previously encircled by several wells, connected by galleries, which had become filled by the late rains. These would necessarily be drained by the construction of any galleries in their immediate neighborhood. At the request of Major-General Barnard, I accompanied him on the 13th along certain parts of the line, visiting Forts Rice, Sedgwick, and Davis.
In addition to the general superintendence of two or three works with which he was charged, Captain Gillespie was directed to make a reconnaissance on our left flank and ascertain, if possible, the position and direction of the enemy's line of works. He was subsequently charged with the direction of some surveys in that locality. Lieutenant Phillips is still temporarily detached on duty with General Benham, assisting in the construction of the line of works in front of City Point. Captain Harwood, in addition to the necessary details connected with the command of the Battalion of Engineers, aided me in some examination of the line between Fort Alexander Hays and the Pegram house, to ascertain whether or not it could be materially advanced and shortened, so as to be held by a less number of men, and should such prove to be the case, would there be any particular advantage gained proportionate to the amount of labor to be exposed in intrenching a new line and constructing a new series of field-works. A report, in answer to these questions, was submitted on the 12th to the commanding general of this army. The following extracts from Lieutenant-Colonel Spaulding's weekly report of the operations of the detachment of the Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers will furnish a statement of the condition and progress of the works located by me on the 2nd and 4th instant, those under the special charge of Lieutenant Howell having been already noticed, and of the advanced stage of the others, Forts Stevenson, Blaisdell, and McMahon, near the Jerusalem plank road. Work upon these had been temporarily suspended during the late movement of the Army of the Potomac, but was resumed by my direction as soon as the officers and men previously engaged in in their construction could be spared from the new line west of the Weldon railroad. The length of that line is over six miles, and the greater part has already been strongly intrenched, and either a strong abatis or fraise, together with heavy slashing, forms a serious obstacle in its front. Eleven redoubts have also been located at different points along it [which] for perfection and beauty of finish few field-works can surpass, especially when the short period of time to construct them is taken into consideration. The following form parts of Colonel Spaulding's report:
Captain Pettes has completed the redoubt on the front line at the left of Fort Wadsworth, and it is now occupied by the garrison. At the date of my last weekly report, Lieutenant Van Rensselaer was engaged on the redoubt near the Chappell house, on the Squirrel Level road. This fort was completed on the evening of the 11th instant. On Wednesday I sent Lieutenant Van Rensselaer to report to General Parke for temporary duty on his lines. Since that time he has been engaged with a small detail from the command in cutting roads from General Ayres' headquarters east through the woods, and also in charge of details from the Ninth Corps in making infantry and artillery roads in rear of the lines of that corps. Captain Hine completed the redoubt near the Pegram house on Sunday last, and during Monday forenoon was engaged with two companies of this command in slashing in front of the Ninth Corps. On Monday afternoon I directed him to proceed to Fort Blaisdell and complete the work upon that fort, and also upon Fort McMaHonorable Fort Blaisdell was completed on Friday evening with a double line of abatis in front. This morning the work was resumed on Fort McMaHonorable The parapets of this work are complete and the work ready for the guns, but several days will be required to finish the bomb-proof and other interior works. Captain Van Brocklin remained in charge of the redoubt near the Smith house until Monday morning, 10th instant, with two companies of this command and details of infantry.