except for cars, and is the only permanent bridge. It is unnecessary to say that communications across these rivers claim attention before fortifications.
C. B. COMSTOCK,
Lieutenant of Engineers.
If Harper's Ferry is to be permanently occupied, I would recommend that, first, a substantial bridge be constructed over the Potomac. The point (marked in the sketch) immediately below the dam is the most favorable, as it is not exposed tot he fire from Loudoun Hewights, and, by holding the points A and B, will afford a secure debouch on the Virginia side of the river.
The fortifications on Maryland Heights and the point A should be commenced at once. It would be worse than useless to construct those on Bolivar and Loudoun Heights before some more substantial means for crossing the river than we have at present can be furnished. The present railroad bridge is a temporary structure, liable to be swept away by the winter freshest.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. DUANE,
Captain of Engineers, Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Pleasant Valley, October 18, 1862.
The immediate attention of the General-in-Chief is called to the within communication. I look upon the permanent and secure occupation of Harper's Ferry as a military necessity, whatever ultimate plan of campaign may be adopted. I think that not a day should be lost in pushing to completion the permanent bridges over the Potomac and the Shenandoah, and in the construction of the defenses recommended. I beg to repeat, in the clearest terms, that the construction of these bridges and the defenses of Harper's Ferry have nothing to do with the operations of the active army, but stand by themselves, as relating wholly to the permanent occupation of that very important military position. Unless the Potomac bridge is commenced at once, there will be serious difficulty in completing it this winter. I cannot urge too strongly the importance of permanently occupying Harper's Ferry in great strength.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
P. S.-Closer study may indicate the means of so fortifying this position as to render a smaller garrison than that mentioned within necessary.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, October 19, 1862.
This project of extensively fortifying Harper's Ferry, and constructing a permanent bridge at that point, involves a very considerable expenditure of money, a larger garrison, and a long delay, perhaps extending into winter, before Harper's Ferry can be made a prepared base for, at best, an exterior line of operations upon our proper objective point-Staunton, Lynchburg, or Richmond. Either of these points may be