THE FIELD ARTILLERY
is admirable. Guns of superior manufacture, and the horses and harness in unexceptionable condition.
consist, as the Department has no doubt been previously informed, in addition to the forts at the mouth of the Bay of Mobile and those at the debouche of the river into the harbor, of three lines. The outer line consists of new rifle-pits, very far out, and now abandoned as a line of serious defense. The inner line, more elaborate and extensive, was for a time the main reliance of the garrison, and although well engineered and constructed, is commanded by elevations immediately beyond, and was so near the suburbs as to have rendered necessary in the event of an attack a vast destruction of property, both without and within the line. The third or middle line of defense is now in process of construction, and consists of a line of ten heavy redoubts, armed with 8-inch columbiads, 42, 32, and 24 pounders principally, and connected by curtains.
They evince a scientific proficiency in engineering unsurpassed, if equaled, by anything on this continent, and are themselves the most eloquent evidence of the educated skill of the engineer in charge, Lieutenant Colonel Von Sheliha.
A portion of this defense extends across the mouth of the river. Batteries Gladden and McIntosh, both of which are now far advanced to a state of completion and properly defended, will prove sufficing to protect Mobile against a very formidable advance.
Below are Forts Morgan, Gaines, and Powell, the latter in process of being greatly strengthened since the last attack of the enemy upon it. It is, however, much to be regretted that the laboring force at the disposal of the chief engineer is greatly inadequate and daily diminishing. The impressed labor is being hourly returned to the planters, and no sufficient means has yet been provided to supply it.
The prices authorized to be paid by the Department have and will undoubtedly continue to fail in procuring it, while every consideration of prudence and economy suggest the employment of an effective force of laborers, who in six months might make Mobile impregnable.
From personal observation, as well as consultation with the major-general commanding and the chief engineer, I feel constrained earnestly to call the attention of the Department to this most important subject.
I found consisting of supplies adequate to the subsistence of the troops in the district for six months; they were well stored and of excellent quality. I append a schedule returned by the chief commissary.*
The supplies of the quartermaster, as exhibited to me, consisted only of corn is sacks and a small amount of damaged clothing. The report of the quartermaster was to the effect that he had, under or-