJ result; but in accordance with the necessity communicated by a letter from Gene ral Wool, commanding the department of the Pacific, dated November 3, und this day re ceived at the War Department, that regiment will be diverted from the proposed campaign by the over land route, aud be dispatched with Vie least delay by way of the isthmus to rein fjree the command engaged in the suppression of Indian hostilities in Oregon. 1 he 10th infantry, (riflemen.) with the ex ception of one company attached to the Sioux expedition, has lieeu ordered to the military stations on the Upper Mississippi. A portion of this regiment, when the season admits, will be employ d to esfablish a post on the Red river of the North, i.ear the northern boundary of Minesota, agreeably to an act passed at the last session of Congress appropriating $5,000, a gum altogether inadequate for that object. Six companies of the 2d infantry have taken post at tort Pierre, on the Upper Missouri. Continued Indian difficulties on the Oregon route have rendered it necessary to retain in the department of tbe West the 6th infantry, which regiment it was contemplated to send to the Pacific coast. Lfforts are still in progress for the removal of the remnant of the Seminole tribe from Florida. 1 he troops there have been kept actively employed in exploring the country by land and water, aud in opening roads. By these means much important information respecting the territory in possession of the Indians has been gained, which will greatly facilitate future operations. All intercourse with these Indians has been strictly profited, and it is believed that they have not, in any instance, passed the line of observation occupied by the troops. In the departments of the West, Texas, New Mexico, and the Pacific, Indian hostilities h?ve been of frequent occurrence. For the purpose of chastising the Sioux In dians implicated in the massacre of a detach ment of United States troops in August of last year, and to protett from Indian incursions the western frontiers of Nebraska and Kansas, arid the emigrant routes leading from the Mis souri river to the west, a military force was sent into the country inhabited by the Sioux, In'e in the sumim r, under the command of Brevet Brigadier General Harney. On the 3'J of September thnt officer, with a portion of his command, engaged a party of the Brule band of the Sioux nation, and, after a short co'ifliet, completely routed them. Eighty-six 1: dians weie killed, and a large number taken prisoners. 1 he no pen and property captured leave no doubt that this band was concerned in the massacre of the detachment above re lerred to, as well as in the murders and depre dations committed upon emigrants, and in the robbery of the public mail. Jn the departments of Texas. New Mexico, and the Pacific, mil tary expeditions have been Sent against the Indians guilty of outrages ujK?n the persons and property of the frontier inhabitants and emigrants within those sec tions of conntry, and in several cases summary punishment ha* been inflicted by the troops upon the offending tribe?. I he details of these operations will be found in the papers accompanying this report. 1 he mail steamer just arrived at New York has brought a'lices from the department of the Pacific to November 5th, by which I re gret to barn that Indian hostilities of a much more serious diameter than the difficulties in that department, referred to above, or than from the official reports previously received, t-ere had liecn reasons to apprehend, have oc curred in the Territories of Oregon and Wash ington. The letters of the governor of the Territory, of October 24, and of the command ing general of the department of the Pacific, of November 3, of which copies are here with submitted, furnish the only official information on the subject in the possession of this depart ment. It will be f^rceived that, to meet the emergency, the governor has ordered out a mounted volunteer force of seventeen compa nies, or about 1,200 men. i he department, at this distance, and in tfie absence of more d< finite information, eapeci ally in regard to the extent of the combina tion among the h'mtile tribes, cannot judge what volunteer reinforcements to the regular troops may be necessary. This is a matter which must be necessarily left to the military ^commander in the department of the Pacific, who has repaired to the theatre of hostilities. His presence there will obviate difficulties which might otherwise arise on the subject of rank and command betweeu officers of the volunteers and regular forces. I he alacrity with which the volunteers have responded to the call of Governor Curry give* _ asurance that their aid will be as efficient as it lias been prompt, and ii is hoped that their continuance in the military service, to the great interruption of their ordinary pursuits, will be limited to the shortest possible duration, by the arrival ol reinforcements which have been ordered to the regular troops of that depart ment. From a recent report of the commanding general of the department of New Mexico, it appears that all the Indian trilies within his command have concluded treaties with the governor of the Territory, and retired to the limits assigned them. Service in Indian campaigns, though little calculatcd to excite the military ardor of the soldier, is attended by equal hazard, and even by greater privation than belongs to warfare with a civilized foe. '1 he galantry, zeal, and devotion of both officers and men have been repeatedly, within the last year, put to the se verest test, and they have on all such occasions equalled the anticipations which past conduct warranted, and have renewed their claim to the gratitude of those whose Hag they bear and in whose service they have suffered. ' 1 lie unusual exteut of the operations above detailed has necessarily caused large expendi tures, which must exceed the appropriations made for the ordinary wants of the military service?an incident to which appropriations made upon estimates prepared so long in nd vance are always subject. My attention has recently been called to the practice, in the settlement of accounts at the treasury, of charging sums due in past years to the current appropriations. It is deemed preferable that the settlement of old accounts should be provided for by appropriations for arrearages, and that the practice above re ferred to be checked, since, so long as it pre vails, the appropriations for current expenses must prove insufficient, and deficiency bills be the necessary consequence. In my last report I suggested several mea sures which I deemed necessary to preserve aud increase the efficiency of the at my. The principal of these was a revision of the laws regulajing rank and command, and those fixing the organization of the army. In rela tion to the evils there shown to be inherent in the present system, I need .only say that additional experience lias demonstrated their existence more clearly, while it has given no reason to distrust the advantages which were hoped from the changes indicated. That the rL'ht of command should follow rank by one certain and determinate rule; that officers who hold commissions which entitle them to the command of troops should not, at anv early period of Bervice, be placed permanently in po sitions on the staff, which afford no opportunity for increasing military knowledge or confirm ing military habits; that troops organized, equipped, and necessarily employed for the same service, should not be divided into differ eut arms; that those serving on foot with regi mental organization and bearing muskets or rifles should not be divided into urtillery and infantry, nor mounted men, armed and equip ped alike, be divided into dragoons and cav alry ; that engineers should not be divided into two corps, with a nominal disjinction of engi neers and topographical engineers, though their acquirements, capability, and duties'are so entirely alike that it has been found neces sary to adopt an arbitrary rule assigning to each a part of the duties of both :?these pro positions are the basis of the principal recom mendations submitted in my last report. Thev appear too clear to me to need to be enforceif by argument, and I hope that the evils which the bare statement of the facts exposed will not be suffered to exist after the subject shall have secured the considerate attentiou of Congress. A measure scarcely inferior in importance to those which relate to jank, command, and or ganization, is that which has in view to increase the efficiency of the army by retiring from ac tive service those officers who are no longer capable of fulfilling its requirements; but as their profession affords little opportunity for at tention to personal interests, and as the very low rate of compensation allowed for their ser vices indicates that it was fixed in connection with the idea of a permanent tenure, it would scarcely seem to be just, abruptly to discharge them without any provision for the future. Nor would each course be consistent with the grati tude due to those who, amid the dangers and privations of military life, have been disabled hy man v years of faithful service, or by wounds received in battle. As, however, the claims of individuals must always be subservient to the public good, so nothing can justiff a system which retains men in office for which they have become disqualified. When age, wounds, or other casualties of service have stripped an of ficer of the power to discharge the duties of a station which in earlier life he adorned, a just consideration for bis own fame and a due re gard for the public welfare demand that he should give place to one whose mental and physical activity is equal to the station, and who, stimulated by early promotion, would not fail to emulate the honorable lame of him whom he succeeds. As one of the recommendations intimately connected with this subject, I have to renew that made in my former reports for an increase of the compensation of army officers, and a re vision of the laws respecting their allowances. That this measure has failed heretofore to secure the attentiou which is, in my opinion, due to it, I attribute to the misconceptions, which are general, as to the amount of the pay and emoluments of a great majority of officers in active service. In the present condition of the laws regulating the pay and allowances of officers, some may,under certain circumstances, receive much larfer allowances than others,and, indeed, more than the nature of the service justifies, and these, which are but exceptional cases, have given rise to a general impression that the compensation of the officers is much higher than it actually is. Perhaps the error would have been less prevalent were it not that their compensation is made up of many items, which vary according to circnmstances. and render it difficult '.o compute the amount in all cases with certainty; but whenever the subject shall be full? considered, the result will, I am confident, show that the officers of the army are, on the average, less liberally compensated than those who pursue any other occupation demanding equal capacity and acquirements. I also renew the recommendation that the provisions of the act of Augnst 4. 1864, increas ing the pay of the rank and file of the armv, be extended to all enlisted men,some few of whom are, by the military signification of the words used in that statute,excluded from the benefits that were probably Intended for all who come under military obligations by enlistment. I commend to consideration the representa tions of the Snrgeon General respecting the necessity for an increase of the medical corps. 8och increase is required in consequence of the subdivision of our troops ; and as the want of medical officers renders necessary the em ployment of citizen physicians, often at a higher compensation than that of a surgeon of the army, the new appointments would be at tended with no additional eX|>enae. I, there fore, recommend the adoption of the measure. I concur with theQuartermaster General in re commending the adoption of five military store keejiers to his department. At present there is but a single d?|?ot of clothing and camp and garrison equipage, and as the supplies for the whole army have to be despatched therefrom to each company, the distribution can only lie made at long intervals, and, consequently, in large quantities, to that the companies are embarrassed in their movements, and the ex pense of transportation is increased by the large amount of stores which they have to take with them. With five depots, pro perly located, the distribution could be made more frequently, and in small ouantities; the troops would thus be less encumbered with baggage, and the expense of their movement* would be diminished. lly the 7ih taction of an net in addition to the several nets lor the establishment and w; I gulalion of the Treasury, W'ur, and Navy De- | partuients, approved Way 1, 1820, it. is' pro vided that no land shall be purchased on ae- | count of the United Suites, except under a j law authorizing such purchase. Although the fteady progress of our frontier westward, and i the advauce of our military posts with it, has rendered it frequently necessary to abandon old sites, and occupy new ones, the prohibition to purchase land has not until recently been the cause ol much embarrassment, since the troops were operating in territories where nearly all the laud was already the property of the Government, in Texas, however, the case is different ; there this Government owns no land, except such as it inav have acquired bv purchase lor specific objects, and the greater number of our military posts stand upon the property of private persons or of the Slate. Embarrassments have arisen from this cause, and I have therefore to recommend that the act above citcd be so amended as to permit this department, under such limitations as Congress may deem proper, to purchase such land as may lie required for the sites of military posts. I have again to ask attention to the neces sity ot legislation to authorize this department to sell useless military sites. Two statutes have been enacted for this purpose, but neither according to the contemporaneous construc tion given them, is upplicable to the largest class of cates that now embarrass the depart ntent. According to that construction, the net of March 3, 1811) (3 Stat., 520,) applies only to sites then in the possession of the United Stales, and that of April 28, 1828, (4 Stat., 264,) applies only to hinds conveyed to the United States for military purposes; neither including reservations Irom the public domain which were not occupied as military sites on the 3d ol March, 1819. Owing to this omis sion, when the troops find it necessary to abandon a post ot this description, the de partment cannot sell the land upon which the buildings and improvements of the aban doned post are located, but can only sell the buildings to be torn down and removed, and, of course, the price obtained bears no propor tion to their value. I hope that authority will given the departmental such cases to sell a portion ol the land with the buildings, and use the proceeds for the establishment of new posts in such advanced positions as it may be necessary for the troops to occupy. In transmitting the aunuel report of the Board of Commissioners of the military Asy lum for the past year, I take occasion to' trans mit, also, their reports for three preceding years, which were made annually to this de partment, pursuant to regulations, but which have not been heretofore forwarded. The view which these reports give of the re sults of the institution does not fulfil the anti cipations which were entertained at tie time of its establishment. Although early means were taken to give notice of their rights to nil ?entitled to the benefits of the Asylum, by orders published to the army, and by handbills sent to every post office in the United Stales, yet the aggregate number of inmates of the several branches of the Asvluin was, at the dates ot the respective annual reports, 50, 73, 77, and 87 ; in addition to the last number, six men, bavin;; families, were receiving relief without being quartered a: the Asylum. In the mean time, the treasurer's accounts sliow that the net receipts were $-41)0,140 17; that the cost of sites, buildings, furniture, stock, &C., was $280,183 75; and that, the amount of current expenses was $91,314 19. If to the current expenses of the several branches there be added interest on the cost of build ings, &c., the average cost of maintaining each inmate will be found to exceed $500?an ex pense so great as to indicate the propriety of seeking some proper mode of effecting a re duction. The buildings on the site near Washington city, with the addition thereto, now far ad vanced towards completion, will probably af ford accommodation for 150 men?a number greater than that which, judging from the past rate of increase, will seek admission into the Asylum for many years to come. The branch which was established in 1852 at East I'asc-agoula, Mississippi, has been already discontinued, and the same measure is deemed disirable wiih regard to that at liar rodsburgh, Kentucky. This branch was founded at a heavy churge upon the Asylum fund, and is maintained at an expense much exceeding the advantages conferred upon the disabled I soldier; but as it was established in conse- j quence of the provisions of law contained in ; the Army appropriation acts of August 31, 1852, section 18, and of March 3, 1853, section 14, the propriety of declaratory legislation in the case is suggested. 1 would again call attention to the propriety of additional legislation which shall place the widows and orphans of the officers and roldicrs of the army on an eqaalitj with those of the officers and sailors of the navy. I also again invite attention to the necessity of legislative provision for the more prompt settlement of the accounts of disbursing officers by intrusting to a tingle accounting officer the audit of the whole, instead of requiring disburs ing officers to render accounts to two Auditors as at present. The confusion and embarrass ment consequent upon the division of duties, involving injurious delays in final settlement, have heretofore b??cn brought lo the attention of Congress, and it is hoped that the evils rep resented will not be suffered to exist much longer. Under the appropriation, made at the last session, for the unporiation of camels, an officer of the army and one of the navy have been directed to proceed fo the East to 9btain animals of the different bretds most likely to be useful in our climate. By the kindness of the Secretary of the Navy, a storeship declined for the Mediterranean wnh naval supplies was placed at the disposal of this department, lo firing in a return targo of camels and drome daries; and from the last report received from the officer charged with the execution of the commission, it is expected that as many of these animals as the vessel will transport will be shipped for the United States in February next. Recent inquiries respecting the use of these animals in the Crimea confirm me in the belief that they will be found highly valuable in the military service in our country. For detailed information respect ing the Mili tary Academy. I refer to the reports of the Chief Engineer and of the Board of Visiters, herewith transmitted, which exhibit a satisfac tory view of the condition of that institution. 1 concur in the recommendations of ihe former, for the estab)i?hment of a new professorship, in order that the chaplain may be relieved of the dutipl of professor of ethics and English studies; for the appointment of an instructor of cavalry; and for the allowance of light artillerr I par to the instructor of nrtillery. The act of March 1G, 1802, requires that the | Corps of Engineers lie stationed at West Point I and constitute the Military Academv, and that | the Principal Engineer, and in his absence the next in rank, shall superintend the said Academy. By this act the cadets were made part of the corps, and the whole nnmber of officers and cadets was limited to twenty. Under subve qoent legislation the numlier of cadets has been | increased nearly thirty fold; and owing to this extension of the Academy, and to the demand for the services of engineers in the field and on permanent works, the affairs of the Ar ademv are mainly administered by profet-sors holding no military commissions and officers detailed from the army generally. Tims the post has ' long ceased to be exclusively an engineer sta- 1 tion, as originally contemplated, and the Chief Engineer himself, under the act establishing an Engineering Bureau in this department, Iias I been stationed at Washington, I, therefore, I 1 Ulll (11(511 <1 Slicll f'ti VWlf III ika AAt ' ? as will n?nrl ? *v,a,on ot *el in question IT w -r "2 Pr',visi""* consistent with ion iff" U,trodttceU br subsequent lt.i,U 110III Mid the necessities of .ho ser'ice. ihe sea coast. defences have during the uast \??r jcen steadily pressed toward completion ??7? """.puriKMe. J? ?o |>nrt 0f0UP Ml,|i_ -ra 1S l'?e exercise of wise foresight ToZa:ZTyth"? in tl,c Pro#ecution of E at? n t'l, refom,ne.?.l to favorable consider zr.Sssr^ot ,he Chid E?*io- upon wnil" . I,rel,ttrati?n of the armament for these works ,s mi advance of the construe,ion. J be recommendation heretofore made for ar. Shb i land " ,0 COmrnJ!"Ce tl,e Unification of ? ?P inland is renewed. The importance of H is work as connected with the dine, of the ttppnmches to .New Orleans, and (he command | ,? Nr ' .er.c'"?Miel of communication between the M.wwa.pp, r vep aild Mobj|e lmrbor .i . augmented both by the increased value of hat navigation the time of peace, and by the introduction of light draught war steamers ? . ?Peiu"ons of an enemy than J he physicalgeography of the vast region drained by the Columbia"river indicate. ftS hi^rv i.y igreat ci,y umst nri3e Ht tb* point A . V ti?,ne iU C?mme,cial entrepot. Attention has been heretofore called to the necessity of fortifying the entrance of the Columbia river, and 1 would again commend u to attention and favorable consideration. of the "OH11111"01' n reg"rd t0ll,e ?Pertttions of the Ordnance Department I refer to the accompanying report of the Colonel of Ord nance; taking occasion to renew the recommen dations I have heretofore .nude for an appro priation lor arsenals in Texas and New Mixico and on the north Pacific coust in Oregon or advisabl??ni rn,017'HS milYbe ,ound most advisable; also for a national armory for the fabrication ol cannon and projectile.". Mv views in regard to the expediency of these measures, a, heretofore gVven, remain un ? ''fftd, the reasons then advanced in support ol Hie recommendaiions remain in full force and are referred to instead of being repeated na,1i0nal nrm?ries the manufacture of smooth-bored arms has been brought to a close. New models for all small arms have been adopted upon the rifle principle, and embrac ing the improvements described iu mv last report, and it is expected thatthe armories will of Ihe year 'POn ^ "CW befaru the close w,1Ii",;he ni.e'";n time, improved ammunition, to which mainly ,s due the increased range ia3 fo tr '"I11 by s,millur,ll8> 1,as ^en issued to troops bearing grooved arms, and its us. ... actual scrv.ce has fully realized all the advantages that were anticipated. ni iTnf"-tl,C "ew. I,"0de,a f<,r sma^ arms is a pis ol of increased length of barrel, furnished w.ih an attachment to the stock, which may be ...stonily applied, and which converts it into a carbine. Should ibis prove ns valuable in h!diiitpT',Crir18 exPer>?r,ts made now indicate, no difference will be needed between he arms and equipments of dragoons and those ol light cavalry, but the whole, armed with this weapon, will be rendered, in celerity of move hS.T* I 10 i' "avnlr^ nr d i" combat, as as heavy dragoons. It is thought that Ins arm will be found, also, well adapted to the use of sappers and miners, of men working m he trenches, and of light artillerymen. Under provisions made Inst year for the purchase of breech-loading rifles, many samples of ns weapon have been examined, and a number of various patterns purchased, and placed iu he hands of troops for trial in the eld. it is deemed ind.spensable to subject ^lld^^r ^ "7 " a I be distribution of arms to the militia of the several hi ales fur the current year has been made according to representation in Congress, as prescribed by the 7,h section of ihe army appropriation act, approved March 3, 1855 ?nH ,l'ngT fl"?.,ao1 ,he district of Columbia and the Jem,ones, which bv ihe act is left to the discretion of the Execute, it nas deter? mined that the District and the Territories Should receive the quota of States having the least representation in Congress. That pro vision ofthe act which required this department to equalise, as far as practic able, the number of arms distributed to the Slates, was executed byissumg from the United Slates arsenals to each State and Territory which had received brineT ? 8!a"d tU ,n*ny Hrm9 as would bring t|)eir supply up to that number Arrangements |,av? been made to convert arms of the old model.issued to the Slates, when desired by .hem, into rifled arms of the new iTr.? I pert'US9lon lock and primer at tached; the excuse of the alteration to Ik? charged to the Slates und deduced from their ?C'vera quotas ol the appropriation for the annual supply of arms. j Under the appropriation made at the last session, editions of cavalry and light infarttrv acl.cs have been, procured for the militia, and ore in course of distribution. n/}1 I'f la#- *es*'OM 'r,f Congress nn act was passed d.reeling the Secretary of War to cause o be constructed on a site to be selected by be I res.dent of the United Stales, a suitable^ building lor the core and preservation of the ordnance and arms and accoutrements of the volunteer, and militia of the District of Colum bis, and for the c?re and preservation of ihe military trophies of the revolutionary and other and nul . 'er Prile ?f "^^"vented and model arms for the militarv service; for ! | which purpo?e the sum of $ 50 000 was appro priated. In the execution of this act, a site was j selected and a plan and specifications conforn.a f r ,l?J rr: prepared, a,:d bids 1 men! J ' hj publit A coninet has been entered into, but at so j lute a period that no progress has been made in Hie construction of the building. j ihe work npon the military roads in the ; territory of Minnesota has generally made satisfactory progress. Tho?e in Utah, Wash inglon, and Oregon, for which appropriations i were n.ac.e last ^ear, have been completed ac j cording to the plans adopted. Those for which appropriations were mad. at the last session in I ',e'rns'<;l? Washington, Oregon, and f*ex,co have not yet been put ander con I s ruction No report has yet been received of ' the completion of the necessary preliminary , 1 lie survey rf the northwestern lakes has <e<n prosecuted wiih skill and energr. The several parties employed on this work have i beet, almost exclusively engaged during the I r,,H iT'k," \i" Michigan and Superior ! and ihe St. Mary s river. A largeareahas l^en j surreyd, more than a thousand buoys have bee,, located to mark dangerous reefs and shoals, and m^terinls hate l??.n gathered for ie nnnnie and reliable charts so nccessaty to the navigai,on ol .hose inland seas. The appropriations for river and harbor im provemeni, have, wi.h few exceplio,^ been exhausted, or reduced so low as not lo be effee -ve for future operations.. Snag and dredge Hints are usually built out of npproprialions I ?r special works; and when, therefore, the fund is expended, it has Iwn deemed proper to se such boats, machinery, and materials, and apply tht proceeds to the benefit of ihe work for which the money was appropriated. be rapid deterioration and constant expose attendant on the preservation of boats does I not permit .hat ihey should be kept bevond a ' s ion period on the contingency of future an- ' propria!ions being made. Under these cir cumstances, ari(] for ren0OllBf ,||P ? boats on Ihe western rivers have been sold, and i ie amounts drawn for the construction, equip ment, and repair of those boais from the ap propnation for the respective rivers were thus made available for the improvements to which they belonged. And a like course, under like circumstances, will, have to be adopted in rela tion to the dredge.boats on the northern lakes and rousts of the Atlantic and (lull of Mexico. Under the authority given in the army appro priation act of August 4, 1854, sec. 5, to use the appropriation for the removal of the Ked river raft in such way as wpuld secure naviga tion in and around said raft,-an examination of the obstructions and surrounding locality was instituted, and a plan adopted.to secure navigation around the greater part of the raft, through Dooley's bayou, and an agent, with the necessary machinery, is employed in its execution. Reference is made to the documents accom panying <he report from the Topographical Bureau for the progress made on the improve ment of western rivers and lake harbors, the construction of military roads, and the survey of the Florida canal, and to the report of the Chief Engineer "for the work on tho Atlantic and Gulf harbors and rivers. The reports of the ollicers employed under the appropriations made for explorations nnd surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mis sissippi river to the Pacific ocean, wero sub milled to Congress on ihe '27th of February last, with a report from this department, giving a general sketch of the countiy over which they extended ; a recapitulation of their results, and u comparison of their distinguishing characteristics, from which it was concluded that, of the routes examined, the most practi cable and economical was that of the 32d par allel. A report is herewith submitted from the officer in this department charged witty the re vision of the work of the several parties, and I refer to it for additional information derived from materials collected, on a further exami nation of them, by himself, and the several officers who made the particular survey, as well as for the results of explorations carried on during the past year. When the report was made in February last, many of the maps, drawings, and scientific papers intended to form part of the report, and which could only be prepared after an elabo rate examination of the ucaterials collected, had not been completed for want of time, and it became necessary to substitute hastily pre pared drawings and preliminary reports. This was particularly the case with regard to the work on the route of the 35th parallel. A minute examination of the material collected in that survey has resulted in showing the route more practicable than it was at first rep resented to be, and in reducing to nearly one half the original estimates of the officer in charge of the survey, which indeed seemed when they were submitted to be extravagant, and were noted in the report from ibis depart ment as probably excessive. Another feature of interest developed in the course of the further examination of tho work on the route of the 32d parallel is that the Colorado deserts, which is traversed by the route for a distance of 133 miles, and which, in the report referred to, was noted as consist ing of u soil that needed only water to render it highly productive', is, in fact, the delta of the Colorado river, and, according to barometric levels, is so much lower than thai stream as to be easily irrigated from it. Thus there is every reason to believe 4,500 square miles of soil of great fertility, of which nearly one half is in our territory, inay be brought into culti vation in one unbroken tract along the route. Under tl^p appropriation made at the last session for the continuation of these surveys and other purposes, three parties have been in the field during the past season. One of these was directed to make eximina tions connected with the routes on the 32 1 and 35th parallels. This survey has greaily im proved the aspect of the former route by chang ing Ihe line for nearly half the distance be tween the Rio Grande and the Pimas villages, on the Gila river, from barren ground to cul tivable vullevs, and entirely avoiding a jornada of eighty miles, which occurs in that section : also, by the discovery of an eminently practi cable route through cultivable country from the plains of Los Angeles along the coast, and through the Salinas valley to San Francisco. Hie connection originally proposed between these points was by way of the vallwy of San Joaquin and the Great Basin. The attention of this party wns also directed to an examination into the practicability of procuring water along certain parts of the route where it is now deficient. 1 he report shows that it may be obtained by common wells at distances of about twenty miles. From the result of this exploration, moreover, it appears practicable to obtain, at a rmall ex pense, a good wagon rond, supplied with water by common wells from the Rio Grande down the San Pedro and Gila, and across the Col orado desert. Such a road would be of great advantage in military operations, would facili tate the transportation of the mail across that country, and-relieve emigrants pursuing that route from much of the difficulty and suffering which they now encounter. A second party was charged with the duty of testing the practicability of procuring water by artesian wells on the Llano Fstacado, an arid plain which has been heretofore described ns a desert. The experiment has so far de monstrated its practicability as to leave little doubt of its finnl success; it will l>e continued, however, until the problem shall have been full* solved. The examinations into the feasibility of causing subterranean streams to flow upon the surface from artesian wells, though undertaken in connection with the practicability of a rail road, if they should prove entirely successful, will have a value beyond their connection with that object, in the reclamation of a region which is now n waste, and its adaptation to the pastoral and perhaps the agricultural uses of | man. The third party was directed to conduct an exploration from the Sacramento to the Co lumbia tmr, wnh a view to ascertain the prsc ticablityof a route to connect the valleys of those rivers. The (Hirer in charge has re t.nr'ed the successful completion of the duty, but ha* not given details. The same officer ha* been directed to m ike a recontioissance of the Sierra Nevad/i in the vicinity of the head branches of the Carbon river. The prosecution of instrumental surveys, nc Companicd by investigation into many branches of physical science simultaneously over lines of such length, and embracing such an extent of latitude, is a work of greater mngnitnde than any of the kind hitherto undertaken by any na tion, nnd its results have not only proved com mensurate with the amount of work done, but possess a value peculiar to the scale on which it has l>een conducted, as affording a basis for the determination of some questions of science which no number of smaller and detached ex plorations could have furnished. Should means lie granted, pursuant to the estimate in the re port referred to, for continuing these explora tions, 1 have every confidence that the expend iture will be well repaid by these contributions to our knowledge of the interior of the country. The facts developed by these surveys, added to other information which we possess, suggest some considerations of great interest with re gard to our territory on the Pacific. They ex hibit it as a narrow slope of an average width of less than 150 miles of cultivable land, skirt ing the ocean for a distance of 1,000 miles; rich in those mineral productions which are tempting even beyond their valu*, and which would be most readily turned to the use of an invader; drained by two rivors of wide-spread branches, and with sea ports lying so directly upon the ocean that a hostile fleet could com mence an attack upon any one of them within a few hours after being described from lahd ; or if fortified against attack, so few in number, that comparatively few ships would suffice to blockade them. This territory is nwt moro remote from the principal Kuropean States than from those parts of our own country whence it would derive its military supplies, arid some of those Suites have colonics nml possessions on the Pacific, which would greatly facilitate their oprrutions against it. With these advantages, and those which the attacking force always has of choice, of time and place, uii enemy possessing a consid erable military marine could, with compara tively Kttle cost to himself, subject us to en ormous expenses in giving to our Pacific fron tier that protection which it is the duty of the General Government to afford. In the first years of a war with any great maritime power the communication by aea could not be idled upon for the transportation of supplies from the Atlantic to the Pacific States. Gur naval peace establishment would not furnish adequate convoys for the number of storeships which it would be necessary to em ploy, and storeships alone laden with supplies could not undertake a voyage of twenty thous and miles, passing numerous neutrul ports, where an enemy's armed vessels even of the smallest size, might lie in wait to intercept them. The only line of communication then would be over-land, and by this it would be imprac ticable, with any means heretofore used, to furnish the amount of supplies required for the defence of the Pacific frontier. At the present prices over the best part of this route, the ex pense of land transportation alone for tbc an nual supplies of provisions, clothing, camp equipage, and ammunition for such an army as il would be necessary to maintain there, would exceed $20,000,000; the land transpor tation of each field 12 pounder, with a due supply of ammunition for one year, would cost $2,500 ; of each 24 pounder and ammunition, $0,000 ; and of a sea-coast gun and ammuni tion, $12,000. The transportation of ammu nition for a year for 1,000 sea-const guns would cost $10,000,000. But the expense of trans portation would be vastly increased by a war; and at the rales that were paid on the northern frontier during the last war with Great Britain, the above estimates would be trebled. The time required for the overland journey would be from four to six months. In point of fact, however, supplies for such an army could not be transposed across the continent. On the arid and barren belts to be crossed, the limited quantities of water and grass would soon be exhausted by the numerous draught animals required for heavy trnins, and over such dis tances forage could not be carried for their sub sistence. Gn the other hand, the enemy would send out his supplies at from one seventh tp one twentieth the above rales, and in less time, perhaps in one-fourth the time, if lie should obtain command of the isthmus routes. Any reliance, therefore, upon furnishing that part of our frontier with means of defence from the Atlantic and interior States after the com mencement of hostilities would be vain ; and the next resource would be to accumulate there such amount of stores and supplies ns would suflice during the continuance of the contest, or until we could obtain command of the sea. Assigning but a moderate limit to this period, the expense would yet be enormous. The fortifications, depots, and storehouses would necessarily be on the largest scale, and the cost of placing supplies there for five y^ars would amount to nearly $100,000,000. Tn many respects the cost during peace would be equivalent to that during war. The perishable character of many articles would render it per haps impracticable to put provisions in depot for such a length of time, and in any case there would be deterioration amounting to some millions of dollars per year. These considerations, and others of a strictly military character, cause the department to ex amine with interest all projects promising the accomplishment of a railroad communication between the navigable waters of the Missis sippi and those of the Pacific ocean. As mili tary operations depend in a greater decree upon rapidity and certainty of movement than upon any other circumstance, the introduc tion of railway transportation has greatly improved the means of defending our At lantic and inland frontiers; and, to give us a sense of security from attack upon the most exposed portion of our territory, it is re quisite that the facility of railroad transpor tation should be extended to the Pacific coast. Were such a road completed, our Pacific coast, instead of being further removed in time and less accessible to u# than to an enemy, would be brought within a few days of easy commu nication, and the cost of supplying an army there, instead of being many times greater to us than to him, would be nbout equal. We would be relieved of the necessity of accumu lating large supplies on that coast, to waste, perhaps, through long years of peace, and we could feel entire confidence that, let war come, when and with whom it may, before a hostile expedition could reach tlfht exposed frontier an ample force could be placed thereto repel any attempt at invasion. From the results <tf the aurvevs authorized by Congress, we derive at least the assurance that the work is practicable, and mav dismiss ihe apprehensions which, previously, we conld not but entertain as to the possibility of defend ing our Pacific territory through a long war with a powerful maritime enemy. I ho judgment which may be formed ns to the prospect of its completion must control our future plans for the military defence of that frontier, and any plan for the purpose which should leave that consideration out of view would be as imperfect as if it should disregard all those other resources with which commerce and art aid the operations of armies. Vi helher we shall depend on private capital" and enterprise alone for. the early establish ment of railroad communication, or ?hall pro mote its construction by such aid ns the gene ral government may constitutioiinlly give; whether we shall rely on. the continuance of peace until the increase of the population and resources of the Pacific States shall render them independent of aid from those of the At lantic slope and Misiissippi valley; or whether we shall n4opt the extensive system of defence above referred to, are questions of public policy which belongs to Congress to decide. Beyond the direct employment of sueh a road for military purposes, it has other rela tions to all the great interests of our confede racy, political, commercial, and social, the prosperity of which essentially contributes to the common defence. Of these it is not my purpose to treat further than to point to the additional resources which it would develop, and the increase of population which must attend upon giving such fucility of communi cation to a country so templing to enterprise, much of which having most valuable products is beyond reach of mnrket. I refer to the reports of the officer in charjre of the Capitol and Post Office extensions for detailed information in regard to those works I he progress of the former has been serisouslv retarded in consequence of deficiency in the supply of marble tor the exterior. The work is, however, so far advanced that the interior finish must now be considered. The original plan and estimate was fur a finish similar to that of the main building, but this style would not be a fair sample of the present state of architectural skill, and it is supposed would not fulfil the wish of Congress; it has, therefore, been thought proper to have prepared for inspection specimens of en caustic tiling, instead of brick and sand stone, for the floor; of painting, instead of white-washing, for the wnlls and ceilings. I lieso and other contemplated improvements, not included in the original plan nnd esti mates, may be introduced to a greater or less extent, as Congress may provide. Modifica tions have already been made, such as the in troduction of ornamental iron ceilings in the principal rooms, the substitution of iron for wood in the frames for the roofs nnd the doors and windows of the basement story, an in creased thickness of the marble in the walls specially provided for by law, and a costly and extensive corridor required by the plan, but not contained in the original estimate. At the last session Congress adopted a plan and made an appropriation for a new dome to the Capitol. No estimate of the cost of the work had been submitted,.nor has any yet been prepared. In fact, at tLat time only the exte rior had been studied, and a sketch mado showing the general effect of the whole build ing as completed. The study of the details has siuce been entered into, and I refer to the re port of the officer in charge for a narrative of his operations, as well as for a full description of the contemplated structure, which promises to be an object of rare architectural beauty. The resources exhibited in the machinery de signed to raise the enormous masses of iron composing the dome, and to place them accu rately in their elevated positions, reflect the highest ciedit upon the capacity and skill as an engineer of the officer in charge of the work. Notwithstanding a very unhealthy season, the work on the aqueduct designed to supply this city with water has been prosecuted suc cessfully, and to the extent of the means ap propriated. A larger appropriation will be asked, in order to realize the benefits of this great enterprise as early and as economirially as possible. Should the appropriation bo granted at an early period in the session, the operations can be continuously carried on; but if it should be delayed until the usual period of making the annual appropriations, the spring?the most favorable season for work? will be lost, and the operation be again sub jected to interruptions resulting from the au tumnal diseases which prevail in the locality. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JEFF'N DAVIS, Secretary of War. To the President of the United States. Congressional. TIIIBTY-FOURTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION. Tuesday, January 15, 1850. The Senate was noi in session lo day. House of Representatives. The Clerk called the House to order at twelve o'clock', and the Journal of yesterday was rend. Mr VALK, of" New York, moved that there be call of the IIou*e ; which motion did not pre vail?yea-< S5. nays 107. Mr "QUITMAN, of Mississippi, who had yes terday withheld his vote from Mr. Richardson, nave the r. a-oa? why he should cheerlully and heartily support that gentleman so long us there should he any pnspect of his election. The llouse then resumed the business ot vot ,.ig for Speaker, when the one hundred and twelfth vote was had; and resulted as follows: Mr. Banks pJ Fuller. ^ Pennington. ? Scattering " Whole number of voles -07 Necessary to a choice 101 No person having received a majority of the whole number of voles given, there was no elec tion. . Mr. MILLSON. of Virginia, dure g the preced ing ballot, remarked tha* he had been supporting, Mr. Richardson lor npwardsof six weeks, during which time he had voied lor him more than oua hundred limes. lie had thus given proof, which perhaps in the history of the world had never be fore been given, of his sincere desire to elect ihat gentleman lo the high position lor which lie had been proposed as a candidate. On which party or on what person 'he blijme of the failure to eb ct might fall, or whether on any^ it would bo vain t > inquire. One thing lie did know: that there was a separate and equal responsibility upon ev< ry member to elect the necexsary officers ol thu Hou-e. in order that they might proceed to the di-patch ol ihe public, business. He did not agree with those gentlemen who had said that they would vole for nunc other than Mr. Richardson, nor with those who, if ihey haJ not said so in words, had at leasi proclaimed in their votes their determination to vote for none other than Mr. Ba^k* and Mr. Fullf.u. He did not concur in ihe opinion, which had been several times ex pressed here, that ihe Government might b- car ried on very successfully even though ihe Hou-e might fill to effect au organization. He thought that such an ex|>erimeni would be apt to f ill; he certainly did not wish it to be a successful one. A Kmc ol Ei gland once endeavored to carry on ihe Government without the aid of Parliament, but the people decided ihat he should not. He <lid not wish an American President io be more suc cessful than was the king to whom he had re ferred. ? There were many gentlemen in the House lor whom he would cheerlully vote There were others for whom, if not cheerfully, he would will ingly vote. He did not, then, in again giving hi* vote for Mr. Richardso.i, wish to be considered aa in any degree approving the determination of gentleman io vole for none other than him. Hu had voted for that genl'eman most cheerfully *nd earnestly, but had never intended that Ins vol* should be regarded as a ratification or approval of the opinions entei latned by the honorable member from Illinois. The gentleman and himself differed, but this did not in any degree lessen his con 8 tlrnce in hi* integrity, ability 4iont**iy. Hut, as he had under-lood ihat those gentlemen with whom he had ?>eeii a?sociated had declared lhal they would adheie lo the original nominee of their ciuciia.be had ri-en merely to protect himself from the inference that he approved iheir deter mination. lo the extent, perhap*, of allowing ihe affairs cf the Government, foreign and domestic, to fall inio confusion rather than ihat the Hour* should be organized under the leadership '>1 any other than that of a ceriai:i gentleman. Cut hi* single vote, given lo any other gentleman, would not l>e likely lo be fell or to produce any success ful result, He was willing now, as he had always been, to aid in any proper conservative organiza tion ol ihe House ; and, in again voting I <r Mr. RiChar naoji, he wished it lo be understood that he was in no wise committed to the line ol policy which seemed to oblige gentlemen to pu.sue n single cour?e. but Hood free to dispose of his voto where it could be effectively felt. He thought that too much importance had been a*l ached to ths question of* he choice of a S|?esker. The Speaker Was not the represenlsti ve of gentle men on this floor, and they did not become his constituents It was not absolutely necessary ? lint he should concur in opinion wiih them upon a l questions. The Speaker was the represents, live of his district, and wou'd re'matn such slier his elevation to the chair. They were not, then, his constituents, and had no right to exact Ironi him a rigid conformny to iheir individual views. One thing was certain, that if the Speaker was to l?e the representative of principle, then they would never tiave a Speaker; for there was no principle which controlled a majority of the members of ihe Hou-e. Mr. WASHBURN, of Maine, submitted the fol lowing re*oluiion: That the House will proceed im mediately to the election of a speaker vtra rocr, and if, alter the roll shall have Wen called three limes iio member ahsll have received a majority of ihe v hole number of votes, the roll shall aga.n be ended, an?l the member who shsll thvn receive the largest number of votes provided it l~e a msjorily of a quorum, shall be ihe Speaker of ihe House of Representatives of Ihe thirty fourth Congre??. M r JO NFS, of Tennessee, anpposed that eveiy meml?er's n ind was made upas io ihe resolution, and he therefore suggested lo the gentleman from Maine that he call tne previous question Mr. WASHBURN replied thai it was hi* intention to call the previous question; but as the genilemsn from North Carolina desired t? say a single word he would refrain from doing so at present. Mr. CL1NOMAN desired io say a word in explanation of the rote ha should give on the pending resolution. So far as the adoption of the plurality rule was concerned, he could see no obpction to it in principle. It was a mere proposition to change I he.mode of election. T li? y might ad.ipt the majority ru e at one time, and at another they might adopt the plurality rule, as had recently l>een tione in many of the States. J'eel ing a strong anxiety to see the Ilotise organized, he had felt willing to change the law and allow an election by ihe plurality rule. But although he hud repeatedly expressed the opinion that the House had better adopt ihat rule, he now le'l at libeny to do as he pleased on this as on all other questions of expediency. For two weeks previous io Saturday lust he was in favor of and had endeavored to gel his friends to adopt the plurality rule, and ihua allow the majority to effect an