HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
October 20, 1864-6 p. m.
All quiet from Carothers; and Jordan's stations. As the intercepted messages from Holman's station are unimportant, I do not consider it worth while to bother you with them unless you wish it. From the Avery house working as usual at the Crater is reported.
Captain and Acting Signal Officer.
FRONT OF FORT HOWARD,
October 20, 1864-6 p. m.
No change in enemy's line on this front observed this day. The enemy relieved pickets on this front at 5 p. m. with a detail of about 200 men. All quiet in enemy's camps.
C. G. AIKEN,
HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE,
City Point, Va., October 20, 1864,.
Major General A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
SIR: In accordance with the directions of the commanding general, I have the honor to submit an estimate of the least force, in my opinion, requisite for a temporary protection or defense of the redoubts and lines now being prepared under my direction for the protection City Point. I have submitted the estimate in its details that, in connection with the plank of the lines, herewith also submitted, the commanding general may most readily judge as to the force that he would desire to place on these lines for this purpose. The additional force outside the redoubts appears to me, after the fullest reflection, to be of great importance, as otherwise in any attack upon the lines intermediate between the redoubts, especially if made at night, when the aim of the artillerists must be very uncertain, either the redoubts must be partially or wholly vacated to meet such an attack or there must be a disposable force besides the garrisons of the redoubts, to move wherever such an attack is threatened, to meet it. As he best solution of the matter of the bridge across the Appomattox, it has occurred to me, it must be perfectly satisfactory, at least for the connection of the depots at City Point and Bermuda Hundred, to have, if possible, a bridge and roadway within our present lines, and I therefore sent an officer to reconnoiter the opposite shore this morning, and he has just returned and reports that there is a point directly opposite the Nelson house (which you visited, on the banks of the Appomattox) from which a road could be made north, by a corduroy of one-quarter of a mile or a little more, for there is plenty of material there, as he states. Such a position for a bridge, concealed a sit would be from the direct view of the enemy and giving a much shorter communication between this post and the north of the Appomattox, for this point only, certainly would, in my opinion, be far preferable to the present site, while the debouche would be within my present lines of defense.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BENHAM,