War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0174 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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bad condition of the roads during the late move, the commanding general directed that a line should be selected for a military railroad from the depot at City Point to the intersection of the Weldon railroad, at or near the Yellow Tavern, for the more certain and rapid transportation of supplies. The lying of this road was placed in charge of the construction corps of the chief quartermaster of the Armies operating against Richmond. The soil contains a great quantity of sand, and at times becomes almost impassable.

By the 7th of September the interior portions of the works last referred to were well advanced, sufficiently so to be occupied in case of an attack by the enemy, and obstructions, consisting of wire entanglements, abatis, fraises, and slashing generally of the timber along the entire front, had been prepared. Many miles of corduroy roads and bridges had been built by the Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers for the convenience of and more direct communication between the different corps of the army.

During the first few days of September he also selected sites for different works, and traced a line from the bastion works (Fort Dushane) on the Weldon railroad to the rear of the camps of the armies operating against Petersburg, its left resting on the Blackwater Swamp, near Fort Bross. These were designed to guard against any movement of the enemy on the three large and important thoroughfares-the Jerusalem plank, the Norfolk stage, and Halifax roads. The several redoubts then laid out and commenced were subsequently named Davison, McMahon, Stevenson, Blaisdell, and Kelly.

In his report for the week ending on the 17th of September he reported that along every portion of the line, from the Appomattox River, below Petersburg, to the Weldon railroad, and thence back to the Blackwater Swamp, work was progressing rapidly. The length of the line at that time was over sixteen miles, and along it had been constructed, or were in course of construction, nineteen forts and redoubts and forty-one batteries. In addition to the labor on these works, including the obstructions in their front, bombproof, magazines, and drainage in the interior, nearly 2,000 yards of roads and one-third of the covered ways had been "corduroyed," and 6,700 square feet of substantial bridging built. The old intrenched lines were also being leveled. These labors were continued during the following week, the officers and men of the regular battalion of engineers and of the Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers having the construction of them. At the same time his attention, under instructions from the commanding general, was directed to the examination of the country in reference to a defensive line from Blackwater Swamp, near Price George Court-House, north toward Old Court-House, on Bailey's Creek the latter a deep, impassable stream, emptying within a few miles of that point into the James River.

This line, in connection with that already in course of construction, completed the chain of works from the Appomattox, below Petersburg, to the Weldon railroad, and thence back to the James River, adding nine miles to its length, making twenty-five miles in all, the flanks resting on the two rivers, and with them entirely encircling the Army of the Potomac. (See plan Numbers 12.*)

The sites of five works were traced, and work commenced upon three of them. At the same time he was directed to confer with Lieutenant-Colonel Benham, Corps of Engineers (brigadier-general of volunteers), in command of the immediate defenses of City Point, in regard to a


*Plate C, map 2, of the Atlas.