War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0500 KY., S. W. VA., TENN., N. & C. GA., MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.

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field battery, and that the scarp in places should be made more difficult. If the hill was to be occupied it was necessary that it should be held by a redoubt, too strong to be carried by assault when defended by its proper garrison, and that it should be prepared for guns superior to the possible artillery of an attacking party. It is quite probably that the two block-houses would have proved sufficient to protect the bridge against a raiding party coming to the south bank of the Tennessee; yet it was a proper precaution to hold the hill on which the battery was constructed. On the northwest bank of the Tennessee are three redoubts. Redoubt No. 3, on a knoll to the west of the railroad, is finished and armed with two 3-inch Rodman guns. It has sand-bag embrasures, badly constructed, and is defended by a small block-house in the gorge. The ditch of this redoubt is not a serious obstacle. It requires deepening. The block-house keep, however, is its safety against assault. It has a good distant fire, but does not see all the ground within canister range, as a portion of the elevation on which it stands is abrupt and convex. It covers the naval shops. Fort Numbers 2 stands on the northwest end of the hill, near the north abutment of the long bridge. This is a star fort with a stockade gorge; the two flanks that should connect with the gorge were unfinished when I inspected the work March 7. It is not a strong work and seems to have been designed simply as a battery. Finishing the flanks, deepening the ditches, and building an interior block-house would give this redoubt sufficient strength. On the south end of the same hill is an inclosed polygonal redoubt 500 feet long. It is unnecessarily large. The parapet, magazine, embrasures, and ditches required much labor to finish them at the date of my inspection. As this work has a large block-house keep when completed as directed it will be strong, but will require a large garrison. The guns of these works see well upon the surrounding country, but the steep hill slopes within canister-range are not well swept by them. Forts in such positions are more readily carried than when placed on level ground or on slight elevations. When practicable their ditches should be at least seven feet deep, and so steep that no soldier could scale them without much assistance. They should also be strengthened by a bomb-proof keep, and their guns should fire through embrasures with the least width of throat. It would have been a proper precaution to have placed small picket-stockades at the abutments of the bridges. The defenses of Bridgeport have grown up like those of most other important stations in the department, under different engineer officers and different commanding officers, and it could not be expected that they would be the best possible. Moreover, the labor required to fortify so large an extent of territory when necessary for protection against threatened attack. The positions selected for defending Bridgeport are well chosen. The post, however, has not received as much attention as Knoxville and Chattanooga. The natural obstacles to its approach, together with the large garrison at the post, have probably prevented any large expedition attempting the destruction of the bridges. The gun-boats, though simply simply musket proof, would have given some assistance to this post had it been seriously attacked.


Is ten miles distant from Bridgeport. It lies at the junction of the railroad to Huntsville and Decatur with that to Nashville. Its seizure by an enemy would not seriously affect war movements except for the