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For pay of officers and seamen in commission, superintendents and
civil officers, and all others, at all the establishments, about..
Total for the navy branch....
60, 000 120,000 390, 000
3, 850, 000
If the marines are continued as a part of the naval establishment, instead of substituting ordinary seamen and landsmen for them in vessels, and watchmen in navy yards, and transferring the marines to the army as artillery, as has sometimes been suggested, the sum of about $400,000 annually will be required for that corps.
To determine the annual amount which it may be necessary to appropriate to prepare the vessels and reserve frames and other materials which have been proposed, some time must be assumed within which they shall be prepared. Believing that reference to the ability of the treasury to meet the probable demands upon it, for all the purposes of the government, must necessarily be considered in determining what amount may be allotted to the navy, the board have examined the reports of the Secretary of the Treasury, and respectfully propose to establish the ordinary annual appropriation for the navy, including the ordnance, at seven millions of dollars.
The operation of such annual appropriations may be seen by the following recapitulation of the proposed heads of expenditure: For the force in commission and its dependencies, as before stated $3, 850, 000 The average appropriation for navy yards...
500,000 For the repairs and wear and tear of vessels.
950, 000 For building vessels and purchase of materials.
Total for the navy proper.. For the marine corps...
By the adoption of this gross sum for the navy and its dependencies, and the other items as proposed, $1,300,000 would be annually applied to increasing the number of our vessels and the purchase of materials; and, with this annual expenditure, the deficiency of $17,760,000 would not be supplied sooner than between thirteen and fourteen years, or at about the year 1850. The board consider this as the most remote period at which the proposed force ought to be ready, and are of opinion that it might be prepared much sooner, should Congress deem it necessary or advisable to make larger appropriations than have been suggested.
The board have expressed the opinion that no more vessels should be launched than are absolutely necessary to meet the demands for the force to be kept in commission; but, as a necessary consequence, they recommend that the other additional force should be in such a state of readiness that it may be launched and equipped by the time that men could be obtained for it. This arrangement renders an early attention to the completion of all the building-slips, ship-houses, and launching way, at the different yards, so that the ships may be built, and that our docks, wharves, workshops, and storehouses should be finished ; that our ships may be equipped with the greatest economy and despatch whenever they may be required.
Before concluding this report the board would respectfully offer some remarks upon the form of the appropriations, and suggest some attention to esisting acts of Congress.
By the separate acts for the gradual increase of the navy; for the gradual improvement of the navy; for building and rebuilding different vessels, altogether seven in number; each appropriation is rendered separate and distinct, although the general object is the same, and requires the use of the same kinds of materials. It is necessary, in conformity to the law of the 3d of March, 1809, that the vouchers, receipts, expenditures, and accounts of each should be kept separately; and, in strictness, no article purchased for one can be applied to the use of another, however desirable or economical such use may be.
It is suggested, therefore, for consideration, whether it might not be very advantageous for Congress to determine, by some general act or resolution, the number and classes of vessels which the President might be authorized to have built, or for which materials might be procured, and then appropriate specially the amounts which might be devoted to those objects, and for keeping the force afloat in repair, under the general head of “For building and repairing vessels, and for purchase of materials and stores."
The adoption of some such plan, and removing the special restrictions which now exist, and requiring, as at present, detailed estimates for the current repairs and reports of proceedings in building vessels and for purchase of materials, would, it is believed, greatly simplify and diminish the number of accounts at the Treasury Department and in all the navy yards, without infringing in any degree the principle of special appropriations; would furnish to Congress ail the information they now receive, and would enable us at all times to use those materials which are best prepared and most appropriate for the different objects for which they might be wanted.
The board beg leave, also, respectfully to state their opinion of the necessity for the services of a competent civil engineer for the navy to furnish plans and estimates for all hydraulic and civil objects, and to have a general superintendence of their construction under the direction of the department. The particular character of these works requires the supervision of such a person, not less from motives of economy in the ordinary expenditures than from the more important consideration of their proper arrangement, solidity of construction, and durability. All which is respectfully submitted.
JNO. RODGERS. Hon. M. DickeRSON,
Secretary of the Navy.
as a reserve.
A. Upon the supposition that the naval force to be so prepared that it might be equipped for sea at short notice shall consist of 15 ships-of-the-line, 25 frigates, 25 sloops-of-war, 25 steamers, and 25 smaller vessels; and that the frames and other durable materials shall be provided for 10 ships-of-the-line and 10 frigates
The following statement shows the total number and character of the armaments which the whole force will require, the number which can be furnished from the ordnance on hand, and the number which will be still required:
For ships of line. Frigates. Sloops. Steamers. S. V. Total number required.
35 25 25 25 On hand for.....
22 16 00 12
Besides the bomb-cannon, guns, and carronades for these armaments, there would be required shot, shells, small arms, pistols, and cutlasses, and a supply of powder sufficient for equipping a strong force in case of a sudden emergency.
The cost of these objects may be estimated as follows: Armaments for 14 ships-of-the-line, at $45,000 each..
$630,000 Armaments for 13 frigates, at $16,500 each.
214, 500 Armaments for 9 sloops, at $6,000 each...
54, 000 Armaments for 25 steamers, at $3,000 each.....
75, 000 Armaments for 13 smaller vessels, at $1,500 each..
For guns, bomb-cannon, and carronades, 100 shot to each gun, and
200 shells to each bomb-cannon, and shells for guns.. 8,000 muskets... 3,500 pairs of pistols 8,000 cutlasses .. 9,000 barrels of powder..
427,000 100,000 43, 750 34, 000 202, 500
1, 800, 250
[Ho. REPs., Ex. Doc. No. 206, 26TH CONGRESS, 1st SESSION.]
LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY OF WAR, TRANSMITTING, IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE RESOLUTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, A SYSTEM OF NATIONAL DEFENCE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL FOUNDERIES.
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 12, 1840. Sir: In reply to so much of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th ultimo, requesting the Department of War “to lay before this House, as soon as practicable, a report of a full and connected system of national defence, embracing steam and other vessels-of-war, and Hoating batteries' for coast and harbor defence, and national founderies, and the internal means, auxiliary to these, for transportation and other warlike uses, by land, and that he be requested to furnish this House with the reports submitted to his department at any time by Major General Edmund P. Gaines, or other person or persons of professional experience, of their plans of defence,' if any such have been submitted, with the views of the Secretary of War thereon; and that the Secretary furnish an estimate of the expenses of his own and other plans he may report, distinguishing such parts of plans as ought to be immediately adopted and prosecuted, with the probable cost and time of their prosecution and completion:" I have the honor to transmit the accompanying reports of a board of officers, assembled to examine the subject, and to present a connected plan of defence for the maritime and inland frontiers of the United States.
On submitting these reports, I should have considered my duty discharged, had not the resolution required me to give an opinion with regard to the several plans of national defence presented to the department, and to furnish a comparative statement of the cost of each. The plan presented to Congress by Major General Gaines, which will be found in the accompanying printed document, and that now submitted from the board of officers, are the only ones that have been brought to the notice of the department. On the subject of the former, I
beg leave to state that, with every respect for the experience of the gallant author, I am constrained to differ from him when he proposes to abandon the system of permanent defences as obsolete, and to rely entirely upon the expedients of vast floating batteries and extensive lines of railroads. The accompanying reports of the board of navy commissioners and the chief topographical engineer exhibit the probable cost of carrying out the general's plans, which far exceeds that of constructing permanent works of defence, without being in any manner so well calculated to protect the country.
After a careful and anxious investigation of a subject involving in so high a degree the safety and honor of the country, I fully concur in the opinions expressed by the board of the superiority of permanent works of defence over all other expedients that have yet been devised, and of their absolute necessity if we would avoid the danger of defeat and disgrace-a necessity rather increased than diminished by the introduction of steam batteries and the use of hollow shot. It would, in my opinion, prove a most fatal error to dispense with them, and to rely upon our navy alone, aided by the number, strength, and valor of the people to protect the country against the attacks of an enemy possessing great naval means. To defend a line of coast of three thousand miles in extent, and effectually to guard all the avenues to our great commercial cities and important naval depots, the navy of the United States must be very superior to the means of attack of the most powerful naval power in the world, which will occasion an annual expense this country is not now able to bear; and this large naval armament, instead of performing its proper function as the sword of the state in time of war, and sweeping the enemy's commerce from the seas, must be chained to the coast or kept within the harbors.
It has been clearly demonstrated that the expense of employing a sufficient body of troops, either regulars or militia, for a period of even six months, for the purpose of defending the coast against attacks and feints that might be made by an enemy's fleet, would exceed the cost of erecting all the permanent works deemed necessary for the defence of the coast. One hundred thousand men divided into four columns, would not be more than sufficient to guard the vulnerable points of our maritime frontier, if not covered by fortifications. An amount of force against an expedition of 20,000 men, which, if composed of regulars would cost the nation $30,000,000 per annum, and if militia, about $40,000,000; and, supposing only one-half the force to be required to defend the coast with the aid of forts properly situated and judiciously constructed, the difference of expense for six months would enable the government to erect all the most necessary works. This calculation is independent of the loss to the nation by abstracting so large an umount of labor from the productive industry of the country, and the fearful waste of life likely to result from such a costly, hazardous, and harassing system of defence.
It must be recollected, too, that we are not called upon to try a new system, but to persevere in the execution of one that has been adopted after mature de liberation, and that is still practiced in Europe on a much more axtensive scale than is deemed necessary here; so much more so, that there exist there single fortresses, each of which comprises more extensive and stronger works than is here proposed for the whole line of our maritime frontier. We must bear in mind, also, that the destruction of some of the important points on that frontier would alone cost more to the nation than the expense of fortifying the whole line would amount to, while the temporary occupation of others would drive us into expenses far surpassing those of the projected works of defence.
The organization of permanent defences proposed by the board for cur frontiers is not upon military and naval considerations alone, but is calculated to protect the internal navigation of the country. The fortifications proposed, at the same time that they protect our coast from the danger of invasion, and defend the principal commercial avenues and naval establishments, cover the
whole line of internal navigation, which, in time of war, will contribute in so essential a manner to the defence of the country by furnishing prompt and economical means of transportation; so that, while the main arteries which conduet our produce to the ocean are defended at their outlets, the interior navigation, parallel to the coast, is protected, and a free communication kept up between every part of the Union.
Although this department is fully aware of the importance of affording permanent and as perfect protection as may be possible to the whole coast, it regards that section embraced by the shores of the Gulf of Mexico as the most exposed and the most important. It is true that the coast to the eastward of Cape Hatteras possesses points that may attract the attention of an enemy, and that, in the present state of things, the chances of success would justify a hostile enterprise, and are much greater than a wise provision would allow to exist. It is equally so, that, however difficult of access the coast may be from Cape Hatteras to Florida, the nature of a part of its population, and the facility afforded to an enemy by its present neglected condition to blockade and annoy the prin cipal outlets of the valuable exports of that important portion of our country, require our early attention; still, the means of defence from Maine to Florida may be united together, and the parts may afford mutual succor to each other. But the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, on the contrary, is insulated and apart, and must depend altogether upon its own resources. It constitutes the maritime frontier not only of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and of West Florida, but of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois, and the Territories of Wisconsin and Iowa, embracing nearly three-fourths of the territory of the United States; and it must be borne in mind that the evils which would result from the temporary occupation of the delta of the Mississippi, or from a successful blockade of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, would not only injure the prosperity of these States, but would deeply affect the interests of the whole Union; and no reasonable expense, therefore, ought to be spared to guard against such a casualty.
Although it would appear on a superficial view, to be a gigantic and almost impracticable project to fortify such an immense extent of coast as that of the United States, and difficult, if not impossible, to provide a sufficient force to garrison and defend the works necessary for that purpose, yet the statements contained in the reports of the board remove these objections entirely. The coast of the United States throughout its vast extent has but few points which require to be defended against a regular and powerful attack. A considerable portion of it is inaccessible to large vessels, and only exposed to the depredations of parties in boats and small vessels-of-war; against which inferior works and the combination of the same means and a well-organized local militia will afford sufficient protection. The only portions which require to be defended by permanent works of some strength are the avenues to the great commercial cities and naval and military establishments, the destruction of which would prove a serious loss to the country, and be regarded by an enemy as an equivalent for the expense of a great armament. It is shown, also, that the number of men required, on the largest scale, for the defence of these forts, when compared with the movable force that would be necessary without them, is inconeiderable. The local militia, aided by a few regulars, and directed by engineer and artillery officers, may, with previous training, be safely intrusted with their defence in time of war.
It cannot be too earnestly urged that a much smaller number of troops will be required to defend a fortified frontier than to cover one that is entirely unprotected, and that such a system will enable us, according to the spirit of our institutions, to employ the militia effectually for the defence of the country. It is no reproach to this description of force, and no imputation on their courage, to state what the experience of two wars has demonstrated—that they cannot