HDQRS. 1ST MIL. DIST., DEPT., S. C., GA., AND FLA.,
Charleston, S. C., June 25, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of a communication from Lieutenant-Colonel Roman, inspector-general, to yourself, relating to certain communications from these headquarters to those of the department, concerning the operations of engineers in this district, and a communication from yourself, of the date of the 20th instant, expressing the views and opinions of the commanding general, which appear to be based upon the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Roman. Believing that report has been made without due examination, and that it is in some degree unjust to myself, I beg respectfully to submit the following:
It appears that the examination of Lieutenant-Colonel Roman into the matter has been to carefully peruse reports of Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, Major Echols, Captain Howard, Mr. Cheves, and Mr. White, all officers or employes of engineers, and to visit with Lieutenant-Colonel Harris a part of the engineer department of the reports mentioned, and such casual inspection, Lieutenant-Colonel Roman bases the first part of his report, with reference to the cause or foot way and its constructions.
I opine that Lieutenant-Colonel Roman has misapprehended the communications from these headquarters, which it seems he has reviewed, with regard to the bridge or cause or foot way under construction, and instead of looking to the manner of employing the force, military or hired, engaged, has given his opinion on the character of the structure. One the last, ordered, by the commanding general, I have nothing to remark. Concerning the employment of troops detailed for the service, forming part of my command, I respectfully suggest that it was my duty to know; and, as mentioned in the communications which have been reviewed by Lieutenant-Colonel Roman, having been informed by Colonel Graham of the manner in which details from his regiment were employed, I took occasion to observe the work, and reported as in my letter of the 24th of May. I do not see in Lieutenant-Colonel Roman's communication anything to controvert the facts stated in that letter. Indeed, from his report, I think the opinions expressed are well verified, since his report is dated more than three weeks after the date of the communication which he reviews, and the work, as far as he went, was not finished on the 18th instant. In this regard, I beg respectfully to state that applications were made, soon after my letter of the 24th of May on the subject, for details of solders, but no officers, for the work in question. These were furnished at once, and commanding officers of sub-divisions were directed to inspect and report on the progress. Colonel Simonton did report in writing, stating that the men were apparently fully employed, but giving his opinion upon the character of the structure, as it was when he saw it. Not having been informed of the intentions of the chief engineer, orally or otherwise, I beg respectfully to represent that Colonel Simonton could only report of things as he found them. And as the bridges are within the limits of my command, and it is the intention of the engineer, who it seems has charge of the work, to make it a more stable structure than that which Colonel Simonton reports was, at the date of his letter,