General Barry informed me on Saturday that General Wadsworth had written to him that much of the board revetment of Fort Ramsay had been stripped of by the men, and asked for permission to use the rest. Colonel Alexander reports to me that he found Fort Corcoran on Saturday in a shocking condition from neglect; that the guns are not used at all, and some appeared to require adjustment of platforms to be capable of use..
The whole line of works from the Potomac to the Eastern Branch and thence along its eastern shore to the Potomac again-twenty-eight works-are without garrisons; the small guards placed at them are changed daily (I believe). Of course they have no idea of what is required to keep the armament or earthwork in condition (which indeed is not much a part of their duty), and, as represented to me, perform even their duties as guard very inefficiently..
These ungarrisoned works have now 200 guns mounted, for which no ammunition can be supplied until the are garrisons, or at least ordnance sergeants to care for it. (At the present time I am obliged to keep hired men at most of the finished works to look after public property.)
I need scarcely say that if circumstances called for the action of these works against an enemy, it would require much time for the Ordnance Department to supply them all with ammunition. I look upon the garrisoning of these works-that is, with artillerymen-as under all circumstances indispensable, and an absolutely necessary preliminary to any offensive operations of the Army. Such offensive operations, if made against distant points, may throw the defense of Washington, against the bulk of the enemy's forces, upon these works (assisted by reserves); or, as at Bull run, it is in the range of possibilities that a disaster in the field may paralyze our active army, or throw in back disorganized, to rally under protection of these works. Not only that they should fulfill such purposes, but be preserved from dilapidation, requires efficient garrisoning, and some more efficient system of supervision or command than has yet been established..
In some cases (as of the works in charge of the Fourteenth Massachusetts and Fourth Connecticut) the commanding officers and subordinates feel pride in preserving their works in perfect order. Such is not always the case, as the use and importance of the works are not appreciated, and where it is not, we may expect to see the timber work and abatis converted into tent floors and fire-wood. the uses and services expected from this enormous work we have made at an expense of a half million of dollars (armament not included will not be rendered without careful preservation and efficient garrisons; and that these last should be efficient, a number of regular artillery officers of rank are required to visit such work and armament are properly ca red for..
J. G. BARNARD,.
WHEELING, January 13, 1862.
I transmit the following for the information of the General-in-Chief, whom I have this morning informed of the available force in the department this side of Kanawha Valley:.
HUTTONSVILLE, January 13..
At the fourth posts of Beverly, Huttonsvillee, Elk Water,a nd Cheat Mountain there is about a million dollars's worth of Government property. Rebels know this and our.