The law of 1808 made provision for the annual expenditure of $200,000 for arming the militia of the States. That sum is insufficient for the wants of the increased population of the country. Two millions of dollars should be annually appropriated for that purpose until all the States are supplied, in proportion to their population, with the same number of arms, that have been distributed in some of the States to meet the exigencies of the war.
From the report of the Chief of Engineers it appears that the grants made by Congress for fortifications at its last session amounted to $5,250,000 for permanent works and $700,000 for temporary works. These liberal provisions allowed of very material progress being made upon the important class of fortifications now under construction, and of essential modifications being effected in old works and existing batteries, to obtain largely increased efficiency, by preparing them to receive ordnance of greatly increased calibers, and to store greater bulks of ammunition, with additional security afforded therefor.
These important objects have been very generally realized. The difficulties existing last year in the procurement and transportation of materials, and in obtaining the requisite amount of skilled and ordinary labor, have increased; but these difficulties have been surmounted or avoided to such a degree that the general result is very favorable and our sea-board and border fortifications are now in condition to afford a formidable denfense, decidedly stronger than last year.
The report of the annual Board of Visitors of the Military Academy is herewith submitted.* There being no representation from the rebel States in the Academy since the war commenced, there existed accommodation for a considerable number of cadets beyond those furnished from the loyal States. There seemed to be no good reason why the advantages of the Academy should not be enjoyed to the fullest capacity, and accordingly the vacancies were this session filled up by appointments from loyal States, the generals commanding armies being invited to furnish the names, of deserving young men from their respective commands and in this way the number of cadets allowed by law have been admitted to the advantages of military education in the Academy at West Point. The usual statement, showing the condition in life of the cadets for a number of years past, and a list of the present officers and cadets of the Academy, accompany the report of the Chief Engineer.
The operations connected with the survey of the northern and northwestern lakes have been actively continued, and during the past season have consisted in a survey of Portage Entry, on Lake Superior, and in resuming the survey of Green Bay and its entrance from Lake Michigan; also of the periodical examination of the channels of the Saint Clair Flats, and of Lake George of Saint Mary's River. Observations for the determination of geographical positions, of the fluctuations of the elevation of the surfaces of the lakes, and of the meteorological phenomena are embraced in the operations of the survey. The number of lake charts distributed to navigators to the 1st of October, 1863, exceeds 24,000 of which over 4,000 were distributed the past year.
By the direction of the Department an experienced and skillful officer has been detailed to examine and report what temporary works are required to guard the lake shores from rebel