War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0260 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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had no experience in military constructions up to the date of appointment, and had therefore much to learn at the same time they were called on to reduce it to practice. With but few exceptions these officers have been constantly and actively employed in their profession, some as reconnoitering and topographical officers with the mobilized armies of the Confederacy, also in the construction of roads and bridges needed for the advance of our forces, or in their destruction to retard the enemy; others in the location and erection of works of defense for the protection of points vital to the public safety and in the construction of barriers in river and harbor channels.

The many points to be defended have caused a wide distribution of the officers on engineer duty, viz: To the Trans-Mississippi, the Mississippi Valley, the Gulf Coast, rivers flowing into the Gulf, the Department of South Carolina and Georgia, Eastern North Carolina, Petersburg, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Western Virginia, and Tennessee. To perform the engineer service throughout this extensive field there are available six officers of the Corps of Engineers, Army of the Confederate States, and ninety-three officers of the provisional corps; but a part of the latter are called from time to time to other duties, as the construction of the Piedmont Railroad, the link of railroad from Rome, Ga., to the Blue Mountains in Alabama, the New Orleans and Texas and Texas and New Orleans Railroads, and to assist in the service of the Niter Bureau. The officers, being zealous and untiring, have accomplished much, but over the wide field of operations for our armies much has been, for the want of more engineers, unavoidably left undone. As yet our armies are without regularly organized engineer troops. Two or three companies of men only have been formed by selecting mechanics from some of the regiments in the service and assigning them to do the duties of engineer troops, but we have not even one company of pontoon train. These deficiencies ought to be supplied as soon as possible, and I beg to urge upon your favorable consideration the importance of adding to the armies in the field the following organization of engineer troops. With the present strength of the Confederate Army there should be at least 4,000 engineer troops to perform the following duties, viz: Under engineer officers assist in making reconnaissances and surveys of the country occupied; lay out, construct, and repair roads, prepare and place pontoon and trestle bridges; mark out and aid in the construction of all military works, defensive or offensive, viz, field forts, military trenches, parallels, saps, mines, and other works of attack, batteries, lines of infantry cover, rifle-pits, and works for obstructing rivers and harbors. The men should be selected for their skill in some mechanical branch of labor, as carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, boat-builders, caulkers, saddlers, shoemakers, &c., and having the requisite skill they should receive higher pay than that allowed by law to the soldiers of the line. In the organization of a company there should be the following grades: Sergeant or master workman, corporal or overseer, private of the first class or artificer, and private of the second class or laborer. Each company to be commanded by a captain of engineers and three lieutenants-one first and two second-to be detailed from the line of the Army to serve with the company. The strength of a company to be as follows: Seven sergeants, 7 corporals, 2 musicians, 40 artificers, and 45 laborers, making a total of 101 rank and file. These companies to be organized into regiments of ten companies each. The regimental officers to be one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, one adjutant, with the rank of captain; one quartermaster and commissary, with