War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0914 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

neer, Department of Arkansas, and from the records of his office, have directed my attention to the following points, which I respectfully submit for your consideration and action:

First. Much work remains to be done upon works already laid our and commenced. There appears to be a difficulty in getting men to do it. Details for fatigue duty are not allowed from the artillery companies, or from mounted regiment, and an order still in force dated at Little Rock, November 23, 1864, from headquarters First Division, Seventh Army Corps, directs that "the fatigue details to work on fortifications are hereby discontinued." This order renders the chief engineer entirely dependent on the pontoon battalion (numbering at the last return 249 men present for duty) for all details for fatigue duty on the defenses, as these are the only troops under his control. Captain Wheeler informs me that he has furnished 100 men daily from the battalion to work on the fortifications. I would suggest that, if possible, the daily fatigue detail for work on the fortifications be one regiment with its full complement of offices, to continue until most essential portions of the line of works are completed.

Second. Upon each of the principal commanding points on the line of works established around Little Rock, where batteries have been constructed or commenced, I recommend that an inclosed work be placed with as little modification of the trace of the batteries as may be consistent with the necessary conditions of strength. This is in accordance with the design of Captain Wheeler, and ought, in my opinion, to be carried into effect at once. These inclosed works should be sufficient strong to repel, beyond peradventure, an open assault on any and every side. These positions on the large map of Little Rock in Captain Wheeler's possession are Battery A, Battery B, Battery D, Battery F, and near Battery H, on the high ground in a northwesterly direction from it. The works at the five positions above named should each be surrounded with a formidable obstacle placed within the reach of the musketry fire of the parapet. The scarp, if it can be made sufficiently high and steep, might answer without any other obstacle, but, inasmuch as the ditches of such works are but imperfectly flanked, I would recommend and inclined palisading, or an abatis beyond the ditch. The gorges of the works should be closed by palisades or light stockades with a barrier at the opening. The square redoubt between Batteries B and C is sufficiently strong in profile any additional obstacle. At the other points on the line selected for batteries (called Batteries C, E and G) I do not deem inclosed works necessary, although there would be an advantage in inclosing Battery C in such a manner that it would be completely seen in reverse from the redoubt. The line of rifle-pits has been judiciously located, and should be completed between the right of the line and the redoubt. Positions for light batteries should be prepared at suitable points on the line, to take part, under partial cover, in an active defense.

Third. For the control of the approaches to the city on the north side of the river, and the security of the railroad property and supply depots there established, two small detached works have been projected, and one of them nearly completed. They are well calculated to subserve the end in view, against any expected demonstration, or an attempt in sufficient force to attract attention, but the utmost vigilance at or on the line of these works would not be likely to frustrate the secret and stealthy approach of a few daring and skillful incendiaries. I therefore recommend that these depot buildings be inclosed by a light palisading, eight or nine feet in height, with gates across the railroad