War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0878 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII

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by fortifications on elevated, ground, commanding obstructions of their channels, the Secretary of War has directed that careful reconnaissance of the rivers and the country bordering on them be made by competent engineer officers. The examination of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers is assigned to you, and it is desired that you enter on the duty as promptly as possible. The extent of each river to be examined will depend much upon the occupation of the country by our troops. Confer therefore with the commanding general of the Western Department as to the limits within which the proposed defenses should be located, the strength of garrison that can be spared from his mobilized forces for each of them, the probable armament that can be obtained, and the time they are expected to hold out before relief or surrender. The land defenses in rear of each river battery should have sufficient strength to resist a storming party, thus forcing the enemy a regular investment. Ample store-rooms for provisions, magazines for ammunition, and bombproofs for the protection of the artillerists should be built in each work.

The obstructions for blocking the channels should be made of great strength and massiveness to resist the immense forces of freshest and drift-wood. Solid structures of timber in the form of large pens or cribs, and even continuous dams filled with and surrounded by stone if the bottom is soft, and placed in rows across the rivers may serve as barriers in ordinary stages of water during moderate rises, and even in great freshest if placed in positions when the fall of the rivers is sufficient to lead to a heavy plunge over the obstructions, or in sharp curves, rendering navigation extremely difficult and even impossible. In most cases during floods floating obstructions, probably attached to the solid cribs, will be necessary. At certain points piling and hulks of steamboats may be used with advantage. Communicate promptly to this bureau (as soon as you have formed an opinion) a preliminary report, stating the probable location of the necessary works, with sketches works, of the localities and features of the rivers to be defended in their vicinities, to be followed as soon as possible, after completing the reconnaissance and selecting the points for defenses, by maps of the country and definite plans for the forts and obstructing works. At the same time you will take steps for securing the requisite labor and materials for construction, for which, as well as for the surveys, this bureau will furnish the necessary funds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers and Chief of Engineer Bureau.


Knoxville, Tenn., September 26, 1862.

Gov. ISHAM G. HARRIS, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:

Have no troops to send you. Do not know where Price is; last heard from at Jackson. Breckinridge will be at Chattanooga in a day or two.




Bardstown, Ky., September 26, 1862.

Colonel WHEELER, Commanding Cavalry:

COLONEL: The major-general commanding directs that you move with 250 men of your command to Munfordville, or as near that place