HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, ADJT. GEN'S OFFICE,
Washington, October 17, 1862.
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III. Brigadier General Rufus King, U. S. Volunteers, will report in person to Major General George B. McClellan, commanding Army of the Potomac.
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By command of Major-General Halleck:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
SANDY HOOK, MD., October 17, 1862.
Captain J. C. DUANE,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:
SIR: I submit herewith a project for the defense of Harper's Ferry, with estimate of cost, and inclose a sketch of that place.*
The ground between the Potomac and Shenandoah, for 1 1/2 miles above their junction, has a general elevation of 200 or 300 feet above the rivers, and then rises into a ridge commanding the ground in front, running at right angles to the Potomac, and called Bolivar Heights.
Maryland Heights, on the east bank of the Potomac, and Loudoun Heights, on the south bank of the Shenandoah, command Bolivar Heights, by several hundred feet, and run within half a mile of the railroad bridge, which crosses the Potomac near the junction of the two rivers.
This position may be occupied with two aims: First, to prevent the enemy's crossing into Maryland at this point; second, to cover the railroad bridge and other bridges which may be built to secure a spacious debouch into the Valley of Virginia, and to furnish a strong post for the protection of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the vicinity.
The first aim may be attained by occupying Maryland Heights alone; the second requires the holding of portions of Maryland, Bolivar, and Loudoun Heights; and the following project applies to that case:
Project.-Run a nearly continuous infantry parapet from river to river, along Bolivar Heights (B, C, D on the sketch herewith); support it by redoubts at B, C, D, and another at A, to give flank fire. Redoubts to cover embankments for guns as follows: A, four guns; B and C, each, twelve guns; D, two guns. Crests of Maryland and Loudoun Heights, for 1 1/2 miles from the Potomac, to be occupied each by a line of stone block-houses or redoubts, a part of each of these lines to serve as one side of an intrenched camp for 3,000 men, the other sides of the camp to be strengthened by log block-houses, which would furnish in part quarters for the troops; these camps to be on the slopes of the mountain toward Harper's Ferry; each camp to have six or eight light guns, and roads to be made by which they could be moved readily from point to point. Five or six of these redoubts will be needed for each crest. Twelve 20-pounder Parrotts to be put in embrasure on the Heights of Harper's Ferry, to fire on parts of the slopes not seen from the camps. The present heavy battery on slope of Maryland Heights to be covered by a redoubt (E.) Garrison to be 12,000 men. Estimated cost of work, $50,000.
Nothing has been said of the means of crossing the rivers. The present way is by pontoon bridge, which cannot be relied on during the winter. The railroad bridge across the Potomac is at present impracticable,