War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0281 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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fugitives as could be had, and, when possible, the work was pushed night and day.

The large railroad bridge over the Rappahannock, some 600 feet long by 65 high, and the larger part of the one over Potomac Creek, some 400 feet long by 80 feet high, were built from the trees cut down by the troops in the vicinity; and this without those troops losing their discipline or their instruction as soldiers. The work they did excited to a high degree the wonder and admiration of several distinguished foreign officers, who has never imagined such constructions possible by such means and in such a way in the time within which they were done.*

As fast as the means would allow I brought my forces over from Catlett's or down from Alexandria, and, with the verbal consent of the Secretary of War, organized and added to those of McCall and King another division, commanded successively by Generals Ord and Ricketts.

Still, as I did not move forward, what was done, if it was known, did not seem to find favor in the country at large. It was known there was a force within a short distance of Fredericksburg which I did not advance upon, and the world was not in the mood to be charitable to me, and imputed bad motives for my assumed voluntary inaction.

On the 17th of May instructions were issued from the War Department that on being joined by General Shields' division I should move on Richmond. (See appendix, Numbers 7, December 10.)

This division was ordered to join me, not that I asked for it (as was charged at the time) as a re-enforcement for my command to strengthen it against an attack from the enemy, but that I might carry it with me and strengthen the attack on Richmond, and thus add to the re-enforcement I was to carry below.

General Shields' advance arrived at Falmouth May 22. His division was needing many things-shoes, trousers, ammunition, &c. I had caused supplies to be placed for it at Warrenton and Catlett's, so that it might refit on the march. All the artillery ammunition was condemned by an inspector of ordnance sent from the War Department to inspect it at Catlett's, and new ammunition was ordered from the Arsenal to meet it at Falmouth. This was to have been down so that we could march on Saturday, but the transport grounded near Alexandria and lost a day. Everything, however, was ready to march on Sunday. The wagons-containing five days' bread, coffee, sugar, and salt-were all loaded up, and with beef cattle on the hoof, were distributed to the several brigades. Arrangements were made for General Haupt (see De-


*NOTE BY GENERAL McDOWELL.-The Potomac Run bridge is a most remarkable structure. When it is considered that in the campaign of Napoleon trestle bridges of more than one story, even of moderate height, were impracticable, and that, too, for common military roads, it is not difficult to understand why distinguished Europeans should express surprise at so bold a specimen of American military engineering. It is a structure which ignores all the rules and precedents of military science as laid down in books. It is constructed chiefly of round sticks cut from the woods, and not even divested of bark. The legs of the trestles are braced with round poles. It is in four stories, three of trestles and one of crib work. The total height from the deepest part of the stream to the rail is nearly 80 feet. It carries daily from ten to twenty heavy railway trains in both directions, and has withstood several severe freshets and storms without injury.

This bridge was built in May, 1862, in nine working days, during which time the greater part of the material was cut and hauled. It contains more than 2,000,000 feet of lumber. The original structure which it replaced required as many months as this did days. It was constructed by the common soldiers of the Army of the Rappahannock (command of Major-General McDowell), under the supervision of his aide-de-camp, Colonel (now Brigadier General) Herman Haupt, chief of railroad construction and transportation in the Department of the Rappahannock.