The great day of the year is that of the annual review of the cadets by a board of gentlemen belonging to the different States of the Union, and appointed by the Secretary of War; it takes place early in June, I believe, and consequently before the cadets take the tented field. The examination goes on in the library hall, which is a very fine room, and hung with portraits of some of their leading men; the library is a very fair one, and the cadets have always easy access to it, to assist them in their studies. I could have spent many more hours here with much pleasure, but the setting sun warned us no time was to be lost if we wished to save the train; so, bidding adieu, to the friends who had so kindly afforded me every assistance in accomplishing the object of my visit, I returned to the great Babylon, after one of the most interesting and gratifying days I had spent in America.[AW]
[Footnote AV: By the published class-list the numbers at present are 224.]
[Footnote AW: An account of a visit to this Academy, from the pen of Sir J. Alexander, is published in Golburn’s United Service Magazine, September, 1854.]
Watery Highways and Metallic Intercourse.
There is perhaps scarcely any feature in which the United States differ more from the nations of the Old World, than in the unlimited extent of their navigable waters, the value of which has been incalculably increased by the introduction of steam. By massing these waters together, we shall be the better able to appreciate their importance; but in endeavouring to do this, I can only offer an approximation as to the size of the lakes, from the want of any official information, in the absence of which I am forced to take my data from authorities that sometimes differ widely. I trust the following statement will be found sufficiently accurate to convey a tolerably correct idea.
The seaboard on each ocean may be estimated at 1500 miles; the Mississippi and its tributaries, at 17,000 miles; Lake Ontario, at 190 miles by 50; Lake Erie, at 260 miles by 60; Lake Huron, at 200 miles by 70; the Georgian Bay, at 160 miles, one half whereof is about 50 broad; Lake Michigan, at 350 miles by 60; and Lake Superior, at 400 miles by 160, containing 32,000 square miles, and almost capable of floating England, if its soil were as buoyant as its credit. All the lakes combined contain about 100,000 square miles. The rate at which the tonnage upon them is increasing, appears quite fabulous. In 1840 it amounted to 75,000 tons, from which it had risen in 1850 to 216,000 tons. Besides the foregoing, there are the eastern rivers, and the deep bays on the ocean board. Leaving, however, these latter out of the question, let us endeavour to realize in one sum the extent of soil benefited by this bountiful