pieces. Provided this fort fulfill its object, there will be no need of fortifications higher up the lake, and all the advantages of this lake communication will be preserved to us during the war. Strategical considerations indicate certain positions farther back from the boundary line as points of assemblage for troops, but these would not need fortifications so long as Fort Montgomery shall be held.
Although not falling within the intended scope of this letter, nor belonging to my particular branch of military science, this word 'strategy" leads me to make an observation belonging thereto, which is this: That in any war in which, while the sea- coast must be defended, the northern frontier of the State of New York is also liable to become the theater of military operations, the city of Albany, or more particularly the high sandy ground between it and the Mohawk, should be selected as the great northern point of concentration of troops, and school of organization, discipline, and instruction. The position seems to me perfectly adapted to that end. I am now aware of any objection to it, and I will close this letter by quoting a few words on the subject from my report of May, 1840, made as a member of a board on the Northern Frontier. Considerable changes since then, especially in multiplied facilities of communication, only augment the force of the reasons therein urged:
In reference to the Northern frontier generally, it is the decided opinion of the board that besides the defenses which have been suggested along the border, chiefly for purposes of local protection, there should be a great central station at some position in the interior at which troops might be assembled for instruction, and where they would still be within supporting distance of the more exposed parts of the frontier.
Turning our views inland in search of some single position at which preparations might be made for extended operations on this frontier, and from which aid an succor could always be speedily derived; some position which, while it shall be equally near to many important points of the enemy's possessions, shall afford at no time any indication of the direction in which our efforts to be made; which will, if possible, unite the opposite qualities of being at the same time remote and proximate, far as to distance but near as to time; which, while it brings a portion of the military resources of the country to the support of the inland frontier and places them in the best attitude for operations in that quarter, whether defensive of offensive, at the same time taken them not away from the sea-coast; looking for these various properties we find them all united in a remarkable degree; in the position of Albany. From this place, by steam-boat, canal-boat, or railroad car, troops and munitions could be transported in a short time to Buffalo, or onward to Detroit, to Oswego, to Sackett's Harbor, to Plattsburg, to Boston, and along the coast of New England to New York by steam-boat now, and soon by railroad also, and thence onward to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and the heart of the Southern country, if necessary. In a word, Albany is a great central position, from which radiate the principal lines of communication to the North, to the South, to the East, and to the West, and combines so many advantages for a military depot that the expediency of occupying it, and thus availing ourselves of these advantages, would seem to be manifest.
I am, &c.,
JOS. G. TOTTEN,
Brevet Brigadier-General and Colonel of Engineers.