War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0944 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N.C. Chapter XLVIII.

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May 3, 1864.

The following outlines of the duties of engineer officers, serving with troops, is given in order that there may be conformity in the reports to this office required of them, and further that all may clearly understand the nature of the duties expected of them to perform:

First. The general position of engineer officers is with the advance of the commands to which they belong, keeping, if possible, in communication both with their immediate superiors (their or division commanders) and those under them. All information transmitted to these headquarters will in like manner be communicated to the corps or division commanders if it has reference to the safety or movements of their troops. The orders of said commanders are likewise to be obeyed, but when they conflict with any issued by the chief engineer they should be given in writing, so that the responsibility of any failure that amy result in consequence be clearly shown. The duties when in a region not well known are sketching the prominent features of the country on either side of the route taken, estimating distances, noting the streams, whether easily crossed by artillery without preparation, or only by cavalry or infantry; all roads and brigades needing repairs, extent and nature of same; suitable places for camps, and number of troops that can occupy them; whether wood and water are convenient; particularly marking all defensible positions, their extent and capabilities of being approached or flanked, which points are weak, and from what cause; as many names of points and places should be gathered as possible and noted on the sketches taken, so that they can be described definitely.

Second. When in the immediate vicinity of the enemy they are expected to reconnoiter his force and position, noting and giving information of any weak points in his or our lines, and in general obtaining such information as may assist the commanding general in making the most advantageous movements and combinations. Should a combination in line of battle be ordered, the division and corps engineers will move rapidly along their fronts, noting whether all parts of their lines join, or if any portion be too far advanced or too much withdrawn, and if so, communicating the fact to one another, as well as their commanders.

Third. An accurate account of duties performed, work accomplished, orders received and carried into effect will be kept, and brief weekly reports of same made to engineer headquarters. After any series of movements or engagements are complete, detailed reports of all operations connected with the engineer department will be sent in to these headquarters.

By order of Major General M. L. Smith:


Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


May 3, 1864.

Brigadier General A. L. LONG,

Commanding Second Corps Arty., Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: I had a conversation with the commanding general this morning, in which he expressed some wishes which it is proper I should communicate.