Morton, Colonel Merrill, Captains Barlow and Burroughs, and other junior officers of the Corps of Engineers, together with volunteer engineers. In September, 1864, Major Tower, Corps of Engineers (brevet major-general of volunteers), took charge of these defenses, and perceiving the great importance of Nashville as a depot of supplies, as well as other important strategic advantages, commenced to add to and perfect the fortifications (see plan Numbers 4*), on which he continued unremittingly until Hood's advance and investment of the place on the 15th and 16th of December, 1864 [sic].
During the few days preceding Hood's arrival before Nashville, Thomas had concentrated his several available army corps within the fortifications of Nashville, the plan of which is given on plate Numbers 4. *
The importance of these defenses was mainly in enabling Thomas to concentrate his army at a depot well stored with munitions of war, and to hold his enemy, flushed with his successful march from Atlanta, in check until he was ready to take the field.
The accompanying plan of the fortifications (Numbers 4*) by General Tower and annexed extracts from his report explain more fully the successes of this most important advance of Thomas, resulting in the demolition and annihilation of the rebel power in Tennessee.
During the same eventful period the fortifications that had been constructed by the engineers at Murfreesborough were successfully held and defended by a part of Thomas" army.
Colonel Merrill, captain of engineers, with the volunteer engineers, had during the year given special attention to fortifying all the important points on the railroads in Tennessee and part of Kentucky, while Lieutenant-Colonel Simpson, Corps of Engineers, had fortified Cincinnati, Ohio, Covington and Newport, Frankfort and Louisville, Ky., and the lines of the Louisville, Nashville and Kentucky Central Railroads, thus covering Thomas" rear and defending his lines of communication.
Such is a general outline of the labors of the engineers in Tennessee.
The march of the grand army of the West under Sherman (see plan Numbers 3+) did not call for offensive or defensive fortifications.
The labors of the engineers, Captain Poe (brevet brigadier- general, U. S. Army), Captain Reese (brevet brigadier-general, U. S. Army), Lieutenant Stickney (brevet major, U. S. Army), Lieutenant Ludlow (brevet major, U. S. Army), and Lieutenant Damrell, were most advantageously bestowed upon the roads and bridges, and reconnoitering the enemy's movements and positions. (See annexed narratives.)
The pontoon trains under charge of these officers were indispensable to the success of the army, They consisted of canvas boats, which proved serviceable for the march of this army from the Tennessee to its final disbandment in Washington City in 1865. The advantages of these light trains, their frequent use during the campaign proving their adaptation to our country, are fully developed in the narrative collated from Poe" and Reese" reports.
In September, 1863, Knoxville was captured by our force, and in November of the same year Chattanooga was occupied by our army. At the latter point Sherman concentrated his supplies and moved in force against the rebels, driving them through Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Dalton, Resaca, Allatoona, and Kenesaw, to Atlanta.
*Plate LXXXII, Map 2, of the Atlas.
+Plate LXXXVI, Map 2, of the Atlas.