War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0162 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, Washington, October 30,1 865.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to present the following report upon the several branches of the public service committed to the care of this department for the year ending on the 30th of June, 1865:

CORPS OF ENGINEERS.

Duties of the officers during the year.-The Corps of Engineers consisted of eighty-five officers, the Military Academy, its officers and professors, and the battalion of engineers soldiers of five companies.

Of the eighty-five officers of engineers army corps, fifty-four were on detached duty commanding army corps, divisions, and other military organizations; on staff duty and as engineers and assistant engineers with armies operating against the rebels; in command of the pontoon-bridge service, and in command of the troops of the engineer battalion; and thirty-one on duty superintending sea-coast defenses, lake surveys, lake and sea- coast harbor improvements, Military Academy, and assisting the Chief Engineer in connection with all these duties.

Every officer of the corps has been on continued and uninterrupted duty during the entire year, and four of its members have died in service.

The loss in officers killed and who have died in service from wounds and other causes during the rebellion is fourteen.

Twenty-one of the members of the corps still remain on detached service performing important duties growing out of rebellion, which prevent their returning to engineer duty.

The value and estimation in which the military talents and practical knowledge of the officers of the corps are held have, by contributing to the command of the armies and for staff service, together with the loss of those who have given their lives to the defense of their country, greatly reduced its numbers and efficiency for the many duties devolving upon it. Many of those of highest rank and experience are still on detached service, and the vacancies from casualties have necessarily been filled by junior members, recent distinguished graduates of the Military Academy.

Although the legal strength of the corps is sufficient to perform the proper functions of its members, the present assignment of its officers renders it impracticable to meet the numerous demands upon the department.

For a comprehensive knowledge of the duties of the engineers, a recurrence to the general objects of the campaign is necessary. (See plans Nos. 1. and 11.*

It will be recollected that by descending the Shenandoah and crossing the Potomac above Harper's Ferry the rebel army in 1864 threatened Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and even Philadelphia, as also intermediate cities. Washington City had become the great depot for immense supplies for all arms of service for months in advance. An extensive ordnance depot, a navy-yard, the general hospitals, the archives of the Nation, its Executive and judiciary, with the public edifices for all national purposes, was the rich prize,

---------------

*Plate LXXXIX, Map 1, and Plate C, Map 1 (revised), of the Atlas.

---------------