I deemed it necessary, change the direction of the structure. Soon after my arrival on the ground a canvas pontoon was brought, of which I took possession and commenced making the examination above alluded to. When about half way across the stream I was ordered to return by Colonel Lansing, of the Seventeenth New York Volunteers, who said that he had special instructions from General McClellan to see that bridge completed, and by Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes, of your brigade. I returned to the shore and endeavored to find you to report the above facts. Not succeeding, I was ordered by both of the gentlemen, above named to go to work on the bridge, which I did, and continued working in that direction until your arrival on the ground, at about 9 o'clock, when the necessary examination was made and the direction of the bridge changed.
Having commenced another bridge in the new direction, everything went on smoothly until I reached the sixth trestle, when, owing to the rapid rise of the water, I deemed it necessary to raise the abutment; in endeavoring to do which, having raised the shore ends of the balks, the whole structure surged inshore and fell with a crash. I immediately went to work clearing away the wreck, and am happy to state that nothing was either lost in the current or broken. When everything was cleared away I commenced rebuilding, and connected with the opposite shore at about 2 o'clock this morning.
I would also beg leave respectfully to report that I was very much annoyed by the constant interference of officers higher in rank than myself, who came to me ordering me to hurry up the work, and representing that they had the authority of the general commanding.
Hoping that you will deem this report satisfactory, I remain, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM A. KETCHUM,
Captain Fifteenth New York Engineers, Commanding Detachment.
General D. P. WOODBURY,
Commanding Engineer Brigade.
[Inclosure No. 3.]
CAMP NEAR NEW BRIDGE, VA., June 2, 1862.
GENERAL: In obedience to your orders I went to the river night before last with a part of my detachment at the point selected by you for the crossing, and commenced the necessary preparations for laying the bridge. Owing to the sudden rise of the river having floated all the bridge materials at the point where it had been deposited, to prevent its being observed by the enemy it became necessary for me to remove all the material to higher ground, to prevent its being carried off before it could be used in the bridge. As this work was nearly all done in the water, the operation was necessarily a slow one, so that I did not get to work at the construction of the bridge until about daylight. When I had the bridge about three-fourths completed the second trestle cap from the bank broke, making it necessary for me to dismantle all the bridge except one span to put in a new cap. When the bridge was again completed across the main stream I found that the rapid current was fast undermining the legs of the trestles in the main channel, and I was compelled to dismantle 40 feet of the bridge about the center and put in one of the pontoon-boats. Owing to the delay caused by these reconstructions, the time occupied in constructing the bridge was longer than I had expected, but the south abutment was put in and