War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0514 Chapter XXXVII. N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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to keep a small force of laborers at work on it. The lines of rifle-pits and batteries are essentially complete.

There is some interior work on the different forts from Craig to Mott, but I can do no better than to furnish instructions, supervision, and some assistance to the garrisons.

The new works on the river, and those recommended on Traitor's Hill and at Corbett's house, I had expected to do with hired labor, and it is that I may be able to do them that I am forced to withdraw hired labor in great degree from finished works. No one is more tired of this work than I am. The probable allegation that it is endless may be frankly admitted.

The works, in the hasty construction and imperfect development given them two summers ago, were certainly a vast addition to the defensibility of Washington, but to make this line, 35 miles long, really a strong line, such as we need about Washington, the works of 1861 were but the beginning.

The artillery (the best we could get) was improper and not adapted to the purpose or the age. The garrisons need (if a protracted resistance is expected) to be sheltered by a certain amount of bomb-proof; and that these works should be, as intended, ant points d' appui for movable troops, it was important that these last should have the protection of rifle-pits and properly located batteries for field guns. Your own observation must have shown you that in the last eight months a vast amount of important work has been done, and that there is no comparison between the defensibility of Washington as it was eight months ago and as it is now.

It is extremely difficult to keep up a large force of hired laborers, and as to contrabands, of which there are multitudes somewhere, cultivating Arlington or employed by the quartermaster, I have never been able to get any number.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Washington City, May 23, 1863.

Major-General HALLECK,


GENERAL: In vies of the possibility of an early raid by the enemy, I desire you to state-

1. What provision, in the present condition of the Army of the Potomac and the forces around Alexandria, Baltimore, and Washington, should be made to guard against such raids.

2. Whether proper precautions have been taken to guard against such raids.

3. What dispositions of our cavalry forces should be made under present circumstances.

4. Any other suggestions you deem proper to make in resect to the above-mentioned forces for offense or protection. You will also state what cavalry force now belongs to the Army of the Potomac, where it is, and on what duty engaged.

Yours, truly,


Secretary of War.