Be it enacted, etc., etc., that the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for completing the defenses of Washington; Provided, That all arrearages of debts incurred for the objects of this act shall be first paid out of this sum: And Provided Further, That no part of the sum hereby appropriated shall be expended in any work hereafter to be commenced.General J. G. Barnard, who, prior to the passage of the act above quoted, had been in engineering charge of the works, was, after the disasters of the first campaign under McClellan, placed also in command. He says that it was evident to all that the line north of the Potomac was not adequately defended at the time of the above act, and that after the disasters in Virginia the work was prosecuted with all vigor, new works being thrown up and the old ones strengthened, notwithstanding the act of Congress. Public opinion demanded these measures as imperative necessities, thus demonstrating the return of affection for forts and bombproofs. Even with the utmost endeavors of General Barnard, assisted by a large force of competent engineers, the defenses, in December, 1862, were far from satisfactory. Congress had not removed its prohibition against the commencement of new works, but here we witness one of the exhibitions of the masterful nature of the great war secretary, Stanton. He authorized General Barnard to continue the work of construction, and to begin such new works as were necessary. It was evident, however, that the expenditures would continue indefinitely, and ultimately would amount to a very large sum. In order to have a sufficient justification in the face of the Congressional prohibition, Secretary Stanton convened a board of officers whose judgment could be relied on for an unbiased decision. This board spent two months in examining
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