this bridge soon becomes useless. Among items noticed during its use the following may be interesting. Unless the claw balks are lashed to the saddle-piece, they have a great tendency to slip up or down, according as the tide is flow or ebb. The canvas, without having holes punched in it, does not allow row-locks to be put in the gunwales, and it is difficult and tedious otherwise to operate the draw. The draw, too, is not stiff enough, owing to the play allowed by the claw balks. The dust of the manure covering requires to be constantly removed to prevent rotting the canvas. It is noticed that leakage follows quickly where any such matter remains a short time. The worst case of leakage reported was six inches in one night, and strange to say the same boat leaked none the following day. These boats are nineteen feet six inches long and are altogether too short. In some cases they come down to within four inches of the water when very heavy loads pass over them. They are also very liable to injury, owing to the many accidents which may occur by careless or mischievous soldiers, a single bayonet punch being sufficient to disable a boat.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
PETER S. MICHIE,
First Lieutenant, U. S. Engineers,
Acting Chief Engineer, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina.
Byt. Major General J. G. BARNARD,
Chief Engineer, Armies in the Field.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
October 10, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following as my report of engineering operations in this department for the week ending October 1, 1864, viz:
A tracing of a rebel map found on the body of General Chambliss was made from the original, which was lent to this office by Major Michler, chief engineer, Army of the Potomac, and seventeen copies (photographic) were made and distributed by direction of the major-general commanding this department.
Early in the week General Butler informed me of contemplated movements north of the James River, so that pontoon bridges should by ready at the proper time. The bridges at Deep Bottom, on the James River, and at Broadway, Appomattox River, were covered with manure on the 26th to deaden the sound of travel over them. On the 27th a survey was made of the banks of the James River in the vicinity of Aiken's Landing, to determine the site for a new bridge to be used in the coming movement. An excellent location was found about 600 yards below Aiken's house, there being good approaches on both sides. Generally, along the James River, while one side is good the opposite is marshy, and it is rarely that two points directly opposite can be found that will admit to be used for the abutments of a bridge unless first a long corduroy road is built on one side. The width of the river at the point designated is 1,320 feet, requiring sixty-seven boats for the construction of the bridge, including the two additional ones for the draw. The details of construction were intrusted to Captain James W. Lyon, chief pontonier, Army of the James, who has proved himself in every case a most reliable and skill-