and very striking feature is the very broken character of the region, caused by deeply seated streams and ravines, tributary to the rivers mentioned, which, coming from plateaus between 400 and 500 feet above the level of the Ohio,* and quite precipitously, in a distance of about 3 miles, leaves on every side high plateaus or ridges, which form very commanding positions for defense, but which, on account of their number and equal claims to eligibility, make them in some instances difficult of choice.
The line of defense assumed by colonel Whittlesey can readily be seen by reference to the fortifications and batteries delineated in red on the map and in the main, while answering the purposes of the best defense possible, is yet susceptible of improvements,which would not be neglected and which will appear in the sequel. This line having been found defended by Fort Mitchel and four batteries on the west side of the Licking and three batteries on the east side at a time when the enemy was near at hand and threatening an assault there was no time, if there had been any inclination, to make a change; it was not therefore deemed advisable to assume a new line, but to strengthen and extend the works already existing in the shortest possible period. This line, it will be notice, on the west side of the noticed, on the west side of the Licking River extends on nearly a continuous ridge stretching from the Ohio to the Licking, and presents on the side of the enemy declivities and ravines, filled in many instances with felled timber, which will make it difficult of assault. While on the east side of the Licking the works are on detached heights separated by ravines, having in their front the deep bed of one of the branches of Three Mile Creek, which with the felled trees and rifle pits, will also make them difficult of assault.
The chief objection to the line on the west side of the Licking are the heights immediately beyond the ravines, in some instances (as in front of the intrenchments between the Kyle and the burbank Batteries) overlooking the works and affording an enfilading fire. This, however, could veryreadily be prevented, as has been suggested by Lieutenant John A. Tardy, Corps of Engineers, by constructing a battery on the plateau about 600 yards beyond the Kyle Battery, just to the west of the Wolf road, at the point designated on the map. This battery, while protected by Fort Mitchel and the Kyle Battery in its rear, would effectually command the heights referred to and preclude the possibility of the enemy seizing them for the purpose of obtaining a plunging fire on the works in his front. I therefore consider the addition of this work essential to the security of the line.
Again, on the east side of the licking the heights immediately beyond the branches of Three Mile Creek, in front of the line of defense, overlook the Holt Battery, at Licking Point, and those on John's Hill; but while this is inevitable, yet they are in turn commanded by the McLean Battery, Shaler Battery, Phil. Kearny Battery, and Fort Whittlesey; and, like the works on the west side of the licking, are so strengthened by rifle pits, a military road running from battery, and felled trees, as with the accession of movable infantry and artillery to be very strong. In this connection I would point to the excellent position (see map) for a field battery on the ridge to the east of Forth Whittlesey, to
*NOTE ON ORIGINAL.- By the aneroid barometer the altitude above lowest stage of the Ohio at Covington Ferry of Fort Mitchel, the highest point on the west side of the Licking River, has been found to be 470 feet. By the same instrument Fort Whittlesey, the highest point on the east of the Licking River, has been found to be 401 feet.