they were found and hurry them up. Fifteen miles below Jamestown Island they were found at anchor, the captain being asleep. Owing to the strength of the current and tide, and depth of water, it was deemed necessary to moor three schooners each above and below to steady the bridge. These had been brought down the night before with a view to this disposition, were anchored by us, and used by General Benham for that purpose.
June 15, in obedience to instructions from General Grant, I superintended this day the obstructions of the channel of James River, about 800 yards above Aiken's Landing. Four schooners were sunk in the main left channel, first being moored fore and aft and connected with strong chains, and one schooner in the smaller right channel, thus leaving no aperture a vessel of more than ten feet draught could pass through. The shallow water between the channels was obstructed by booms made from the masts of the vessels, connected by anchor chains.
June 16, owing to the strong attack of General Smith upon Petersburg, the enemy were compelled to withdraw all of their troops from our front to go to its relief. Over 1,200 were sent out immediately to demolish the line of works erected by the enemy and to cut timber in our immediate front, heretofore impossible to reach on account of the enemy's sharpshooters. A rapid survey was also made of the enemy's works, the main line of which is shown in the accompanying tracing, with its position in reference to ours.
June 17, a position was determined upon as the site of an advanced redoubt which would permanently secure to us the right center of their line. Owing to the scarcity of men, it was impossible to commence the work before it was again occupied by the enemy in strong force. The cutting of timber to the left of the advanced square redoubt was continued to-day.
June 20, a position on the left bank of the James River, at Deep Bottom, was examined to-day with a view to its occupation. It was ordered that the position should be held by 2,000 men. I indicated to Lieutenant Michie, U. S. Engineers, the general plan of the works and directed him to see to the details. The enemy's pickets being within 300 or 400 yards of the place designated, it required great caution so that they should not give the alarm. Immediately after dark the pontoon boats were brought to the James River, near the commissary wharf, one mile and a half above the point to be occupied, silently unloaded and placed in the stream, and safely and quietly landed, 1,400 men at the designated spot in less than thirty minutes after embarkation. The boats were then sent across and turned over to the pontoniers for the bridge. By 11 p.m. the details were at work, as follows: 500 men with shovels, 200 with picks, and 200 axes, a regiment placed on picket in advance of all. The pontoon bridge, roads, and approaches were all completed before daybreak. With ordinary soil the works would have progressed more rapidly; as it was, we were only able to throw up a simple defensive line. The ground was most unfavorable for excavation and embankment. It was a hard, white soil, breaking into small lumps on every application of the pick, and of such a character that the ravines formed were narrow, deep, and steep. It was impossible to use the ordinary proportion of shovels and picks, requiring here, at first, one pick to every shovel. At this point the James River is but 575 feet wide at high water, but very deep.
June 21, the work being well under way, Captain Eaton, First New York Volunteer Engineers, was placed in immediate charge and 1,800 of the 100-days' men sent to do the fatigue labor. A tracing of the works and position accompany this report.