War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0520 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

material from Washington and forward them to your headquarters rapidly when required, and as a reserve to act at any time under my orders, a part of the depot repair company of the Fiftieth, of 55 men, and the effective men of two and a fractional company of the Fifteenth, 208-in all 263 men. Of the five companies of the Fifteenth brought here in june, one company now guards the corps pontoon trains. Of the Fiftieth Regiment one company, and fifty men of another, are (and more are called for) now guarding the bridges on the James River at and above Jones' Neck; and one company of surplus recruits for the Fiftieth Regiment is at Broadway Landing with Colonel Abbot.

The Two hundred and fifth Pennsylvania I would state (from General Butler's army and possibly subject to real at any day) now does the picket duty upon and in front of Bailey's Creek, upon which about 125 men are kept for each forty-eight hours, requiring for this duty, with a single relief, some 250 men. The adjutant reports of this regiment 806 men for duty, but the colonel verbally reported to me at the same time 675 only, which would leave 425 men, or just my minimum of garrison for Fort Porter, if he could encamp inside, which he cannot do; and the thirty-three men a day for camp guard every once in the three days reduces his command 100 below my minimum for that garrison and his outlying pickets, or taking the adjutant's report, would only about supply these two wants. The minimum estimated garrison of the other seven forts is 1,375. The report which my aide brings of the effective men for the garrison of all these forts, where all my recruits are now, including the New Hampshire and Massachusetts battalions and all their camp guards, is 1,313, being all my troops for duty excepting the small number of 263 at these headquarters previously reported in this letter, and out of these I have been called upon to furnish a guard to the Artillery Reserve train of twenty-four men for once in three days, that I might have the trained artillerists for the heavy siege guns. So that it will be seen that I have not now even men enough to give the minimum garrisons to the forts and the minimum of pickets on Bailey's Creek, while I regret to report that the largest body, about one-third of these men, to Two hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, is very poorly officered and very inefficient, at least for the fatigue duties I have had to call upon them to perform. The colonel, after disobeying my orders to-day about keeping his men on the works, distinctly stated to me that if his men had much more fatigue duty to perform there would have to be much severer punishment inflicted upon them to prevent insubordination. Since writing the above I have been handed two orders, caries* of which are inclosed, the one an application of Captain Austin to Captain Blool for a "daily detail of 150 colored soldiers. "whose place I am directed to supply with the engineer troops until these laborers can be hired by the quartermaster; the other, an application for 100 men from Captain Wiley for the quartermaster; the other, an application for 100 men from Captain Wiley for the commissary, which I am also directed to furnish. In addition to this I am, and have been for some time past, furnishing a detail of twenty men for General Grant's headquarters, and I may also properly report, as one reason for the defenses not being nearer to completion, that on the 3rd instant I received an order to furnish for continuous duty, night and day, or forty-eight hours, 400 men to the commissary to unload vessels. Now, all these details, except the small one which is taken from this deport guard, have had to, and will have to, leave the forts and the duty there and march down and back the two or three miles from the works, unless they again pitch their tents at this post and thus vacate the redoubts.