panies of heavy artillery I have there, either Fourteenth Massachusetts or Sixth New York. Can some of them be sent to Baltimore?
ROBT. C. SCHENCK.
MEMORANDUM FOR COLONEL, HASKIN. JUNE 29, 1863.
Commanding officers should be instructed to clear the bushes which have grown since the first cutting of the timber. This is particularly applicable to Mahan, probably also to Meigs, DuPont, Davis, &c. It would be desirable that a large guard should be put in Benning's Bridge tete-de-pont, and that there be supplied some kind of barrier at night to put across the road entering it. Mr. Gunnell will have a barrier made. Fort Mahan requires 700 men for a full garrison, and it has 80. In reference to raids, I regard it as one of the most important and exposed works. It seems to me particularly tempting to a chief of a cavalry party who should happen to gen near Bladensburg. So, too, would it be, should an enemy in force invest our northern lines. With the steep slopes of the hill unseen from the work, the enemy can surround it (under cover), unless the rifle-pits are manned, and dash upon it on all sides. What could a garrison of 80 men do to prevent its capture? The work was made large because it was deemed that this exposed, isolated point should be held strongly. Its loss, though it would give the enemy no positive advantage [not true, for from it he could with its own guns destroy the navy-yard and navy-yard bridge, and interrupt all communication with the works over the Eastern Branch], would demoralize the defense. I think there ought to be as a minimum at the present moment 200 more men in it. There are enough gunners, but we want infantry supports to hold the works. The bushes around the hill should be cut down. In case of any demonstration of the enemy making a dash along the road from Bladensburg toward Benning's Bridge, probable or possible, the trees on the road at the foot of the hill ought to be felled across it, and the line of cedars running along the farm road toward the Eastern Branch be felled longitudinally, so as to form an obstruction; also the trees and bushes along the creek; the orchards, &c., on the hill cut down. Moreover the dwelling-house and barn close to the work is highly injurious to the defense, particularly with a small garrison. A few days' notice ought to be given, and the buildings removed. Fort Meigs is also exposed to a dash. It will be more strongly held with the force now three than Mahan is. I could wish a stronger force there, if it were possible. I look upon the quarters as a great source of weakness. Since the extensions have been made, they are on the very point most favorable for an assault, and the matter is becoming worse every day by the addition of new buildings. I have desired Mr. Gunnell to indicate a plan for a camp, and the garrison should be moved either into it or into the works themselves. The fort and extension should be regarded as one work, under one command.
J. G. BARNARD,