AR, C&O 9/1/1861 E

Annual Report of the Covington & Ohio RR
as of September 1, 1861,
Engineer's Report
Chief Engineer's Office Cov. & Ohio R. R.
31st August 1861
To the Board of Public Works, As the Cov. & O. R. R.
   The following is a copy of a resolution passed by you on the 22d of April 1861, viz:
   "Whereas, in the present depressed value of state securities, it is impossible for this board to obtain the funds necessary for the prosecution of work on the Covington & Ohio rail road: Therefore, it is
   "Resolved by the board of public works, that Charles B. Fisk, Esq., the chief engineer of the Covington & Ohio rail road, be and he is hereby instructed to suspend the work without delay."
   Immediately on its reception, I notified the contractors on the line of the rail road of this order, and took steps at once to have final estimates of the work done by them, to the time of suspension, prepared at the earliest moment.
   The preparation of these estimates was attended with trouble and difficulty. The state of affairs, at the time, was such that several of those who had been members of the engineer parties in charge of the construction of the work, at once left the service of the company, and entered the military service of the state. Two of the resident engineers were left without a single one remaining with them of those who had been on construction; and there was difficulty in getting suitable and reliable persons to take the places of those who had left. This difficulty was increased by the fact, that I was unable to assure any one of payment for his services. I could say to them that their accounts for services would be reported to the board and allowed, but could give no assurance whatever at to the time when, or the manner in which they would be paid by the second auditor of the state.
   The accounts for these services are now closed, and have been allowed by the board; and I am informed that the parties will be settled with by the second auditor, upon their purchasing state bonds at par, to an amount equal to what is due them.
   The board approved of the final estimates, when presented to them for their consideration, with the exception of five, in which some allowances were made that they did not approve of. Rejecting these allowance, the final estimates all met with the approval of the board.
   I was, after this, relieved, at the request respectfully made by me of the board, of the duty of considering and deciding any questions that might be raised by the contractors on their final estimates, when passed by the board.
   In presenting a statement of the expenditures and liabilities of the company to the 31st of August 1861, inclusive:
   First -- I shall give the total amount, and the times when they were made and incurred;
   Second -- I shall next show what portion of them has been authorized to be paid, and what portion has not been;
   And third -- I shall then show what portion of them has been paid, and what portion has not been;
   And these statements will all be so made as to show what portion of the expenditures and liabilities was during the time that James G. Paxton was superintendent, prior to the 7th of April 1855, and what portion of them has since then been under the superintendence and payment of Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer. The statements are thus made, with a view to convenience in the closing of the accounts.
FIRST -- Statement of the expenditures and liabilities for and on account of the road to the 31st of August 1861, inclusive
On Account Of Expenditures and Liabilities Totals
Prior to 7th April 1855 -- J. G. Paxton, Supt. From 7th April 1855 to 31st Aug. 1861 inclusive -- Charles B. Fisk, Ch. Engr.
1. Western division:        
Graduation 490145.44 17231.17 507376.61  
Land damages 260.00 -- 260.00  
Contingencies on construction 710.47 234.90 945.37  
Add, for certain contingent allowances for outlay 2760.00 -- 2760.00 511341.98
2. Eastern division:        
Graduation 184859.85 2249563.67 2434423.52  
Cement account -- 48921.79 48921.79  
Land damages 125.00 1239.16 1364.16  
Contingencies on construction --- 7955.67 7955.67  
Machinery, tools, &c. 3455.72 4319.45 7775.17  
Superstructure (cross ties) --- 1810.77 1810.77 2502251.08
3. And for purposes and objects in part chargeable to the western, in part to the eastern, and in part to the intermediate divisions (but all of which, so far as incurred in the five years ending on the 31st August 1861, with the exception of less that  $100, is chargeable to the eastern division), viz:        
Pay of officers and office expenses 4915.01 6923.03 11839.04  
Printing 995.97 792.02 1787.99  
Preliminary surveys and resurveys of route 44915.98 1725.09 46641.07  
Engineering 35337.18 96213.67 131550.85  
Instruments 2492.90 302.41 2795.31  
Stationery 432.38 519.43 951.81  
Engineering contingencies 466.92 3568.77 4035.69 199601.76
Total of expenditures and liabilities to 31st August 1861, inclusive $ 3213194.82
   These expenditures and liabilities, amounting to the sum of $3,213,194.82, were made and incurred as follows, viz:
Prior to 7th April 1855 (including the contingent allowance of $,760 for "outlay"), to the amount of 771,873.82
From 7th April 1855 to September 1855, inclusive 168,289.03
In the year ending 30th September 1856 142,890.66
         "            "     30 September 1857 218,643.85
         "            "     30 September 1858 230,637.34
         "            "     30 September 1859 552,373.17
         "            "     30 September 1860 687,425.61
In the eleven months ending 31st August 1861 441,061.34


$ 3,213,194.82
   The preceding statement of expenditures and liabilities includes the expenses for August 1861, amounting to $592.49, although they have not been allowed by the board at the date of this report. A there is, however, I presume, no question in regard to their allowance, as soon as they are presented to the board, they are included, to make the statement complete to the 31st of August 1861. The statement also includes, for the same reason, the sum of $2.67 due to George Moyers, for rent of a small piece of land near the cement mill, from 25th of May 1859 to 15th April 1860, omitted, heretofore, to be reported to the board.*
* The expenses of August 1861, amounting to $592.49, and the rent due George Moyers, $2.67, have been allowed at a meeting of the board held since the 31st of August 1861, the date of the report.
SECOND -- Statement showing what portion of the above expenditures and liabilities to the 31st of August 1861, inclusive, was authorized by the board to be paid prior to 7th April 1855, while James G. Paxton was superintendent; what portion was authorized to be paid by Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer, from the 7th April 1855 to the 31st of August 1861, inclusive, and what portion has not been authorized to be paid, viz:
1. The amount authorized to be paid by James G. Paxton, superintendent, is taken at what is represented in his books as being paid by him. The amount is   684,069.43
2. The amount authorized to be paid by Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer, from 7th April 1855 to 31st August 1861, inclusive (including the sum of $592.49 for August 1861 expenses, and $2.67 for rent to George Moyers), is   2,526,097.71
3. The amount of liabilities (in part contingent), not authorized by the board to be paid, is as follows, viz:    
"Reserved per centage" to Wm. M. Thurmond, atty, contractor section No. 3, eastern division 267.68  
"Contingent allowance" to H. L. Gallaher, contractor for sections No. 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the western division, not authorized to be paid, as all the conditions required before payment have not yet been shown to be complied with 2,760.00 3,027.68

Total of expenditures and liabilities to 31st August 1861, inclusive

  $ 3,213,194.82
   The amount above stated, viz: $684,069.43, as the amount authorized to be paid by Mr. Paxton, may not be strictly correct, as there were some drafts charged in his books by Mr. Paxton as payments, which were, I think, held up on attachments, or some proceedings in court. These drafts were subsequently, as I understand, settled, in whole or in part, at the office in Richmond. Whether the settlement of them makes any difference in the amount of payments now presented, I am not informed. If there be any, it can be ascertained in the office at Richmond. I presume, however, that the difference, if any, is very small in amount. I refer to this matter now, that it may be understood, if any difference should be found, why it is. I would add, in regard to the accounts since 7th April 1855, which have been settled by me as chief engineer, that they are strictly correct, and I am not aware, and do not think any payment whatever has been made at the office in Richmond on account of liabilities chargeable within the period since the 7th of April 1855.
THIRD -- Statement showing the amounts paid by James G. Paxton, superintendent, and by Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer, and the amount unpaid of the expenditures and liabilities, to the 31st of August 1861, inclusive.
1. The amount paid by James G. Paxton, superintendent, prior to 7th April 1855, as shown by his books (see preceding statement), is   684,069.43
2. The amount authorized to be paid by Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer, from 7th April 1855 to 31st August 1861, inclusive, was (see the preceding statement), $2,526,097.71, whereas the amount actually paid by him as shown by his draft book to draft No. 1998, inclusive, and to the 31st August 1861, inconclusive, is   2,468,165.02
3. The amount unpaid by Charles B. Fisk, chief engineer, on the 1st of September 1861, of the sum authorized to be paid by him, viz: $2,526,097.71, the sum authorized to be paid, less $2,468,165.02, the sum actually paid, is $57,932.69. This amount is due as follows, viz:    
On final estimates, allowed by the board on the 27th August 1861 52,938.84  
To sundry persons, for services and accounts, allowed on the 27th August 1861 898.69  
To sundry persons, for services, allowed at the "May 1861 meeting" 149.16  
To H. T. Jordan & Co., allowed at the "September 1860 meeting" 20.98  
To Francis Carr, allowed at the "March 1858 meeting" and at the "February 1859 meeting 2,979.63  
N. B. -- This payment to F. Carr has been prevented by attachment &c.    
To Wm. M. Thurmond, atty, allowed at "May 1858 meeting" 641.89  
Balance unpaid on August 1861 expenses 300.83  
Due to George Moyers, for rent, on an account heretofore omitted and now reported 2.67 57,932.69
Add amount not yet authorized by the board to be paid (see previous statement), viz:    
"Reserved per centage" to Wm. M. Thurmond, atty 267.68  
"Contingent allowance" to H. L. Gallaher 2,760.60 3,027.68
Total of expenditures and liabilities to 31st August 1861, inclusive   $3,213,194.82
   The reason that so large an amount of the sum authorized to be paid by me has not been paid, viz: the sum of $57,932.69, is, that the greater part of it is due upon final estimates, which only passed the board on the 27th of August 1861, less than four days previous to the close of my services. Those of the contractors who were in Richmond from the 27th to the 31st of August, and ready to receive payment of their final estimates, received from me their drafts. The final estimates that at the close of the last named day are unpaid, are handed over by me to the secretary of the board for settlement.
   There are also some to whom bills are due and the amount not large, who are unwilling to receive drafts, with the understanding that they can only realize payment of them by the purchase of state bonds at par to an equal amount. These accounts and all other accounts of parties not seen in time for payment, are also handed over by me to the secretary of the board for settlement.
   It may be well to state that the payments made by me, referred to in the preceding statement, were made by the giving of drafts on the board of public works for the amounts due, and taking receipts therefor in full satisfaction thereof, as against the Covington & Ohio rail road company. The payment of the drafts is made by the second auditor of the state.
   In classifying the expenditures and liabilities in the preceding statement, especially those since the 7th of April 1855, I have adhered to the classification adopted in reporting them monthly to the board, and asking for their allowance. That classification, however, is general in its character, and the one most convenient for use while constructing the work. When the work of any division of the road is completed, the intention has been to readjust it so far as necessary to show the cost of the important parts of the work separately.
   In the list of expenditures and liabilities, for instance, there is found an item of expenditures and liabilities on cement account. A part of these expenditures and liabilities were for the renting of cement property; a part for the erection of a cement mill;  part for the manufacture of cement; a part for the transportation of it to the works where it was used, &c. &c. If time were given to value the property now on hand, and to adjust the expenditures and liabilities, it could easily be shown what is the value of the cement establishment; what has been the cost of each branch of the business; what the cost of the cement used in each structure of masonry, and what the cost of its transportation to each.
   The accounts have been kept in the way most convenient during the progress of the work, leaving the distribution of the expenses to the time when they could be divided and distributed among the several works to which they are chargeable. This could readily be done now, when the works are all suspended; but as soon as the final estimates were closed, there was a stop put to any thing further being done.
   I have referred to the cement account, by way of illustration merely, and for the purpose of saying, that while the aggregate expenditures and liabilities are accurately stated and given, there is still a readjustment of their classification in some particulars necessary, to show in accurate detail the precise amounts expended in the construction of the different portions of the work.
Parts of the line to which the expenditures and liabilities made and incurred prior to the 31st of August 1861, are chargeable
The amount chargeable to the eastern division, from the eastern terminus of the road at Covington, to the White sulphur springs depot, on section No. 25, a distance of 22 1/2 miles, is   2,527,982.23
The amount chargeable to about fourteen miles of the line next west of the White sulphur springs depot, is   92,551.75
The amount chargeable to the western division, from the mouth of Scary on the Kanawha, to a point within about eight miles of the western terminus of the road at the mouth of Big Sandy, a distance of about 36 miles, is   543,224.46
And the amount chargeable, say, to the whole line, for preliminary surveys and resurveys of route, is 46,641.07  
And the amount chargeable for instruments, is 2,795.31 49,436.38


  $ 3,213,194.82
   This distribution of the total expenditures and liabilities has been made, by charging to each division named, the amounts actually expended on each, under the leading items of "graduation," "cement account," &c. The remaining items, viz: "pay of officers and office expenses," "printing," "engineering," "stationery" and "engineering contingencies," to the time when the work on the western division was stopped in 1855, are then divided between the eastern and western divisions, proportionally to the amounts that had been expended o that time for the leading items; and after that time they are charged wholly to the eastern division.
   And when the part chargeable to the whole eastern division is thus arrived at, this part is then subdivided between the portion of the eastern division which lies east of the White sulphur springs depot and the fourteen miles which lie next west of that depot, in like manner -- that is, by assuming that these smaller items of expenditure on each are proportional to the larger items.
Means in hand, applicable to the further prosecution of the work, on the 1st September 1861
   From the appropriations heretofore made by the state, amounting as follows, viz:  
The first, made 15th February 1853, to 1,000,000.00
The second, made 13th March 1856, to 500,000.00
The third, made 20th March 1858, to 800,000.00
And the fourth, made 29th February 1860, to 2,500,000.00

And in all, to

Deduct the expenditures and liabilities, shown to have been made and incurred prior to 1st September 1861, viz: 3,213,194.82
And there remains, on that day, of the past appropriations to the road, applicable to the further prosecution of the work, the sum of $1,586,805.18
Amount required to complete the road
   As soon as the final estimates were closed and acted upon, as already stated, there was an entire stop put to any thing further being done by the engineer corps, and the whole were dispensed with. There has been nothing done, therefore, and there could be nothing done towards preparing an estimate of the probable cost of completing the whole road.
   There was a report of the 30th November 1855 (see Doc. 17 of session 1855-56), in which I gave an estimate of the probable cost of the whole road. In my report of 30th November 1859 (see Doc. 17 of session 1859-60), when speaking of that estimate, I say, "that it was a cash estimate of the probable cost of the road, assuming that the work would be carried forward steadily and uninterruptedly to completion, and without any enhancement of cot from repeated stoppages and interruptions for want of means. The effect of such stoppages and interruptions upon the cost of work is too well known and understood to require more than this brief allusion to it in this connection."
   The remarks made in November 1859 may now be repeated with increased emphasis, as there has just occurred an entire stoppage of the whole work; and there is not now in the employ of the company, in any capacity whatever, a single person, when, early in the spring, the entire work, from Covington to the White sulphur springs depot, was progressing at a rate which, if continued, would have opened the road for use to that point early next summer.
   Under these circumstances, I shall, in reference to the probable cost of the whole road, only repeat what was said of the estimate of 30th November 1855, in my report of 30th November 1859, viz: that it was cash estimate; and will add, that additions to that estimate, occasioned by stoppages such as the one that has recently occurred, I have not, and shall not assume to estimate. I might do so, but it would be an estimate at random, and with great uncertainty in regard to the assumptions.
   It may be said, however, that the means in hand are sufficient to open the road for use to the White sulphur springs depot, estimating those means at a rate not materially below par, and assuming also that the work is managed and carried on with economy and prudence.
   It may further be remarked, that there has been ample time since November 1855, when the estimate was made, for the construction of the whole road from Covington to the Kentucky line; but it has not been constructed. As much work, however, has been done on the road as the appropriations made permitted. The last appropriation was the first, in amount, that permitted the work to be carried on somewhat more rapidly than it had been; but as soon as advantage was taken of this, and the work was pressed forward vigorously, it was suddenly and entirely stopped.
Condition of the line, on which the work was in progress, at the time of the recent suspension.
   The work was in progress the whole distance from Covington to the White sulphur springs depot, and with a force sufficient, as already remarked, to complete the grading ready for the opening of the road for use to that point by next summer.
   Upon receiving your order of the 22d April last, directing the immediate stoppage of the whole work, I at once notified, as already stated, the contractors of the order.
   There were points, however, which it was important should be attended to, to prevent great damage in the event of heavy rains. I named to the board certain work at the tunnel on section No. 4, which, unless done at once, there would certainly be great damage; and I named also, as soon as I examined it, the point at Jerry's run, which I found required an expenditure of at least two thousand dollars to secure it against greater or less damage, and which I stated would in all probability amount to at least ten thousand dollars, from such rains as usually occurred at least every year.
   The work at the tunnel was allowed to progress sufficiently to make it reasonably secure for a time; but sooner or later, perhaps in a year or two, there is danger of heavy damage from the giving way of the temporary supports under the heading, which has been driven for some considerable distance, but not arched, and which it was supposed would only require the temporary supports for a few months.
   In regard to the work, however, at Jerry's run, I was informed by the board that there were no means at the command of the company with which it could be done.*
* It may be stated, respecting the work at Jerry's run, that early in September, shortly after the date of this report, a heavy rain occurred, which did damage at that point, amounting to from six thousand to seven thousand dollars; and since then, that another and a tremendously heavy rain occurred, which raised the waters of Jerry's run higher than has been known for many years, and which increased the damage to the embankment at that point to an extent considerably larger than I had assumed as likely to happen from rains such as those that ordinarily occur every year or two; and the danger now is, that the damage may be considerably increased, upon the occurrence of even moderately heavy rains, the work now being in a more exposed condition than it was before, and requiring a larger expenditure to make it perfectly secure, than it did at the time of the suspension.
   From Covington to the tunnel on section No. 4, a distance of nearly five miles, the grading is well advanced. There are on this part of the line four bridges, viz: bridge No. 1, over Jackson's river; No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4, over Dunlap's creek. Three of these bridges are of two spans each and the other of one span. Three of the spans are of 129 feet each, and four of the spans are 79 feet each. The masonry of bridges No. 1 and No. 2 is completed. The masonry of bridge No. 3 is completed, with the exception of the pier, and about fifty cubic yard of one of the abutments; and the masonry of bridge No. 4 is well advanced. The masonry of these bridges was in good hands, as was also the grading of the sections; and the whole would have been completed this fall, if the work had not been stopped. The cost of the bridge superstructures, which were to be of iron, and the cost of the track of the road, would have been the most expensive part of the completion of these five miles of road.
   The tunnel on section No. 4 could also have been completed early next year.
   The masonry of bridge No. 5, over Dunlap's creek, of one span of 129 feet, on the western part of section No. 4, is completed.
   Sections No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 are within a very little of completion.
   The work next in order is the heavy fill across Moss run -- its greatest height 140 feet. This fill is very nearly completed.
   The sections thence to section No. 15, inclusive, the one nearest to and east of Jerry's run fill, are all well advanced, and with two exceptions, could have been completed this fall; and the whole could have been completed in time for the opening of the road for use next summer.
   At Jerry's run fill, where the work was suspended, there were about 400 men at work. It was advancing rapidly, and it is believed sufficiently so to admit of opening the road for use by the time that has been named.
   Thence to the White sulphur springs depot, the work could also have been readily opened for use by that time, passing by a temporary track over the Lewis tunnel and Jerry's run.
   The arching of the Alleghany tunnel would not have been entirely completed, on account of the difficulty there has been in obtaining bricks; but the dangerous parts would have been arched, so as to permit with safety the use of the tunnel by the time that has been named -- next summer.
   I will now close, with a few remarks upon the importance that the Covington & Ohio rail road, when constructed, will be to the state of Virginia, and through her, to the Confederate States.
   For a long time previous to the commencement of this road, there had been a strong and influential party in the state in favor of the construction of a line of improvement that should connect tide water on the James river with the Ohio valley; and as canals, when this feeling was first prevalent, were the only lines of improvement that could be constructed, that would answer for the transportation of heavy tonnage across the Alleghany between the west and the east, rail roads not then being in existence, the James river and Kanawha improvement, if it had been constructed when first thought of, would have proved an immensely valuable improvement.
   The Ohio river was then, before the existence of rail roads, the only route in the west along which the heavy tonnage of its valley, and of the section of country adjacent and tributary to ti, was carried; and therefore any favorable water line from tide water, connecting with the river, would have been certain of employment whenever the river was navigable; but as at times, from ice, and at times from a deficiency of water, the river was not navigable, the lines connecting with it and leading to tide water, would of course have their business, so far as dependent on the through tonnage, also suspended during the same time -- but only suspended -- for on the resumption of the navigation of the rifer, the business on the connecting line would also be restored; for there would not have been any diversion of the trade from it, as there would be now, by competing lines of rail road.
   The James river and Kanawha improvement, however, at that early day was not constructed across the Alleghany, nor has it yet been; and at this day and at this time a very different question presents itself in regard to what would be the preferable plan of improvement to be constructed between tide water on the James river and the Kanawha, from the one that presented itself at the early day referred to, arising from the general introduction into use of rail roads.
   And the question has also become a still more interesting and important one at this time, in another point of view, differing entirely from that of the relative advantages of a water line and a line of rail road, for the transportation of heavy tonnage. I refer to the considerations of a political character, with which the question is now surrounded.
   But without entering into these considerations particularly at this time, it seems to me that they will be provided for, and the interests of the state amply protected, by the Covington & Ohio rail road, inasmuch as --
   In the first place, it will, when made, be in continuous use throughout the year, and entirely independent of the condition of the Ohio river, whether navigable or not.
   In the second place, it will be an improvement that is entirely within the state of Virginia, and will connect with rail roads extending into Kentucky and the northwestern states.
   In the third place, it will be an improvement that will run alongside of steam boat navigation on the Kanawha, when that river is in navigable order, and can take advantage and avail of it whenever circumstances render it advisable to do so.
   It was in view of the preceding considerations that I, when charged with the duty of revising the routes for the Covington & Ohio rail road across the Alleghany, urged and advocated the adoption of the grades for the road that have been adopted, and which will, if the road shall be carried through to completion upon the plan on which it has been commenced, make it the most valuable rail road connection across the Alleghany, between the east and the west, within the limits of the Confederate States, or north of those limits.
Respectfully submitted.
Charles B. Fisk
Chief Engineer