in opening stations of observation,, and for the information furnished by him from such stations. He is also entitled to honorable mention for discharging his duty under fire, during the attack of the enemy on our right on the 7th of the month.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. R. CLUM,
Captain and Chief Signal Officer, Dept. of Va. and N. C.
Lieutenant Colonel W. J. NICODEMUS,
Commanding Signal Corps, U. S. Army.
Numbers 247. Reports of Bvt. Major Peter S. Michie, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Acting Chief Engineer, of operations August 1-December 20.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
CHIEF ENGINEER'S OFFICE,
September 10, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of engineering operations of this department for the month of August, 1864:
Early in the month Brigadier General G. Weitzel, chief engineer, left for Fortress Monroe, and subsequently on leave of absence, owing to severe illness contracted in active service in the field. On the 3rd of August the line of entrenchments were repaired and new abatis laid wherever the old had been burnt our by the fires in the woods. A pontoon bridge 560 feet long was laid on the Appomattox River for the passage of the Second Army Corps on the same day. On the 5th of August a survey of the locality called Dutch Gap was made for the purpose of deciding on the practicability of cutting a canal for the passage of iron-clads. The report was favorable, the following gestures being notice: The width of the neck or gap is 500 feet from high-water mark on the north and south side. The height above high water mark on the north end, or center line of the gap, is thirty-eight and two-tenths feet, and at sixty feet on either side of this line is forty-two and eighty-tenths feet. The height at south end on center line is four feet and at sixty feet on either side of this line is forty-two and eight-tenths feet. The total amount of excavation in round numbers is 50,000 cubic yards or a canal 500 feet long, fifteen feet deep, eighty-five feet wide at the bottom, leaving a berm fifteen feet wide on each side of the canal. This takes in account a slope of 1 on 1 in all the cuttings, which, from experience, will be unnecessary in the nature of the soil. It will be much steeper. The soil consists of a layer from twelve to sixteen feet thick in the average, of an indurated clay and sand, not easily moved to the pick, underneath which is a layer of heavy gravel and sand, the gravel of the size of ordinary paving stones. The work was ordered to be commenced on the 10th of August. The ground proving very hard, recourse was had to sub-soil plows to loosen the earth, and this assisted very materially. Eighteen carts and twelve wagons were employed in removing the excavation, which was dumped on a low flat just above the lower mouth of the gap. I have proposed to carry on the excavation down to the required depth, leaving an embankment at each end fifteen feet thick, which will be blown out simultaneously by four
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