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PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE-HOSPITAL SERVICE,
SIR: Referring to our conversation of this date, with reference to the transactions of the public health and marine-hospital service at this port, I have the honor to submit the following statistics for the fiscal years ending, respectively, June 30, 1901, June 30, 1902, and to date from July 1, 1902, viz:
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1901, there were under treatment in hospital 11 patients, and as out-patients, 59.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1902, there were under treatment in hospital 12 patients, and as out-patients, 62.
Since July 1, 1902, 1 patient has been admitted to hospital and 17 seamen have been treated as out-patients.
I have the honor to state that in addition to their other duties medical officers at this port are detailed as quarantine officers.
CHAS. N. VOGEL,
Assistant Surgeon, Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service.
Hon. JOHN G. BRADY,
Governor of Alaska, Sitka, Alaska.
COPY OF INCLOSURE 1, L. R. 1443, HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE
PRESENT CONDITION OF THE ROAD.
The trans-Alaskan military road is completed, i. e., "graded and bridged," from Port Valdez to the crossing of the Tanana River, a distance of 265 miles, with pack trail cut 80 miles south from Fort Egbert, leaving about 70 miles of right of way to cut between the Tanana and Fort Egbert.
From station No. 2 at the mouth of Keystone Canon a pack trail is cut along the rock wall of the canyon for 3 miles (plates 105, 106), 6 feet in width; leaving the upper end of the canyon (see Camp Valdez and Thompson Pass sheet) the trail keeps the mountain side (plate 109) to the summit of Thompson Pass, which it crosses at an elevation of 2,600 feet. From the summit the trail winds down onto the Chena River, down this valley to the confluence of the Chena and Knata, and up which valley it winds to the Tonsena, 79 miles. All streams are bridged by structures similar to plan 4. From the crossing of the Tonsena a wagon road is cut out and graded to the headwaters of the Copper River (Indian Creek) about 100 miles. The Tonsena and Klutena rivers are spanned by truss bridges (plate 262 and plan 9). The grades at river crossings are 1 to 15 (plates 265, 266). The transportation used in the valley were bull and horse carts (plate 26) with pack horses through the mountains. Wire cables for ferry boats are in place at the crossing of the Tazlena and Gakona (see maps inclosed herewith). From the head of the Copper River Valley (map projected but not published) through the main range of the Alaskan Mountains is constructed a pack trail 6 feet wide, all streams bridged and mountain sides graded to the crossing of the Tanana, about 76 miles. To cut out the right of way from the crossing of the Tanana to the head of Bullion Creek, a point where construction ceased last season, would cost in rough figures, $10,000; this does not include bridging, as some of the larger quoin truss bridges (plan 9) cost that amount.
TO PUT THE ROAD IN PERMANENT REPAIR.
This is an impossibility for various reasons, the first and probably the most important factor nature puts forth to destroy the worm of the engineer is the abnormal rush of water down the mountain sides. By reference to the maps herewith it will be observed that the topograph of the route is exceedingly rugged, the greater part of the
route from Keystone Canyon to Earnestine Creek being a "side hill cut." During the month of September observations at Port Valdez for the past four years show the rainfall to be 9 inches; this month carries with it a greater precipitation than any other in the year, the rain commencing in July, about the 10th usually, and ceases October 10, although it may fall any month in the year. During the months of October, November, and December the snow fall is light comparatively, say 7 feet; in January, February, March, and April the fall averages 24 feet per meteorological observations of the past four years. This mass of snow practically goes off the ground in forty days when the warm rains of May set in; therefore, with such an immense volume of water tearing down a gradient of 30 degrees, say from an elevation of from 600 to 7,000 feet, some conception can be arrived at of the substantiality of the work that must necessarily be put in, in the first instance, and also of the necessity of constant repair to hold it in place, and the utter impossibility of permanent work. Plate 281 shows a portion of the pack trail, 2 miles below the summit of Thompson Pass, that was scoured out by a mountain torrent fed by melting snow from the peaks above; plates 283 and 284 show the road after the rock wall had been cut out, retaining walls built and filled in. Therefore it may be said that, owing to the terrific wear and tear by the elements, no permanent work is possible, but that the repairs must be made yearly or the previous work expended on this road will soon be obliterated. In addition to the care of the cuts and grades are the preservation of the bridges, without which traffic is not possible. Owing to the immense amount of glacial silt in all the streams, which are torrential, the lodgment of driftwood against piling (plate 287), or cribs, if not promptly cleared away will cause the loss of the structure.
RELATIVE VALUE OF WAGON ROAD THROUGH THE COPPER RIVER VALLEY, AND TABLE OF DISTANCES FROM PORT VALDEZ TO YUKON RIVER.
The Copper River Valley is about 150 miles long and 70 miles wide. This area is inclosed by massive mountain ranges capped for most part by glaciers that have been grinding them away for centuries and filling the valley below with silt to a great depth. On top of this silt, which is a very fine-grained, light-colored clay, grown a sheet of moss, the decomposition of which has laid down enough matter for a dense growth of stunted spruce trees to take root. When this subsoil dries out the moisture from the frost in the spring of the year this clay foundation is hard and soon gets cut up by travel and very dusty, but just as soon as the rain sets in the dust changes into a light-colored mud, to which there appears to be no bottom. such a period not only is wagon traffic suspended, but it is with the utmost labor that pack animals with light loads can get along. I have cut roads on side hills, on top of hills, and along embankments with about the same results, viz, extremely boggy roads in rainy weather. A road can be built over which traffic can pass at any season of the year, but the cost of construction would be enormous.
Table of distances.
Valdez to Tonsena Bridge (pack trail, rocky and boggy in places).. Tonsena Bridge to Indian Creek (wagon road, impassable in rainy weather) 110 Indian Creek to Tanana Crossing (pack trail, boggy in places).. 76 Tanana Crossing to Bullion Creek (pack trail blazed out, but not cut; boggy in places)
Bullion Creek to Yukon River, Fort Egbert (pack trail, boggy in places)
Total mileage, Valdez to Fort Egbert, via Tanana
RECOMMENDATIONS TO KEEP THE TRANS-ALASKAN MILITARY ROAD IN PERMANENT
An annual appropriation of $50,000 to be carried by the sundry civil bill and expended under direction of an engineer officer, United States Army, in a manner usual on other public roads, notably the roads in the Yellowstone Park.
This office is now charged with the preparation of a general map of Alaska, embodying all the data obtained during the past four years, a print of which will be forwarded at an early date to the office of the Quartermaster-General as a substitute for those inclosed.
W. R. ABERCROMBIE,
OFFICE OF FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER-GENERAL,
MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 24th ultimo, requesting certain information concerning the postal service in Alaska, has been received. In reply I beg to inclose herewith a list of the post-offices in Alaska, with the names of the postmasters, salaries, and dates of appointment.
Your inquiries as to the mail supply, contractors, etc., have been referred to the Second Assistant Postmaster-General, who has charge of such matters.
Very truly, yours,
Hon. JOHN G. BRADY, Sitka, Alaska.
L. BRISTOW, Fourth Assistant Postmaster-General.
Post-offices in Alaska, with the name, compensation, and date of appointment of each
Post-offices in Alaska, with the name, compensation, and date of appointment of each postmaster-Continued.
OFFICE OF SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER-GENERAL,
Washington, August 21, 1902. SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith a statement of the mail routes in Alaska in operation at the present time, together with the names of the contractors and the rates of pay, and the intermediate offices supplied, in accordance with your request of July 24, 1902.
Hon. JOHN G. BRADY, Sitka, Alaska.
W. S. SHALLENBERGER, Second Assistant Postmaster-General.