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VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK COMMISSION.
VICKSBURG, Miss., July 19, 1901. SIR: The commissioners of the Vicksburg National Military Park have the honor to submit their third annual report. The second annual report of the commissioners included July, August, and September of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1901, and the books in the office were balanced, September 30, 1900. For these reasons the present report covers the nine months of the fiscal year just closed—from October 1, 1900, to June 30, 1901.
Two meetings have been held during this time, at both of which all the commissioners and the secretary and historian were present. An informal conference was also held June 28, 29, and 30, at which all were present.
The park area, as outlined in the last annual report, consisted of 111 separate tracts of land, aggregating 1,231.08 acres. Since the date of the last annual report, by authority of the Secretary of War, a small tract of land belonging to Henry L. Mayer, containing 1.2 acres, was added to the park area and a deed from Mr. Mayer transmitted to the Department of Justice.
At the date of the last annual report 104 conveyances had been ransmitted to the Department of Justice, and 59 of these conveyances had been returned to this office and recorded in the office of the chancery clerk of this county. Since the date of the last annual report seven conveyances, including the Mayer deed, have been transmitted to the Department of Justice. One hundred and eleven conveyances (aggregating 1,217.08 acres, and costing $49,952.48) have, therefore, been transmitted, and title to the entire park area, as outlined by the commissioners and submitted for approval, has thereby been conveyed to the United States, with the exception of the tract of 15.2 acres belonging to Sarah J. Mosby et al. Since the date of the last annual report, 48 conveyances have been returned to this office and recorded in the office of the chancery clerk of this county. Treasury checks in payment have been received and delivered to the respective parties in interest in all cases except one—that of Sarah Middleton. In this case the
grantor died after signing the deed and before it was approved by the Department of Justice and returned to this office. A guardian of her minor children was appointed by the chancery court of this county and pay vouchers receipted by said guardian and by D. R. Middleton, husband of the deceased, were transmitted to the Department May 7, 1901. By a ruling of the Judge-Advocate-General,
payment must be made to an administrator of the estate of Sarah Middleton, deceased, and not to the guardian of her minor children. An effort is now being made to secure the appointment of an administrator, and the matter will be concluded as soon as possible. Four of the conveyances transmitted to the Department of Justice have not yet been returned to this office. Two of these conveyances are decrees of the United States court in friendly suits in condemnation, respectively, against James C. Wright, minor, and the J. W. Hodge heirs; two others are deeds, respectively, by Amanda Vogleson et al and W. J. Buell.
Lieut. Col. Charles H. Heyl, inspector-general, made, October 22 and 23, 1900, a thorough inspection of the books and papers in the office, of the park area, and of the roadways or avenues which it is proposed to establish thereon.
Since the date of the last annual report the stone boundary posts, 637 in number, have been set at a total cost of $709, including $72 for supervising their setting, and charged to “Land and conveyancing, as that seemed the most appropriate item under which it could be entered. The iron fence with brick base, 940 feet in length, at Anshe Chesed Cemetery has also been erected at a cost of $1,005.80.
Since the date of the last annual report $2,841.24 have been expended in cutting underbrush. The entire expenditure for this work has been $3,477.44 and about 293 acres have been cleared. The foremen in charge of the work were directed to cut the brush and worthless trees below the surface of the ground and to carefully burn everything thus removed. Although this method is necessarily slow and somewhat costly, it is believed to be necessary in order that subsequent cuttings may be done with the brush scythe and that by repeated cuttings extending over a period of years the growth of underbrush and weeds may be finally checked and a sward of Bermuda grass secured over the entire park area. The foremen were carefully instructed to preserve every tree and shrub that could be considered useful for either shade or ornament.
As stated in the last annual report, the acting chairman, July 30, 1900, requested authority for a survey to locate the inside roadway and to furnish the data for making the computations and profiles, at an estimated cost, including the salary of the assistant engineer, of $2,750. This request was approved October 16, 1900; the survey to locate the inside roadway was begun November 1, 1900, and was completed May 31, 1901, at a total cost, including all supplies in connection therewith (some of which are unexpended), of $2,105.89, which sum is charged to “Roads and bridges." By direction of the commissioners the roadway was located in the rear of the line of the Confederate earthworks and as near said line as the configuration of the ground would permit. The roadway proved by actual measurement to be 8 miles in length instead of 7.7 miles, as previously estimated by a scaling of the map. The roadway as located by Assistant Engineer Haydon was 28 feet wide in excavation and 26 feet wide in embankment. He proposed to cross Glass Bayou by a steel cantilever bridge 500 feet long, estimated to cost $38,000; to cross the Alabama and Vicksburg Railway by a Melan arch bridge 80 feet long, estimated to cost $7,000; to cross the Halls Ferry road by either a steel arch or a steel-plate girder bridge 80 feet long, estimated to cost $5,000, and to cross Stouts Bayou by a fixed span steel bridge 450 feet long, on which no exact
estimate was made, but which would probably cost about $27,000. Not only was the inside roadway thus definitely located by the assistant engineer, but about three-fourths of a mile thereof, beginning at the north end, was cross sectioned and the grade stakes set.
The Secretary of War directed Mr. E. E. Betts, engineer of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Military Park Commission, to confer with the acting chairman of the commission on the subject of park roadways. After such conference, Mr. Betts made a report to the acting chairman recommending a resurvey of the inside roadway or Confederate avenue, reducing its width to 22 feet in excavation and 20 feet in embankment, the reduction of the length of the bridges at Glass's Bayou and Stout's Bayou as much as possible, and the use of viaduct bridges. The commissioners accepted Mr. Betts's report, requested that he might be assigned as park engineer, and that authority might be given for grading the inside, roadway and erecting the bridges thereon, in accordance with the suggestions of the report. These requests were approved by the Secretary of War, the assignment of Mr. Betts being for a term of six months. The commissioners understand that much of the work of Assistant Engineer Haydon, in locating the inside roadway, can be used in making the resurvey, and the work of its construction will be commenced as soon as possible and vigorously carried forward. The reduction in cost effected by the suggestions of Mr. Betts makes it possible to grade the entire roadway and to erect the bridges thereon with the allotment ($101,555.68) requested for “Roads and bridges” by the letter of the acting chairman dated April 23, 1901. The assistant engineer, Mr. G. C. Haydon, requested, and has been granted, an indefinite furlough without pay to date from July 31, 1901. The commissioners regret that he has withdrawn from the park work, and they have a high appreciation of the conscientious and faithful service which he has rendered.
By action of the commissioners at the meeting held November 30, 1900, authority for a topographical survey of the park area was again requested at a cost, estimated by Maj. Thomas L. Casey, park engineer, of $10,000. This request was not approved and Mr. E. E. Betts, engineer of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Military Park Commission, was directed by the Secretary of War to make an estimate of the cost of such a survey. Mr. Betts's estimate ($6,090) was approved by the Secretary of War and Mr. Betts is now, by direction of the Secretary of War, at the office of the commission preparing to begin the survey.
Since the date of the last annual report State commissions from Iowa, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Mississippi, and Minnesota have visited the park. It is expected that State commissions from New York, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee will visit the park during the months of November and December, 1901. These State commissions cooperate with the Commissioners in locating the positions of their respective regiments and batteries in the lines of investment and defense. They are also required to respectively make report to the governer of the State and to recommend such State legislation as will suitably and permanently mark the positions thus ascertained and worthily commemorate the valor and services of their soldiers in the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg. All the States having soldiers in the Vicksburg campaign are much interested in the establishment of the park, and it is reasonable
to expect that the State monuments and tablets that will be erected on the Vicksburg Park will be equal, in cost, beauty, and appropriateness, to those erected on any of the national military parks.
The governor of Mississippi, by proclamation dated June 28, 1901, ceded jurisdiction to the United States over 106 tracts of land (aggregating 1,207.46 acres) conveyed for the park, and also jurisdiction over so much of the city cemetery road, the Jackson road, the Baldwin's ferry road, and the Flower Hill road, in Warren County, Miss., as may be necessary for the construction of the inside roadway, or Confederate avenue. Only the tracts for which conveyances to the United States were recorded in the office of the chancery clerk of Warren County, Miss., could be included in the application to the governor for cession of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over all the public roads in the park was not asked for the reason that the commissioners are not yet prepared to properly work and care for them. At the proper time the governor of Mississippi will be requested to issue another proclamation ceding jurisdiction to the United States over the remaining lands and public roads in the park.
The commissioners are of opinion that the work of cutting underbrush on the park should now be resumed, as the work of making the topographical survey will thereby be much facilitated.
The commissioners respectfully submit the following estimate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1903: For continuing the work of establishing the Vicksburg National Military Park; for the compensation of three civilian commissioners and the secretary and historian; for clerical and other services, labor, iron-gun carriages, the mounting of siege guns, monuments, markers, and historical tablets, maps and surveys, roads, bridges, restoration of earthworks, purchase and transportation of supplies and materials, these and other necessary expenses, $100,000.
The receipts and expenditures from October 1, 1900, to June 30, 1901, including six items for June, 1901, aggregating $130.90 not included in the statement of the disbursing clerk, War Department, because received by him for payment after June 30, were as follows: Balance on hand, September 30, 1900, per annual report .... .... $60, 482.81 Expenditures to June 30, 1901, inclusive:
Salaries (commissioners and secretary only).... $10,800.00
330.00 Board and hire of horses, etc..
206.75 Fuel and lights......
95.80 Stationery and office supplies..
102.50 Street sprinkling, ice, and miscellaneous.. 42. 15 Telephone and telegraph...
2, 260.85 Land and conveyancing
Land purchased (47 tracts, 126.61 acres).. 4, 285. 48
80. 05 Boundary posts
6, 249.53 Topography and maps Assistant engineer, salary
Expenditures to June 30, 1901, inclusive-Continued.
2, 826. 44 Tools and supplies......
10.55 Hire of horses and repairs.
2, 841.24 Roads and bridges
Pay of assistant engineer and force.... 2, 369.50
2, 705. 89 FencesIron fence with brick base at cemetery...
1,005. 80 Total expenditures
27,812. 61 Balance on hand June 30, 1901
32, 670. 20
$60, 482. 81 Very respectfully, your obedient servants,
STEPHEN D. LEE,
Commissioners. The SECRETARY OF WAR.