The track was laid, 1,040 feet of trestle-work 18 feet high was built, and the line opened by January 20. Station-houses, platforms, and water-stations were built.
This line is called the Gregg Branch of the City Point and Army Line. During January a plank road, extending the whole length of the wharves at City Point, was built. Orders were received from Lieutenant-General Grant January 25 to send a construction force (with materials) to Beaufort, N. C., to repair railroad running inland as far as Winton. In obedience, I dispatched Mr. C. L. McAlpine, principal assistant engineer, in charge of a force of carpenters and trackmen, with tools, camp equipage, and material, from City Point for that place, January 26, on steamers Detroit, Rebecca Barton, and Charles Barton. The whole force reached New Berne without any serious detention January 30. The immediately went to work relaying track, getting out cross-ties, and rebuilding bridges. By February 2th track was repaired to Batchelder's Creek bridge, and bridge rebuilt. February 5 Colonel W. W. Wright, chief engineer, with his construction force, arrived at Morehead City. Our party kept at work till February 8, when they were relieved by Colonel Wright's force and embarked for City Point the same day. The whole force arrived at City Point February 12, in time to take part in the extension of the Army Line. From January 25 to February 12 the construction force remaining at City Point were engaged in constructing quarters, offices, &c., for the Quartermaster's Department, repairing and extending wharves, and building a large wharf at Deep Bottom, on the James River, and keeping the track of the City Point and Army Line and branches in good repair. Our forces made an advance to the left of Petersburg February 5, and after three days" fighting succeeded in gaining and holding a position on the Vaughan road, a distance of about five miles in advance of their former line.
An order was received February 8 to extend the Army Line. The proposed extension was located the 12th. The line, leaving Warren Station, ran down the old bed of the Weldon railroad about two miles, then, diverging to the right,across the most favorable ground to the Cummings house, on the Vaughan road, a distance of five miles from Warren Station. Work was commenced February 13 and completed to the Cummings house (Humphreys Station) on the 24th. We also furnished all the necessary sidings, buildings, platforms, water stations, and Y for the proper working of the road. During the progress of this work the weather was very unfavorable, raining almost without intermission, making the ground so soft that it was almost impossible to do any work or get the teams over it with material. Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-one feet of trestle-work was built on this extension, averaging twenty-five feet high. Most of the timber was cut in the woods and hauled to the work with teams detailed for that purpose. A number of hospital cars were fitted up for the purpose of moving the sick and wounded from the front and along the line to City Point. These were kept in almost constant use. Trains were running regularly and amply supplying all the wants of the army. In addition to the regular freight business two passenger trains were run each way daily for the accommodation of mails, officers, and others, to and from the front. At the time of building the Army Line many of the officers of the Army of the Potomac, together with the regular Engineer corps, denounced this location, declaring that it would be impossible for an engine alone to ascend the heavy grades; and as for furnishing the necessary supplies for the army