brought officially to my notice, I at once selected A. M. Dupuy, a civil engineer of experience, to make a thorough examination and report the result of his labors. His estimate (herewith inclosed) to complete the road in the manner originally contemplated and at present prices is about $540,000. By adopting temporary expedients this amount may probably be reduced to $500,000. It is proper to mention, however, that Colonel Jones, the engineer of the company, stated in a recent conversation that in his judgment the road could be built for $400,000. The time of construction, if vigorously prosecuted, might probably be reduced to four months. An examination of the map will at once convey a clear idea of the importance to be attached to this work. There are two points in Mr. Dupuy's report which should be especially noted: First (a matter of moment), the bad condition of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, which consequently needs repairs; and, second (of much less consequence), the rather high figure in his estimates of $32 per foot for bridging, owing to his utter condemnation of lattice bridges when constructed of green timber, a professional opinion in which I do not fully concur.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
A. L. RIVES,
Acting Chief of Engineer Bureau.
RICHMOND, April 19, 1862.
Captain A. L. RIVES,
Acting Chief Engineer, &c.:
SIR: I submit the following report of an examination which you instructed me to make of the line of railroad from Clarksville to Keysville. The line as at present located is thirty-one miles and forty-four one-hundredths in length. It has all been cleared to a minimum width of eighty feet, and the felled timber which would answer the purpose has been made into cross-ties for the road. I have estimated the number prepared in this way at about 30,000. At the end of the line next to Clarksville an amount of work about equivalent to the grading of the first two miles has been done. The piers and abutments of the bridges crossing the Dan and Staunton Rivers are finished, but the superstructure remains to be built. There are eleven spans in all, of 112 feet each, making a total length of 1,232 feet. The time necessary for the erection of this bridge will regulate the time required for the completion of the whole line. There is no seasoned timber to be had convenient to the work, and green timber will probably have to be cut and sawed for the purpose. The framing can progress as it is being delivered, and in the course of between three and four months after the work is commenced I think it can be completed. The plan of bridge originally proposed is that of Howe's truss. While I think it in ordinary circumstances the best wooden bridge now used, the quantity of iron required in this plan and the difficulty of procuring it will render the structure very expensive. The lattice bridge, although free from this objection, is subject to another and perhaps a more serious one. When built of the best seasoned timber it is liable to warp and settle, but if made of green timber we must expect nothing else. The plan which I propose under the circumstances is that known as the Burr bridge with arches. It is in a great measure free from the objections attaching to the other two plans, and while it cannot be screwed up and adjusted in event