side of the river, and that in the hills selected as sites of forts, pulled down houses, dismantled the suspension bridge prepared pontoon bridges at two or three different times for crossing the Cumberland, with the labor charged upon his pay-rolls; and during the siege of Nashville, lasting between two and three months, nearly all his force, over 1,000 strong, was employed upon temporary structures. The engineer department has built a grand depot magazine, the largest and best devised that I have ever seen. Its interior measurement is 150 feet by 60, high, airy, and well ventilated, solidly constructed, and lighted at either end by locomotive reflectors placed in small masonry rooms. The structure is covered with earth to a depth of eight feet. A covered roadway with stone masonry side-walls passes through the embankment and communicates with the magazine entrance. A solid trestle-work branch railroad from the main track has been built into the magazine yard, and a long building erected to receive the large quantities of fixed ammunition in transit. Had it not been an absolute requirement of the department to construct this magazine, I think Forts Negley, Morton, and Houston would have been completed, or, at least, available, so that with the aid of temporary batteries and rifle-pits Nashville might be looked upon as a fortified place. I make the above statements to show in part why the defenses of Nashville have not progressed more rapidly, and to account for large expenditures which have been applied to the forts. The forts planned were entirely too large to be speedily built. When General Morton commenced on the defense of Nashville great numbers of blacks could be obtained at small wages. It is probable that he expected to carry out his system by cheap labor. The enlisting of the negroes broke up this arrangement, and an uncommon mortality among them interfered with the progress of the system.
Both General Morton and Captain Burroghs, while in charge of the Nashville works, were frequently required elsewhere. Colonel Merrill, in charge of engineering operations in the Department of the Cumberland, has scarcely had time to inspect this post. General Morton selected for the defense of Nashville a line extending from the reservoir over University Hill, crossing the railroad to Fort Negley, Morton, Houston, and thence along the edge of the city to the river. The first portion of the line was simply an intrenchment or rifle-pit, probably supported by field batteries. The next was to consist of three large, strong works, of a somewhat permanent character and capable of resisting a siege after the city had been captured. The THIRD portion was a simple intrenchment, supported by the intrenched and stockaded capital. This was the weakest portion of the line. The selection was natural at that time, and with the exception of the THIRD portion, is yet the best defensive line. But the three works devised were unnecessarily large, and would have involved immense expenditures. Fort Negley, the least of the three, has been essentially completed. It requires, however, some extensive changes to give it more offensive strength. Fort Morton, after and expenditure of $15,000 at least, was abandoned by direction of Colonel Merrill, Engineers, when he took charge of the Department of the Cumberland. Fort Morton, as now being constructed, is a simple polygon, sufficient for the purpose intended. Fort Houston has in part been constructed according to the original plan, which like that of Fort Morton, is a double bastioned Choumara work. It has already involved large masses of embankment. The most expensive portion may be omitted and the modified work completed within more rational
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