Report of condition of batteries at Port Hudson, La., October 24, 1862.
These are located along the bluff at Port Hudson at points commanding extended above and below then, with elevations above the present water line of 85 feet at the highest point and 40 feet at the lowest point.
They are kept in good order generally, but are in some instances equipped with defective implements, which Captain Girard, who has charge of the heavy artillery, tells me can be replaced at the post, the necessity for which was named by me to him. In two instances I noticed carriages and chassis defective, the chassis of one gun being much worn, and the chassis and carriage of another have shrunk, they having been made of timber ot well seasoned. I recombed that these be immediately replaced by others from the arsenal at Jackson.
The water battery is about 45 feet above the present water line of the Mississippi, and is pierced for three guns. At present but one, a rifled 32-pounder, is mounted.
In one of the lower batteries there is an alternation that I respectfully suggest should be made, which when done will prove of decided advantage. The work referred to here consists of two 24-pounder rifled guns upon siege carriages, each looking through direct embrasures. These are quite narrow, and restrict the field of fire to a line perpendicular to the parapet. I recommend that these be filled and the guns served over the crest.
The most southern of the batteries is for two 24-pounder rifles upon siege carriages. From the formation of the ground the place selected for the upper gun by the engineer officer is elevated above the lower one 6 or 8 feet and not more than 30 feet from it. In serving this upper gun when the enemy's vessels are below the battery and close to it it must be depressed, firing over the lower gun, and thus endangering by concussion the cannoneers to the left and below them. I recommend that this gun be removed to a position more upon a leave with the other one. Brigadier-General Beall spoke of making this change.
These are in good order.
I did not examined the interior of all the magazines, but I did examine enough to satisfy me of the condition in which they are kept. They are dry and clean, but are without ventilation. They are in quite exposed positions, with the entrances to some of them open to the front, so that the enemy's fire, if it do not entirely destroy them, will greatly endanger free ingress and engross. General Beall is having all such changed to more secure positions. The magazine to the water battery is built broadside to the river and has its entrance upstream. This could not be avoided from the character of the bluff. Its entrance should be made more secure by a traverse thrown across it. As this magazine lays under the bluff it will be advantageous to revert the roof with sods or fascines to prevent washing.
The main magazine is located about one-half mile from the river in a