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jesty addressed to him on the 28th instant, respecting suspicious! merits made on board of the steamer Fanny at New York.

He has now the honor to communicate to Uon A. Calderon de la B a copy of a letter of yesterday's date, which was addressed by him tc United States district attorney at New Orleans, on the subject of Mr. deron's note.

The undersigned, <fcc, &c.

DANIEL WEBSTE]

Don A. Calderon De La Barca,

tij'c, 6fc, of Spain, Washington.

Secretary of State to the United States District Attorney and Collecti

New Orleans.

Department Op State,

Washington, January 29, 1 S3 Sir: On the 21st instant I sent to you and to the collector of New leans special instructions on the subject of the suspected steamer Far about to sail from New York to your port. On the 28th instant I despatr a telegraphic note to you upon the same subject. And I now trans for the use and information of both, a copy of a note in reference to matter, which was received yesterday from the minister of Spain, which you.will find throws light upon the alleged participation of vessel in the new design to strike at Cuba.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

DANIEL WEBSTEF Logan Hunton, Esq.,

U. S. District Attorney, New Orleans.

[graphic]

U Session. No. 42.

i

REPORT

OF

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

COMMUNICATING

i <*py of W. H. SideWs survey of a route for a railroad from the Great Bend, on Red river, to Providence, on the Mississippi river.

February 28,1851.
Ordered to be printed.

War Department, Washington, February 27, 1851. Sir: In compliance with the Senate's resolution of the 26th instant, I hare the honor, herewith, to transmit to you a copy of the report of W. H. Sidell, esq., civil engineer, of the survey of a route for a railroad from the Great Bend, on Red river, to Providence, on the Mississippi river, Louisiana.

With great regard,your obedient servant,

C. M. CONRAD, Secretary of War. Hon. Wm. R. King,

President of the Senate.

Bureau Op Topographical Engineers,

Washington, February 27, 1851.

Sir: In answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 26th instant, I have the honor of transmitting, herewith, a copy of the report of W. H. Sidell, esq., civil engineer, of a survey of a route for a road from the Great Bend, ou Red river, to Providence, on the Mississippi river, Louisiana. Respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

J. J. ABERT, Colonel Corps Topographical Engineers. Hon. CM. Conrad,

Secretary of War.

Washington, D. C, November 30, 1850. Sir: Having been engaged by you, under the appropriation for the "survey of routes from the valley of the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean," to examine-so much of the route as lies between the lower Mississippi, in Louisiana, and the Great Bend of Red river, in Arkansas, and having completed the work, I have now the honor to report:

Early in April I left Washington for the work, and on arriving at Louisville with my principal assistants, Messrs. J. K. Ford and S. Thayer Abert, proceeded to procure the equipment for the survey there. The floods of the Mississippi at that time covering the whole bottom land, it became impracticable to commence the survey at that extremity of the line, as originally intended; and, with your assent, I concluded to begin at the other end and work eastward. The party was accordingly despatched to Fulton, by the way of the Red river, near which point I joined them, having taken my route by the way of the Arkansas river and the road from Little Rock to Washington, in Arkansas.

The party had been at work a week when I joined them, from which time I continued in direction of the work.

The country traversed between the Red river and the Washita is hilly. Between the Washita and the Mississippi level it may be described more particularly thus: At Fulton the Red river is about eight hundred feet wide, with banks about as high as the level of high water, and presenting no obstacle to bridging. The course of the river is at first south, and afterwards east.

At about a quarter of a mile back from the margin of the river the ground rises abruptly twenty-five feet to a table-land, which continues to the Bois d'Arc (or Boclock) river, about eight miles, as we ran obliquely down the Red River valley.

This stream runs southerly and enters the Red river about ten miles below Fulton. Beyond the Bois d'Arc the country is hilly, with frequent appearances of rock. The Bodcom and Dorcheat are two other streams running southerly into the Red river; the first of which we cross at twenty, the last at forty miles from Fulton, as we ran; and these are the last Upper Red river streams which we meet.

After these there are two. other streams, running eastwardly towards the Washita—the D'Arbonne Op the south, or our right, and the Smacovert on the north, or our left.' Presently the D'Arbonne inclines to the southeast, and the heads of another stream appear—the Loutre, which runs southeasterly into the Washita, and of course enters that stream above the D'Arbonne; then conies the Washita, running southerly; and near where we cross it the bayou Bartholomew enters it, from a general 11 tion of northeast, although for the last three miles of its course it bent from its general direction as to enter the Washita from the southeast; the Washita and Bartholomew being both navigable. .V point on the Washita the hilly country, with rock, ends, allu

vial " bottom"' of the Mississippi begins, but at a'
the bed of the Washita. Thence up i
mew, tho land is above water at al
leave this stream, the country^

Two or three miles beyjjj
off suddenly, at a plac
Prairie Mer Rouge, f

[graphic]

f below the level of the prairie, the "swamp," or land subject to overflow, appears. Several streams, rivers, bayous, and sloughs, traverse this "swarnp," Tunning southerly, and there are occasionally points and ridges above even the highest waters. The names of the chief of these streams are given in the order in which they are met; they are theGallion and Bonne Idee bayous, the De Hart swale, the Bosuf river, all of which run together into and through the lake and bayou La Fourche: the Couloirs and bayou Mason, the last being a navigable stream, coming from abcre the Arkansas line, and joining the Tensas about eighty miles below, whence they run together into the Washita, at Trinity. Between the Couloirs and the bayou Mason is a stretch of land, twelve miles in extent, higher by three or four feet than the swamp, and always above water. This ground is inhabited and cultivated, and, according to the evidence of the well-diggers, has a substratum of rock. It is called the "Mason Hills," and, increasing in height as we proceed eastward, terminates in a bluff on the bayou Mason. These hills are said to extend north" and south many miles, though not at all places above the floods, or continuously above the ordinary swamp, as we found them on our line. Beyond the bayou Mason the swamp land continues eight and three-quarter miles, to\he bank of Lake Providence, fomierly a bend of the Mississippi, but now a pretty crescent-shaped lake, with its banks above the highest floods, and beautifully cultivated. Between the bayou Mason and the lake are several streams running from the lake, the principal of which are Baxter's bayou, Drew's bayou, and the Tensas. At the foot of the lake, on the bank of the Mississippi river, stands the town of Lake Providence, the terminus of our work, but the commencement of the southern route from toe valley of the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean.

I have described the country in the order in which we surveyed it, as it is not an independent work, but the first link of a line to the Pacific. I will discuss the location in the reverse order—that is, beginning at the Mississippi and running westward.

The line run over the ground above described, and the reasons which influenced us in adopting it, may be stated thus:

The proper place for crossing the Washita was assumed to be just below the mouth of bayou Bartholomew, which is much further south than would be by a straight line drawn from Lake Providence to Fulton; but above that point the river has much bottom land subject to overflow, as is particularly the case near the State line, where, for an extent of sixty miles, there is no landing place from this cause. Besides this, it was an •object to avoid an expensive bridge to cross the Bartholomew, which, being a navigable stream, would require a draw. Hence we aimed for the most direct practicable route from Providence to the mouth of the Bartholomew, and thence to Fulton. As my orders required an examination with reference to a railroad, as well as to a common road, I will discuss the first, on which a detailed estimate has been made, and from which the location and cost of a common road may be deduced.

By much inquiry it was ascertained that the most favorable point for leaving the Mississippi river in that vicinity was at Lake Providence, about seventy miles above Vicksburg, as the Mississippi swamp is here comparatively narrow, and, for a portion of the distance, some elevated land is found. Many emigrants for the southwest pass through Lake Providence, and the route seems to be generally recognised as a proper one. The town is on the river bank, at the foot of an old bend of the river, now a lake, and is a pleasant place of about five hundred inhabitants. Behind the town is the " swamp," intersected by several bayous, on the elevated margins of which are some fine plantations. The banks of the lake, being above water, have several beautiful residences. No plan is proposed different from those in ordinary use for the depot at the Mississippi terminus.

Suggestions have been made for opening an entrance from the river to the lake, and establishing the depot on its bank; but, although this would give a very excellent basin, difficulties, arising from the great rise and fall of the river, its swift current and the loose character of the soil forming its banks, will prevent any measure of this kind being attempted without mature reflection. A good wharf-boat, securely moored, with inclined planes reaching from its deck to the level of the ground above, will be sufficient, at least for the beginning. This arrangement is not worse than the simple hoisting common at many important depots. Sufficient depot accommodation may then be formed on the level of the village, and in its immediate vicinity. From this point we carry the line along the bank of the lake, which runs favorably for three miles; thence into the swamp, which extends to the bayou Mason, and which is called the "Mason swamp." Through this swamp several streams flow, which are escapes from the lake: the principal are the bayous Tensas and Batu. They will be crossed by bridges, as 1 propose for all the streams, large and small, which run through the swamp, the reasons for which will be given hereafter. Across the Mason swamp to the bayou Mason is eight miles and three-quarters, and the height of embankment will vary from five to twelve feetj although there are but few points where it will be so high as that last named.

We cross the bayou Mason, near the present ferry, by a bridge of one hundred feet span, and abutments forty feet high. The Mason is a stream of considerable magnitude, flowing from Arkansas; and, as it is navigable to and above the place where we propose crossing, the bridge should be provided with a draw. Beyond bayou Mason, we meet the elevated lands called the "Mason hills," before spoken of. They form a bluff on the bayou, and extend twelve miles on one course, entirely above the highest water, and therefore requiring little cost for constructing a road over them.

On leaving these hills, we cress the branches of a slough called "the Couloirs," which branches unite at a short distance below our line, forming there a proper bayou. From this point we encounter the swamp* again, which continues ten miles and a quarter, crossing the Bamf river at five miles and a half, and " De Hart's swale " at nine miles, from the Couloirs. The Boeuf river is one hundred feet wide, and the water rises about thirty feet It ,is proposed to cross it.about half a mile below the present ferry, on the plantation of Mr. Rash. It will require a bridge of one hundred feet span, with abutments thirty-five feet high. This river and the bayou Mason have regular channels, and the water at its ordinary stage lies far below the banks: in the Mason, it is now twenty feet below the eastern or lowest bank, and in the Bosuf river twenty one feet. The De Hart swale, on the contrary, is at the bottom of a general depression, extending half a mile towards the west, and one mile and a quarter tdwards the east. The approaches to this swale re

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