skilled officers in our service is so limited when compared with the demand for them that the Chief of Engineers has not yet been able to comply with the desire expressed by the House "without detriment to the service elsewhere." Unwilling to leave this Department with even the appearance of neglecting a call of the House for information, I respectfully submit the report to Captain Rives, Chief of the Engineer Bureau, as the most that I have been able to accomplish.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ENGINEER BUREAU, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 12, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The following report is respectfully submitted as a partial reply to the resolution of Congress of February 24, calling for information, surveys, and reports connected with the defenses of Richmond:
In ascending the James River the defenses consist of-
First. Fort Boykin, Day's Neck, mounting ten guns, 42-pounders and 32-pounders, hot shot.
Second. Fort Huger, Hardy's Bluff, mounting thirteen guns, one 10-inch, columbiad pattern, rifled, in barbette; four 9-inch Dahlgrens, rifled, in barbette; two 8-inch columbiads, rifled, in barbette; six hot-shot 32-pounders on ship carriages.
Third. Mulberry Island Point Battery, five 42-pounder guns, in barbette; two 8-inch columbiads en route; fifteen casemates building rapidly and large covering work nearly completed.
Fourth. Jamestown Island Batteries, thirteen guns, four 9-inch Dahlgrens; four 8-inch columbiads, and two more en route; five hot-shot, long 32-pounders.
Fifth. Drewry's Bluff Batery, coupled with obstructions in the river, is being rapidly constructed under the direction of Lieutenant Mason, of the Provisional Engineer Corps.
The first is completed, while the second and third are being rapidly and intelligently improved with bomb-proofs, &c., by Captain Clarke, of the Provisional Engineer Corps, who has a force of at least 1,000 hands. From twenty to thirty miles below City Point there are two positions, Fort Powhatan and Kennon's Marshes, which have been thoroughly examined by the ablest officers at the disposition of the Department and reported to be good locations for batteries. If they are placed at either of the above points, obstacles should be constructed in connection with them. The final and intelligent selection of a site can, consequently, only be determined by a thorough hydrographic survey.
In regard to the Richmond defenses, it was the opinion of General Leadbetter that the works around the city were rather near, but so much had been done at the time he took charge of them that he directed me on leaving for Tennessee to carry out the plans adopted by the engineer department of Virginia. This I have sought to do with the means at my disposition, and a large proportion of the leading works are completed. Intermediate secondary breast-works could be thrown up with sufficient rapidity by the troops who are to defend the main works when there is occasion; labor in that direction at present would seem to be injudicious. Most of the works are closed and those that