War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0184 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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the rapidity with which their bridges were built is an evidence that their commendations were well deserved. Major Folwell mentions specially Lieutenant Owens, Sergeants Newell and Surdam as deserving favorable notice.

The following is Brevet Major Van Brocklin's report of his operations from the time he left my camp on the evening of the 6th until he rejoined me at the Nottoway River, near Freeman's, on the 11th instant: "I left camp with my detachment and pontoon train at 6.30 p.m. on the 6th and marched to the Jerusalem plank road, reporting to Major-General Warren on the way. Here I bivouacked until 7 o'clock the next morning, when the march resumed in a southerly direction, following the Jerusalem plank road. At the crossing of Warwick Swamp the bridge had been destroyed. A temporary crossing was made on the side of the road over which the infantry crossed, while Company C, being in advance of the train, built a bridge across the stream and covered it with cheeses. About one hour and three-quarters were occupied in constructing this bridge, when the train was again moved forward. By direction of General Warren I left Company G at this place to construct a corduroy road across the swamp on the side of the main road, with instructions to join the detachment again when the rear of the column had passed. The pontoon train arrived at Freeman's Bridge on the Nottoway River at 3.30 p.m. I immediately began to lay down the bridge with my company. It consisted of eight boats, the bays being sixteen feet and a half each. The bridge was constructed in one hour and ten minutes. A delay of perhaps fifteen minutes occurred in preparing the northerly approach. The descent to the bridge from this side was abrupt and caused considerable delay and confusion in crossing the supply train, which crossed during the night. Two army wagons and teams went into the river while this train was crossing-one through gross carelessness of the driver, the other I attributed to the awkwardness of the team and darkness. The bridge received but little damage, although in one case the team fell into the end of one of the boats. A few broken balks and cheeses and a hole through the canvas were the only damages. The bridge was taken up on the southerly side of the river on the morning of the 8th and the train started in the direction of Sussex Court-House at 7.30 a.m. The march was continued during the day, and camped at night on the Halifax road, about four miles north of Jarratt's Station. December 9, the trains started again at 3 a.m. in a southerly direction along the line of the Weldon railroad, and halted about two miles and a half north of Three Creeks at about 3 p.m. A section of the train was moved down to the creek, and a bridge laid across it. It consisted of two boats, the center span being fifteen feet and a half. This bridge was taken up December 10 and started on the return march at 7 a.m.; camped for the night near Sussex Court-House, and moved the following morning at 7 to the Nottoway River at the former crossing and laid down a bridge in the same place as before, occupying one hour and three minutes. Here the detachment joined the main body of the regiment under your command."

Brevet Major Van Brocklin was complimented in general orders by the major-general commanding the Fifth Corps for his skill and promptness in managing the pontoon trains during the expedition.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major of Engineer Armies in the Field, City Point, Va.


December 26, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engineering operations of this army for the week ending on the 24th instant:

Brevet Major Harwood was in command of the Battalion of U. S. Engineers up to the 23rd instant, and having obtained leave of absence on that date, Brevet Captain Benyaurd assumed command. The latter officer inspected the magazines at Fort Sedgwick with a view to repairs. Brevet Captain Howell, assisted by Lieutenant Lydecker, inspected the line from Fort Welch to Fort Fisher, and from Fort Howard to