War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0205 Chapter XXXVI. THE SIEGE OF Vicksburg, MISS.

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On MAY 4, I reconstructed the bridge, which was badly scuttled, and constructed a small earthwork overlooking the crossing. The next work from this point was at Rocky Springs, where I reconstructed a bridge 30 feet span, and another at Sandy Creek, 50 feet span. I had to crib to strengthen the stringers. At Rocky Springs I was joined by Captain (now Lieutenant-Colonel) Wiles, seventy-eight Ohio Volunteer, infantry, with the mechanics of the corps and the negroes left at Milliken's Bend, making the number of my effective men 208. At the battle of Raymond on the 12th, captain Wiles drew up his mechanics in line and went into the fight; afterward he buried the dead. The next work of importance was the strengthening and reconstructing in part of the bridge over Baker's Creek. Our DIVISION arriving safety in Clinton on the evening of the 15th, that night Captain Hickenlooper and myself, with the Seventh Missouri Infantry, destroyed the railroad from a point 2 miles south of Clinton and toward Jackson, which we completed on the 16th to the State capital. Leaving Jackson on the 17th, and passing through Clinton, we arrived within a short distance of Edwards Depot. Next morning I was ordered to build a bridge on the road leading from the depot to Bridgeport (80 feet span). The bridge was built in six hours, and by order destroyed by fire, and reconstructed again by myself. From this point I advanced to Big Black River, where I received am ordered form you a construct a bridge north of the Ranson Bridge, and Captain Hickenlooper, chief engineer, and myself, succeeded in building the cotton bridge, over which the Seventh DIVISION, SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, advanced. In building the cotton bridge, the following method of construction was observed, the span being 102 feet, the water 30 keep deep: A small raft was first build os sufficient buoyancy to sustain two men, who carried the end of the shear line across and anchored it. The span stringlers, 12 by 16, and 34 feet long, were laid on the shore 10 feet apart and parallel to be current of the river, and strips of sheeting 1 inch thick were spiked on the stringers 2 feet 6 inches from center to center, thus tying the stringers together. An end inches from center to center thus tying the stringers together. An end piece, the depth of the string pieces, was then spiked on the shore end to the structure, and the whole was turned uenting the appearance of a large scow. Two cotton bales were then rolled in on the flat, and a piece of sheeting nailed in front of them transversely. Pressing them tightly against the end piece. The same was repeated until the section was filled with cotton. Upright posts of scantling 2, by 4, were now spiked to the stringlers at the end of each cotton bale, and sawed off about I inch scant of the height of the cotton. After this, pieces of sheeting cotton bales. Five pieces of scantling 2, by 4 were then spiked longstream and spiked together. Finally, the whole structure was lashed to the shear line and two small abutments, constructed of rails and bush. I witnessed the crossing of the DIVISION, and found that the 20-pounder Parrot sunk the structure only 14, inches leaving an excess of buoyancy of 16 inches.