fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as an engineer regiment, with permission to re-enlist it to its maximum strength, which I am informed can be done before May.
E. O. C. ORD,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
March 9, 1865. (Received 6 p.m.)
Chief of Staff:
Twenty-six deserters in from the enemy since my last report.
JNO. W. TURNER,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, CHIEF ENGINEER'S OFFICE,
March 9, 1865.
Major General E. O. C. ORD,
Commanding Army of the James and Department of Virginia:
GENERAL: I have the honor to call your attention to the following statement:
The engineer force at present with this army is entirely inadequate to perform the duties required of it and will be much more so when activity begins. I have but 565 men for duty in the First New York Volunteer Engineers, 265 of whom leave the service before November, 1865. In order that I may be prepared for the next campaign, I have the honor to request that a regiment of infantry be ordered to report to me for engineer duty, and beg leave to suggest one of the following regiments: One hundred and twenty-seventh U. S. Colored, Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps, which was detailed temporarily to construct the new line of works in front of Deep Bottom. This regiment has but two field officers with it, and reports 22 officers and 717 enlisted men for duty. One hundred and twenty-second U. S. Colored having 3 field officers, 22 officers,and 566 men for duty. This regiment not being at present in any brigade at the front, if detailed would not interfere with any organization. Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers (white) numbers now but 15 officers and 250 men for duty, commanded by a major on provost duty at Bermuda. If this latter regiment could be made into an engineer regiment by authority from Washington, it could be recruited up the maximum, 1,800 strong, before May, I believe. It is, however, a good infantry regiment, and may be able to recruit its strength in that branch of the service. The necessity of some regiment being detailed in this army for engineer duty is very obvious. The Army of the Potomac has two full regiments of engineers. We have two reduced battalions and are now dependent upon that army for a part of our engineer force.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
PETER S. MICHIE,
Brevet Major, U. S. Army,
Chief Engineer, Dept. of Virginia and Army of the James.