War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0989 Chapter XXXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Virginia shore at Harper's Ferry. If the Government will unite with the railroad company, a bridge may be built will serve both and strengthen the natural advantages which this important military post possesses.

The town of Harper's Ferry, the village of Bolivar, and the road leading from the Ferry to Bolivar Heights, as well as the Heights, are commanded by the guns on Maryland Heights, which is the key to the whole position, and should be held at all hazards. The artillery companies on these Heights are well officered and in excellent condition. The four Maryland regiments of my brigade supporting them are reliable; but, insure the security of the position, a regiment, or, if that could be spared, a brigade, of troops should be posted in Pleasant Valley, on the eastern slope of the Heights. In addition to these, there should be at least a battalion of infantry at the aqueduct, near the mouth of the Antietam, where there is a good ford over the Potomac, and which, at all times, threatens the left rear of the defenses of the Heights. I think that I can hold these Heighths with my present force, and think that any change in the present condition of the troops, except to add to their number, would be injudicious.

With great regard, I am, general, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c., Maryland Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE, Near Banks' Ford, January 21, 1863.

General PARKE,

Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

Two of our pontoon trains are still on the road, and cannot be here before 10 o'clock, or midday. We have trains here, or within a mile. I think three bridges will convey troops over the river as fast as they can come up over the roads in their present condition, and these three bridges, I think, had better be thrown all below the dam, near Scott's Mill. Shall I throw them over there? I don't think it will be safe to throw one bridge only above the tongue of land. We cannot begin to take the pontoons down the river bank before it is light enough to see.


Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

P. S.-Although our pontoons are within a mile, the roads are in such a condition that several hours after daylight must elapse before they are taken to the river.

HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE, Near Banks' Ford, January 21, 1863.

Major-General BURNSIDE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

Since seeing you, I have looked over into the enemy's country, and cannot positively make out any signs of re-enforcements; still, there can be no doubt as to the enemy's knowledge of our location and intentions. Our smoke to-day covers the country, and reaches far beyond the opposite