War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0176 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

To the officers of the Corps of Engineers then present, under his orders-Harwood, Gillespie, Howell, Benyaurd, Lydecker, and Philips-and to those of the Fiftieth New York, Volunteer Engineers, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Colonel I. Spaulding, and to the men of their respective detachments, must be given the credit for the immense amount of work accomplished.

The works were well constructed and finished, and the infantry parapets are as strong as they could be made to answer a useful purpose. The artificial strength of the line was to a great extent increased by the naturally strong position chosen to resist any attack or assault by the enemy.

On the 4th of the same month, notwithstanding the few officers of the corps that remained on duty, he was compelled to send Lieutenant Phillips to report to General Benham to assist in constructing the line in front of City Point; the latter was about three miles in length, comprising eight small redoubts.

On the 12th the commanding general directed Colonel Michler to make an examination of that part of the line extending between shortened, and to furnish a written report for Lieutenant-General Grant's information. As no particular advantage could be gained and a considerable amount of work would be required, he reported unfavorably.

The weekly report dated October 22 informs the General-in-Chief "that the whole line occupied by the Army of the Potomac was entirely constructed and in a defensible condition. Some minor details still required attention. Additional obstacles, palisades,and fraises in connection with the abatis and wire entanglements had been rapidly pushed forward every night to strengthen it." In consequence of reports that the enemy were driving galleries at different points to undermine several works, he desired shafts to be sunk within them and listening galleries to be run out as precautionary measures, although no indications were found to exist after a most careful personal examination.

On the 16th, accompanied by Captain Gillespie and Lieutenant Benyaurd, he examined critically the ground between Fort McGilvery and a point opposite Fort Clifton, to ascertain the strength of the enemy's position, and whether any new works were in course of construction, as well as to decide upon the possibility of forcing a passage of the river and severing his communication by rail with Richmond.

On the 20th, by direction of the commanding general, he visited City Point in company with the medical director of the army for the purpose of selecting the ground for a general field hospital. An advantageous place was found on the bluff overlooking the James, between the railroad and Bailey's Creek. Besides the convenience of locality, it possessed the advantage of retirement and security, as well as that of health. Fine springs burst forth here and there from the banks sufficient to supply every want.

The names of the different works of the line to the west of the Weldon railroad and of that in front of City Point were selected from among those of the many distinguished officers who were killed in action during the recent campaigns, nobly fighting their country's battles, and so given in plan Numbers 12.*

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

*Plate C, map 2, of the Atlas

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