Built a road to proposed Battery Kearny on left of second parallel, being a continuation of the road to Battery Meade. Lieutenant Talcott reports: "My infantry detail for this work were blacks. I found that they did at least one-fourth more than the whites who were with me on the preceding night."* Similar reports in favor of the black troops for work were frequently made.
Tuesday, August 4.-To-day began the construction, at the engineer depot, of iron-plate linings+ for embrasures from material obtained from the wreck of the Ruby.
This night commenced work on Battery Kearny, a half-sunken siege battery for three 30-pounder Parrott rifles in embrasure. The material for its bomb-proof magazine and platforms was gotten out at the lumber-yard during the day. Captain Walker superintended the work. He reports that the prisoners employed by him do not work satisfactorily; that he would much prefer to have soldiers.
This was a general complaint. Prisoners cannot be depended on for night work under fire. Sometimes more than one-half the detail would escape the ground and go back to camp.
Lieutenant Farrand reports that all the heavy breaching batteries and their magazines in the second parallel are completed and receiving their armament and ammunition.
Next to the want of earth, which could not be remedied, our work on the right is delayed at this period from lack of men. On the 31st July, the general commanding reduced my infantry detail to about 125 effective men per day.++ This force, with the engineer troops, is only sufficient for repairs and to keep the work now commenced slowly progressing. Large details, I am informed, are being employed on the Marsh Battery.
Wednesday, August 5.-This night we continued the obstruction westward by abatis across an arm of the marsh to Battery Kearny, thence along its front by inclined palisading, and thence by wire entanglement to the booms which cross the creek. This is the last work excepting repairs done on the obstacle in front of the second parallel. The general commanding has given me more instructions concerning it than for all other portions of the work together. I have accordingly always personally superintended its construction. The Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers have furnished all the fatigue details employed in setting the palisading and abatis. Sergeant [William W.] Walters and Corporal [Martin C.] Bennett, New York Volunteer Engineers, have put in the wire entanglement. The palisading@ was made in panels, at the engineer depot, chiefly from rough bridge material brought from Hilton Head. It, with all engineering material, was transported to the works in the night by means of wagons drawn by 4 horses.
To-night also began to thoroughly repair and revert with sand-bags# the lines of approach between the first and second parallels. This will increase the protection afforded by their parapets, and fit them for splinter-proof^ shelters, which are rapidly being extended through them, and it is hoped will to some extent lessen the destructive effects of the wind, and the "rat hole" operations of the infantry guard of the trenches, who constantly occupy and destroy them. Boards, instead of sand-bags, for rivetting these trenches, would cost
*See Note 19, p. 328.
+See Note 12, p. 322.
++See Note 18, p. 326.
@See Notes 1 to 4, pp. 303-308.
#See Note 10, p. 318.
^See Note 21, p. 331.