Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion


No. 20.

Reports of Brig. Army, Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac, of operations during the siege.

Thursday, April 24.—General Woodbury’s command has 300 men employed making gabions, fascines, &c.; 133 men on Mortar Battery No. 4, and about 200 men on bridges. Colonel Murphy, with 300 men, on detached service. Ten hundred and ninety-eight gabions and 243 fascines remain on hand. The northern approach to the upper pontoon bridge, 1,200 feet in length, is nearly finished, and will be completed probably to-morrow. Crib bridge, floating bridge, and middle pontoon bridge are all in working order. The crib below the middle pontoon bridge will be built as soon as possible. The materials have been cut and floated to the site. Mortar Battery No. 4 is prepared for the [328] platforms. By to-night all will be done that can be accomplished on the battery before the platforms arrive. Lieutenant McAlester reports 1,668 officers and men employed on military roads. The road below the dam is now completed to within about 300 yards of lower terminus, the point limiting the portion under his supervision. One branch is made, leading from the main road below the dam up to the plateau in front. The road in right-branch ravine is completed, except the covering of the two bridges. These, together with those on four side issues upon the plateau in front, which were commenced yesterday, will be finished to-day. The covering of three bridges in left-branch ravine and the earthwork of the branch road leading up to the plateau in rear are yet incomplete. This work, together with some trimming and draining on this part of the road, will be finished to-day. The roads in the two branch ravines above dam, with the secondary roads leading up to the plateau, will therefore be completed to-day. Lieutenant McAlester doubts whether the bridges at the dam will be finished tonight. Lieutenant Abbot, topographical engineer, aide-de-camp, was yesterday directed to inspect the road and bridges, he reports that the road from the upper pontoon bridge to the mill and thence up the right-hand ravine is passable to a point where the plateau can be reached, except at three culverts, which will doubtless be done to-day. From the mill the road up the left-hand ravine via the old dam, up the long ravine, is completed, except a space of a couple of hundred yards at the crossing of the stream just before reaching the terminus of the old Secession road to the springs. This place ought to be completed to-day. All three roads should be rounded up in the middle and ditched on the bluff, side. I have ordered this to be done as directed.

Bridges.—Theold dam bridge is well advanced, but will require another day’s labor. The crib work is put up and covered with brush, but the want of wheelbarrows delays the covering with earth; approaches good. The mill-dam bridge is unfinished. A framework of logs and some brush covering to widen it is completed, but much dirt must be thrown on it before it is ready for any but infantry use. One or two days at least, without carts, will be required; approached good. Upper pontoon bridge in proper order, except a dirt covering, very necessary to prevent the noise of crossing artillery being made. Frame bridge completed, except a débouché to the road to the mill on the north side of the creek. This is absolutely essential. Raft bridge worthless except for infantry, for want of buoyancy. A regiment has crossed in open order; approaches bad; 180 pontoons below raft in fine order; excellent approaches; to be covered with dirt. Pontoon bridge below raft. Abutments laid and approaches dug, but no bridge. Pontoon bridge near Harris’ house completed, but requires some little filling to connect the abutments with the approaches for wagons; to be covered with dirt; Frame bridge across east branch of Wormley’s Creek not more than half done. Approaches good on south end, but incomplete on north end. I think several days will be required to finish this bridge. Captain Stewart reports that 300 men were working on the rifle pits and 200 men were employed in thickening the parapet and placing rough corduroy platforms in Battery No. 7, which is still incomplete and will require much labor. Six guns are now on the rough platforms. The embrasures of No. 8 are not wholly revetted. At General Smith’s position (by Garrow’s) a rifle pit. has been uncovered and carried on near the water to the right and front of the batteries, and he intends forming obstructions of abatis to the right of them in the woods. Captain Smith reports that the enemy appear to be busy [329] in the works opposite Batteries Nos. 7 and 8, preparing embrasures of sand bags, &c., some eight or nine apparently in different stages of construction, and they have perhaps covered their line between Garrow’s and Wynn’s Mill with defenses. General Franklin required 100 Pontoons, with oars and anchors, for landing troops, and balks and chesses enough for 20. Orders have been sent from the Adjutant-General’s Office directing Colonel Ingalls to tow down such pontoons as could be spared. Captain Stewart has been charged with the construction of Batteries Nos. 7 and 8.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.328-329

web page Rickard, J (4 February 2007)

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