Crawford's company of the same battalion. I observed considerable evidence of discipline and drill in Captain Blount's command. The health of the company had within a short time improved much. Of the 52 rank and file present, 8 were reported sick.
The defenses at the obstructions consist of the obstructions themselves and of the earthworks; the obstructions, of wooden piles locked together, chains stretched across the divers, and a sunken hulk, all covered with drift-wood, and presenting a formidable obstacle to an enemy attempting to ascend the river.
The lower earthwork stands upon a low, flat bank, 600 or 700 yards from the obstructions, and mounts three 32-pounders separated from each other by traverses under which are the magazines. The guns are mounted en barbette, and, having a traverse of not more than 30 deg., do not command the rear and flanks. The rear is entirely unprotected by a parapet.
I have made notes of the particular condition of each gun, but in this report will only remark generally that all the carriages and chassis need more or less repairing; all of them need painting; all of the guns ought to be lacquered, and one of them needs to be remounted.
It would, indeed, be well if all the guns were placed new carriages. It is within my knowledge that General Cobb communicated with Captain Moreno, of the Engineers, upon the subject of remodeling the work, and mounting the guns on center-pintle carriages, so as to be fired in any direction. The magazines are sound, and are adequate for the purpose of keeping the ammunition dry, but there was very little appearance of neatness or order in keeping them. Indeed, there has been the same neglect in regard to the whole battery. The parapet was overgrown with weeds, which might have been kept down with little labor. I left orders with Captain Blount in regard to these things, and he has since informed me that they have been attended to. A good many of the cartridge bags have been cut by insects or rats, and some of the powder had been allowed to fall on the floor of the magazine and to remain there. The implements have been neglected, and, in some instances, abused. Some, indeed, have been lost.
The upper battery is 600 nor 700 yards from the lower, stands on like ground, and is in all respects similarly constructed. It mounts two 24-pounder guns, which command the lower battery, but not the obstructions, a dense forest intervening. One of the guns is mounted on a 32-pounder carriage. The general remarks made in regard to the lower battery will apply to this.
A little up the river from the upper battery are four iron 6-pounders, mounted on field carriages, and so placed as to command the mouth of Moccasin Creek. The guns, ammunition, and implements are in condition for service, but the top of one of the ammunition chests had been seriously injured, and the contest removed to the others. I ordered two of these guns to be carried to the lower battery, to be used for defense of the rear.
I cannot close this portion of my report without calling the attention of the general commanding, to the unfortunate position of the defense at the obstructions. Our only communication with them is by water, the banks consisting for miles in every direction of impenetrable swamps. It is possible for an enterprising enemy, with small boats, to gain the rear of our position through creeks which flow out above and re-enter the river below, and this cuts off our