HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS, Numbers 86.
Yorktown, August 29, 1862.
A board of officers, to be composed of Major General John J. Peck, Brigadier General William H. Emory, Colonel John C. Dodge, Fifty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, will convene at Yorktown to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.
The board will examine and report upon the present armament of Yorktown, its condition, and the amount and condition of the ammunition on hand; the present state of the ramparts, magazines, and other appliances. The board will also give an opinion as to what is necessary, in addition to the means on hand, to place Yorktown in a suitable condition for defense.
By order Major-General Keyes:
YORKTOWN, VA., August 20, 1862.
The board met pursuant to the foregoing order, all the members named being present, and adjourned to make the examination preliminary to the following report:
YORKTOWN, VA., August 31, 1862.
The board report the condition of the armament is as follows:
There are forty-two garrison pieces of various caliber in position at Yorktown; none at Gloucester Point. Most of these pieces are out of adjustment from the settling of the earth and warping of the platforms and other wood-work connected with the mounting of the pieces, so as to make it difficult and in some cases wholly impracticable to work them.
Of the ammunition.
Inclosed is a list of the ammunition, which is wholly insufficient and not well assorted.
The present state of the ramparts at Yorktown.
The extent of the covering line, independent of the shore line, is about 1 mile. The interior revetment is good. The exterior ditch and exterior face of the work is in many places so much washed away and defaced as to form but little impediment to an assaulting column. The whole ditch and the ramparts, exterior and interior, and a considerable portion of the inclosure of the work is overgrown with noxious weeds, and the earth is saturated with human faces and decaying animal matter.
The condition of the magazines.
All except two are damp and unfit for use.
The exterior lines and approaches.
Two divisions, Peck's and Couch's, were left here to level the approaches and exterior works commanding this fort and cut down the forest. Before doing anything of any consequence (working a thousand shovels and picks one day and a half), two brigades of Peck's division and the whole of Couch's division were ordered away, and the mass of the work yet to be done in the removal of these obstacles to a proper defense of Yorktown cannot be better described than by stating the number of days' labor it would take. The number of troops here is as