War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0068 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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Ferry. I regret extremely that there has been any misunderstanding about it. I heard from Mr. Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, of the pontoon here, which was said to be intended to be taken up the Potomac, and when I spoke afterward to General Halleck, at Washington, about the necessity of having it conveyed to Harper's Ferry, I understood him that I could take it if there was one here, and needed not consult him about such matters of detail. I have telegraphed General Kelley about it, and he replies to me to night that one-half of this pontoon bridge had arrived at Harper's Ferry, the other half being still here at Locust Point. I will stop that portion which remains here, and will immediately order back that which has gone, if the General-in-Chief so directs.

I beg, however, to be permitted to keep this pontoon, and to carry out my plan, which is to place it at the new dam above the railroad bridge at Harper's Ferry, where the crossing can be maintained much more securely as to the safety itself, and where the approaches to it on both sides are covered in such manner as to give the best protection for troops passing, while more convenient for the communication between the two shores. The old pontoon, now below the bridge at Harper's Ferry, I propose then to take up and remove to Williamsport, where the emergency of the army having to cross over or fall back to that point, makes one essentially needed.

I ask that this explanation may be communicated to Brigadier-General Woodbury, commanding brigade of engineers.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.


FEBRUARY 14, 1863.

Respectfully returned to Brigadier-General Woodbury, to determine what disposition shall be made of this train.



Returned February 20, 1863. One-half of the pontoon boats to be sent to Harper's Ferry, the remainder to be retained in Baltimore, subject to General Woodbury's order.



NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, VA., February 15, 1863.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD,

Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

I respectfully ask instructions from the general commanding relative to the answer I am to make to the accompanying letter of Major-General Schenck, or rather to the indorsement upon it.

There where, I believe, fifty-nine of these large pontoons made at Baltimore. One-half, it seems, have been sent to Harper's Ferry, for which all were originally intended-the other half remained at Baltimore. I think this remaining half will be sufficient for any use we can have for such pontoons, and I propose that no objection be made to the use of the other half at Harper's Ferry. Fourteen of these large pontoons will, I believe, make a double bridge 450 feet long.



Brigadier-General Volunteers.