road from Chattanooga to Atlanta. I will confer with Donaldson further on my return to Nashville. He must keep accurate invoices of whatever he furnishes, with the view of an after settlement. I will be with you about the end of next week.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF FORTIFICATIONS,
MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., June 10, 1865.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Miss. West of the Alleghany Mountains:
I have the honor to submit the following inspection report upon the defenses of Huntsville and Decatur, and the railroad line thence to Nashville, including also Gallatin and Dalton:
The redoubt at this place, essentially a square of 180 feet sides, is situated on the highest ground within the city limits. It seems into the occupied portion of the city and beyond. Portions of the hill are steep and cannot be swept, especially toward the town, but within canister range the fire is generally good. I hill, distant three-quarters of a mile, is higher than the side of this redoubt. From this position the fort is not defiladed. A traverse should have been constructed across the work for this purpose. The site of the redoubt is rocky, so that the ditch excavation is but partial, and therefore little or no obstacle. The parapet is nearly ten feet thick and the command is good. Though the work has never been completed, it is in a defensive condition. A small portion of the parapet has not been raised to its full height. There are gates at the entrance, and a leaky magazine within, which acts in some measure as a small traverse. Around the work is an inclined palisade or fraise, a feeble obstacle, and the remains of a cedar abatis. This abatis was an excellent obstacle, much superior to the fraise. Since Hood's invasion no progress has been made on this fort. In order to make it suitable for a permanent construction the parapet should be completed (this will require little labor), and a good magazine built with its opening toward the low ground. The banquette should be neatly formed and finished and the platforms which were roughly made railed in a more workmanlike manner. A small block-house within the works would be a proper addition, as the ditch is no obstacle to assaulting troops. Otherwise it would be proper to blast out the ditch and revest the scarp with dry stone. The building of a small keep, an octagon of twelve feet sides, would be the simpler operation of the two. As Huntsville will doubtless be permanently occupied, the troops at this place should be called upon to complete the fort. There are at present nine field guns in the work, seven of which are on platforms. A single field battery will be sufficient for the permanent armament. It is probable that Huntsville will require for the peace establishment one artillery and one infantry company.
Rests upon the Tennessee. Though formerly a place of importance as the junction of the Memphis and Charleston with the Decatur and Nashville roads, it now has few inhabitants. Its limits are very small.
62 R R-VOL XLIX, PT II