For additional security to the village, I would make a line or rifle-pits around the northwestern side of the village, covering the roads that enter from that direction.
In case of the approach of a strong force the bridge across Adams Bayou,on the Beaumont road, should be destroyed to prevent a flank movement in that quarter. (See note.)
In view of the possibility of a river approach,and to delay the enemy till our property and troops could be removed from Orange or till any small fleet should be sunk by the fire from guns, I suggest a raft, to be moored at V, ready to be thrown across the river. The tidal currents have no great force, and hence a raft might be readily secured at this point.
In view of the great importance of this point in all our military relations to Louisiana, I would suggest the construction at once of a large hospital building at some point, say upon the railroad.
I have to suggest that the great depot of quartermaster's, ordnance, and commissary stores for the use of the army in transitu or defending from invasion, should be at Orange and not at Niblett's Bluff. The natural defenses of the onr are great, while those of the other are few. In case of retreat,the want of transportation for both troops and supplies from the Bluff would endanger the latter; whereas we might have triple means of safety from Orange, viz, by water, by rail,and by land.
There are many good reasons for this conclusion, which, upon reflection, will suggest themselves to the general commanding,and I confine myself to mere primary suggestions.
It follows, therefore, if these views be adopted, that in mediate steps should be taken-
First. To construct ample commissary and quartermaster's buildings (which do not exist here) near to or beside the railroad, and supply them with ample material.
Second. That hospital accommodations (for sick soldiers as well as laborers) be provided, while a suitable building, properly located, is being on constructed.
Third. That for the works to be constructed here, 200 negroes from this State and Louisiana be at once conscripted and put to work.
NOTE.- Should it be objected to the sufficiency of these defenses that Adams Bayou might be bridged or headed by the enemy and the railroad approached west of the crossing,and our forces thus be cut off, it may be replied:
First. The defenses here cannot protect the country from invasion, nor the road from approach in rear, however strong. On the discovery of an enemy attempting a raid to destroy the road, we must pursue and meet him with cavalry. Should he attempt invasion with a large force, and take the direction of Houston, he would not find it worth his time and effort to flank and carry this place,as the country is traversed by several impassable streams and swamps between the Sabine and Neches which even in any weather must be headed or bridged, at cost of much labor and delay.
These are the chief reasons for constructing "open works" at Orange,the topography giving them the protecting character of "closed works."
Very respectfully submitted.
C. G. FORSHEY,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief Consulting Engineer,
Major-General Magruder's Staff.