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OR XLII P1 #248: Report of Lieut. William R. King, Corps of Engineers, Acting Chief Engineer, AotJ, December 24-31, 1864

No. 248. Report of Lieut. William R. King, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Acting Chief Engineer, of operations December 24-31.1

Hdqrs. Dept. Of Virginia And North Carolina,

Chief Engineer’s Office,

January 2, 1865.

General: I have the honor to submit the following report of my operations in the Army of the James for the week ending December 31, 1864:

There has been but little work done during the week on the line occupied by the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Corps. A detail from the Twenty-fifth Corps has been employed under direction of Captain Cruso, First New York Engineers, in completing the corduroy road leading from Varina to Twenty-fifth Corps headquarters. Lieutenant Archer, First New York Engineers, reports:

The covered way to Fort Brady was completed to-day; its length is 2,300 feet, including the bridge of 120 feet. The portion south of bridge is 1,500 feet in length. The width of roadway is nearly ten feet at bottom and thirteen feet at top. The height of cover for the road is from eight to ten feet.

On the Bermuda front Lieutenant Trenor, First New York Engineers, reports:

The principal work has been expended on the new interior line from Battery Anderson, on the right, to Battery England, on the left. The ten-gun battery, in rear of Battery Marshall, is nearly completed. The magazine for this battery is finished.

The repairs on Battery England are nearly completed. The abatis in front of this line is being carried on, but owing to the scarcity of transportation it progresses very slowly. The abatis around Redoubt McConihe has been repaired and strengthened. The number of gabions made since last report is 259, and of fascines 60; remaining on hand, 209 gabions and 91 fascines, nearly all of which will be used in repairs on other batteries. The work done at Jones’ Landing is as follows: One dock 32 by 90 feet; one dock 22 by 50 feet; extensions for three docks 22 feet square. The T and connections for the three docks is 22 by 200 feet.

Capt. Charles B. Parsons, First New York Engineers, who accompanied the expedition to Wilmington with his company, reports:

* * * I was at 2 p.m. on the 25th ordered to land with a portion of my men (twenty) and a part of my tools, which I did in connection with the First Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fourth Army Corps, General Curtis commanding.

I proceeded at once to throw up a defensive work at the point of landing, and at 4 p. m. two navy howitzers were mounted en barbette and did good service in shelling the enemy from the woods near the beach. I then proceeded with part of my men and tools to a point held by our advanced line of battle, 800 yards from Fort Fisher, where a cover was soon made for a portion of the troops by connecting detached portions of the enemy’s works which they had abandoned on our approach. Our skirmish line at this time had advanced to within 200 yards of Fort Fisher and were being tired on with grape and canister. At 6 p. m. I received orders to embark with my men and tools, which I accomplished at 8 p. m. without the loss of a tool or any accident whatever.

On the morning of the 26th, in accordance with instructions from headquarters, we proceeded to Fortress Monroe, where we arrived at 8 p. m. of the 27th. Leaving on the morning of the 28th we proceeded to this place and disembarked. On account of the long confinement on shipboard (twenty days) and the inclemency of part of the weather at sea my men have Buttered much, but without complaint, and have in every case manifested a spirit of patience and interest in the service in which they are engaged.

On Friday night the work of loading and tamping the mines at Dutch Gap was commenced and by Saturday night all but one were ready to be fired. A detail has been at work cutting timber for the new bridge across the James.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant, U. S. Engineers,
Acting Chief Engineer, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina.

Bvt. Maj. Gen. J. G. Barnard,

Chief Engineer, Combined Armies, Virginia.


  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 673-674
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