War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0462 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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stowed on it, and the practical limit will depend on varying circumstances and individual judgment. The importance of such a system of defenses for Washington has been so fully demonstrated by events that there need be no argument on this score, and it is quite as clear that if defenses are necessary they must be as adequate, so complete, that in the hour of need they shall be fully equal to what is expected of them. Although they proved the means of saving Washington, they had not been made entirely so up to the time when Washington was recently threatened. I now desire, and am expected, to make them so. For this purpose I desire authority to expend to the amount of $100,000 more (should so much prove necessary) from the current appropriation for contingencies of fortifications and field works. I would make a suggestion in connection with this subject. Every one in authority is too busy to give any attention to this matter, and the consequence is that I am the sole judge, all questions therewith being referred to me.

A work involving so great and expenditure, and which is so important to the national safety, should have other authority than the opinion of a single individual, who may be influenced by personal motives. I would, therefore, suggest that a commission of there of four officers, of high rank, he directed to examine into and report upon the subject.

I commenced this work as chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac. When I was again (unsolicited by myself) put in charge of the defenses of Washington, it was at a moment of danger, and I felt the immense importance of bringing these works to the proper condition of efficiency. From previous familiarity, I was probably better qualified than any other to carry on the work. Under this impression, I accepted the task, and have no desire to remain connected with it a day after my services become more valuable elsewhere than here, a matter which it belongs to others to decide. Should the idea of a commission to examine and report upon the defenses of Washington be approved, I would suggest the names of Major General N. P. Banks, commanding Defenses of Washington, &c.; Bvt. Brigadier General J. G. Totten, chief engineer, U. S. Army; Brigadier General M/. C. Meigs, Quartermaster-General, and Brigadier Gens. G. W. Cullum and W. F. Barry.

Such a commission would be the more proper that Congress, at the last session, in making a special appropriation for fortifications of Washington, prohibited that appropriation from being applied to the commencement of any new works.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient,


Brigadier General and Chief Engineer, Defenses of Washington.


OCTOBER 22, 1862.

The Adjutant-General will prepare an order for a commission, as suggested within.


Secretary of War.



Commanding Division, Portland:

GENERAL: Since sending the messenger this morning, I have from Colonel Lightburn the report that the rebels are said to be returning to