Permit me to call your attention to its purport, the better to determine if or not should be read in open session.
Most respectfully, yours,
Colonel Ordnance of Virginia.
Honorable SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES OF VIRGINIA:
In compliance with the resolution passed by the House of Delegates, "requesting Colonel Charles Dimmock to make a careful and thorough examination of the fortifications and defenses of this city and to report the condition thereof to this House," I respectfully report that I have visited the works referred to, and find that on that I have visited the works referred to, and find that on the north side of James River, commencing on the river below the city and running around to the river above the city, there are seventeen separate batteries and that there are two more about to be thrown up. On the south side of the river, inclosing the town of manchester, commencing of the river below and running around to the river above the town of Manchester, there are found separate batteries two more about to be thrown up.
the length of line of works on the north side of the river is 7 1/2 miles and on the south side 4 1/2 miles-in all about 12 miles.
If i am to express my opinion, I take the occasion to say that these lines of defense are too near the city, placing it in close siege, if the enemy is to be suffered to approach within reach of the batteries; so near can the enemy come that the city can be shelled and burned before our works are captured, and so near all intercourse with the country will be cut off, and for the want of subsistence the city would soon be compelled to capitulate without any serious attack by the enemy. The line of defense should be near the banks of the Chickahominy and its tributaries as far as they extend westwardly and thence by a line to James River; and on the Manchester side the works should be thrown out some 2 miles in advance. But as the present batteries are nearly complete, they may be used in the last resort. Yet advanced works should be thrown up as soon as possible upon the lines indicated.
The present work's (except their being too near) are well located and of approved ground plan, and when they are completed will make a good defense.
There are several ravines running in between some of the works which are not commanded by their guns. Doubtless it is contemplation to throw up other small batteries to protect these depressions.
All the batteries are i barbette (without embrasures) and are objectionable, because both the guns and the men who serve them are too much exposed. The guns will be liable to be dismounted and the men disabled.
I think at least some of the most important and assailable ones should be embrasured, and there should be some bomb-proofs within which the men not serving at the guns may find security. There are several lesser defect general to all the works, which I presume the engineer will remedy.
These batteries are from one-half to three-fourths of a mile from each other, between which I think there should be breastworks thrown up, behind which infantry can be posted to prevent any attempt of the enemy to force through and take the batteries in rear, where they are quite open and defenseless.