War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0664 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

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Cincinnati, Ohio, November 27, 1862.

Major N. H. McLEAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff:

MAJOR: On the 6th September last I had the honor to receive General Orders, Numbers 11, of same date, issued from this department, in which was the following paragraph:

II. Major James H. Simpson, United States Topographical Engineers, having reported to the major-general commanding, is hereby appointed a member of the department staff, and announced as Chief of Topographical Engineers. He will be recognized and obeyed as such. Major Simpson is charged with the construction of such field works as may be deemed necessary for defensive purposes in the vicinity of Newport and Covington, Ky. He will proceed at once to examine and repair the intrenchments already thrown up, and will extend them if it should be deemed advisable. Major Simpson will submit to the commanding general as early as possible drawings of the works, accompanied with a report thereon.

Agreeably to said instructions I have the honor to submit the following report on the defenses in the vicinity of Covington and Newport, Ky.:

From a report dated November 1, 1861, marked Appendix C (herewith), of Colonel Charles Whittlesey, who, under Brigadier General (late Major General) Ormsby M. Mitchel, then commanding the Department of the Ohio, commenced these defenses in the fall of 1861, I learn that surveys of the adjacent country were made in May and June of that year by order of Major-General McClellan, by Lieutenant Poe, of the Topographical Engineers. A map was furnished Colonel Whittlesey containing the results, being a copy taken from Lieutenant Poe's original by direction of the city council of Cincinnati. Colonel Whittlesey could not learn that a plan of defense was decided upon, he finding no memoir on the subject at headquarters when he reached here on the 23rd of September of the year mentioned. Colonel Whittlesey and assistants continued the surveys for minute topography, and made a new map, showing their position of the defensive line which he had adopted and the earthworks already constructed and proposed. From a report of Colonel Whittlesey, marked Appendix D (herewith), to Brigadier General (now Major General) D. C. Buell, then commanding the Department of the Ohio, dated December 5, giving a further account of the defenses, I learn that he delivered to General Mitchel this map (which the latter took to Washington) and furnished a copy to General Buell. A search, at my request, was made for the original at Washington and an application to the headquarters of General Buell for the copy, but in both cases without success. The consequence is that almost an entirely new survey has been required to be made under my direction, a map of which, showing the minute features of the topography of the country and the location and character of the defenses, is herewith furnished. Accompanying will also be found plans in detail of the fortifications and batteries erected by Colonel Whittlesey and of those added, together with the military roads, since I took charge.

On looking at the map it will be noticed that the most notable feature of the region defense assumed by Colonel Whittlesey, extending back of Covington from 2 1/4 to 3 miles, sweeps around from bank to bank over a line of from 7 to 8 miles-the shortest probably that could be found. The next grand characteristic is the licking River, coming in from the south, which divides this region into two nearly equal parts. The third