manders, to prevent the rebel Government escaping across the Mississippi. Its capture is of the utmost importance. Wish there was plenty of cavalry on east bank below Memphis, and rewards offered for information.
S. P. LEE,
NASHVILLE, TENN., April 28, 1865.
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I inclose, for the information of the major-general commanding, my inspection report of the defenses of Bridgeport and of the railroad line thence to Nashville, with accompanying drawings.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. TOWER,
Brigadier General and Insp. General of Fortifications, Mil. Div. of the Miss.
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF FORTIFICATIONS,
MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 28, 1865.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Miss. West of the Alleghany Mountains:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following inspection report of the defenses of Bridgeport and of the railroad line thence to Nashville:
The Tennessee River at Bridgeport is divided into two branches by an island, and is spanned by two railroad truss bridges respectively 1,850 and 650 feet long. These important structures required special protection, as their destruction would have involved the serious delay, at least, of the Atlanta campaign. It was the most important point on the line of communication, not excepting Chattanooga. Fortunately its approaches from the south bank of the Tennessee were very difficult for a large raiding party with field pieces, and probably impracticable for heavier guns. These difficulties doubtless saved the place from attack in that direction. An attack from the north could only be effected by crossing the Tennessee at distant points, and by long marches which would have given time to the various detachments in Middle Tennessee to concentrate and cover Bridgeport, or at least relieve it. This vital position was thus well protected by natural obstacles. Its defenses, however, though not yet finished, received the early attention of the engineers and of the commanding general. Two large artillery and infantry block-houses, in the form of a cross, were erected-one on the island near the abutment of the short bridge; the other on the south bank near the other abutment. A battery on the hill to the east, half a mile distant, strengthened by a small single block-house, was intended to prevent the enemy from taking possession of this position from which he might have seriously annoyed the defenders of the bridge below him. When inspecting, March 7, I directed that the flanks of this battery should be prolonged to the bluffs, so as to make it an inclosed work. It required a magazine and embrasures for a full