War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0651 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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command and General Woodbury's according to the knowledge and ability they had (and neither they nor I am to blame if they are not yet perfect and thorough pontoniers), did the utmost they could do and deserve rather encouragement for their zeal and severe labor than professional reproach. But less upon General Woodbury and Captain Duane than myself is a professional reproach cast in the order which, without any consulation, any intimation to me, takes the entire work out of my hands, giving it to a subordinate. I have no disposition to screen myself from merited blame, but I would not be touched in that which is dearest to a soldier on ex parte statements and misunderstood facts. I hathered from some remarks of the commanding general this morning that there was at least a day's work on the approaches to the New Bridge before artillery could pass. There were two or three places where, during the night of the 31st, the food swept over the narrow causeway near the bridge, cutting trenches across it. The bottom was perfectly hard, and at the time the bridge was reported practicable these places were practicable for artillery. If, toward night, these trenches became too deep, it was after the bridges were finished and I had ceased to visit the locality and it was not reported to me. Yesterday, June 1, I believed the attempt to repair them to be of doubtfull success and more doubtfull policy, and I believed and still believe that when the water fell so that any passage of artillery would be a matter of military practicbility, the places in question could be repaired in an hour's time. No one knew how higt the flood was going to rise, and when it reached its limit and commenced falling was the time to make those repairs, for which materials in great quantities were accumulated within convenient distance. I was not alone in the belief that the Birago trestle was perfectly adequate for bridging a narow steam like the Chickahominy, in the condition in which we first found it. With limited transpes formed a considerable part of our bridge equipage . They were accumulated near the places where they were to be used, with the knowledge of the commanding general, several days ago. It was part of the material on hand, all of which might be wanted, and for two of the bridges it was the only material at hand for commendicng on the night of the 31st. Two of the bridges debouched on ground which, in ordinary stages of the river, would require much labor to be practicable for artillery. The food swept over that ground for several hundred yards. These bridges, except as regards infantry were but bridges in the air. It would require a day or two hard labor to get those debouches practicable for artillery. I was perfectly sensible of the immense importance of being able to pass this wing of the army over yesterday, but I reported, officially, before noon yesterday that it was impracticable, in the overflowed state of the bottom lands, to pass it against any considerable resistance. There was one contingency, under which we could pass, viz, the occupation of the opposite heights by the advance of our own forces of the wing. For this the New Bridge was restored and the road practicable at 8,15 Sunday morning.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient,


Brigadier-General, &c.

P. S.-I deem it proper to add that soon after the above-named hour I was at the New Bridge, and anwious to ascertain how practicable the road was, I sent forward Lieutenant Babcock, with a small party, to examine. He advanced until he was fired upon and one of his men