War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0282 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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OFFICE OF THE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL, ARMIES OPERATING AGAINST RICHMOND, VA.,

October 20, 1864.

Lieutenant-Colonel BOWERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The following information just received from Richmond agent is respectfully transmitted:

On all the roads approaching the city torpedoes are being laid and covered with dust. Cords 400 feet long are attached to the torpedoes and men secreted in the bushes pull the cord on the approach of an enemy. They are working on them night and day and already have them on some of the roads. They are also making and placing very ingenious torpedoes in the James River; something recently invented. It is reported that General Lee is determined to retake Fort Harrison. He is watching for a weak point that he many attack. It is generally believed he will attack very soon; some say to-day, October 19. The iron-clad railroad battery was placed on the York River road on Sunday last near the outer line of works.

The fortifications between Darbytown road and the river have been much strengthened. Informant estimates the force in and about Richmond (north of James) at about 20,000 men, and states that many of them will not fight. Attention is called to a remarkable article in the Enquirer of the 19th, advocating the conscripting of negroes for the military service. The paper has not been received here.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNumbers MCENTEE,

Captain, &c.

CHURCH ROAD SIGNAL STATION,

October 20, 1864-9 a. m.

Captain PAINE:

At 7.15 a. m. two engines passed westward on South Side Railroad. Owing to the fog and smoke we have been unable to see but little of the enemy's camps this morning.

J. L. PRAY,

Sergeant.

CHURCH ROAD SIGNAL STATION,

October 20, 1864-5 p. m.

Captain PAINE:

At 1.30 p. m. about 300 men were drilling near fort on Boydton plank road. At 3 p. m. seven wagon-loads of loose straw passed eastward on Boydton plank road. During the p. m. a small working partly has been engaged in strengthening the abatis before work near Jones'.

J. L. PRAY,

Sergeant.

SQUIRREL LEVEL SIGNAL STATION,

October 20, 1864-5.30 p. m.

Captain DAVIS:

Very quiet in the enemy's lines on this front to-day.

SLEEPER,

Sergeant.