No. 7. Report of Bvt. Lieutenant Col Nathaniel Michler, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, of operations March 11-18.1
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ENGINEER,
March 20, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engineer operations in this army for the week ending March 18, 1865:
Brevet Major Harwood was in command of the Engineer battalion. Brevet Captain Benyard inspected Fort Davis with a view to repairs, and was in charge of the construction of abatis from Fort Prescott to Fort Davis, which is three-fourts finished. First Lieutenant Lydecker inspected Fort Firsher, which is completed on the north side and a traverse three-fourths finished. First Lieutenant Phillips was in charge of a line of works near Hatcher’s Run, which are three-fourths finished. Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Ford, commanding detachment Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers, with the officers of his command, was engaged as follows:
After making a preliminary survey of the Vaughan road and its crossing of Hatcher’s Run, Brevet Major Van Brocklin commenced repairing the road and constructing a substantial and permanent bridge above high-water mark. The old bridge had been entirely swept away by the late freshets.
On the 15th instant Major Van Brocklin had completed a bridge over Hatcher’s Run 285 feet in length, supported by eleven each sixteen feet long, six feet wide, and from two to six feet high. The roadway of the bridge consists of two tracks, each eight feet in width, separated by a longitudinal timber, firmly pinned to the corduroy flooring. In repairing the corduroy on the Vaughan road, which was only slightly damaged, Company E only was employed one day. In constructing the bridge Major Van Brocklin worked his own and Company C from the 11th to the 15th instant, inclusive, and an average of ten teams daily from the Fifth Corps.
On the 13th instant Lieutenant Taylor with Company G repaired and put in throughout order the Squirrel Level road. On the 13th and 14th Lieutenant Lang with a portion of Company H, and a detail on the 13th of 200 men and 40 teams from the Ninth Corps, constructed and put in 380 feet of abatis around Fort Blaisdell, completing the work, and repaired the damages caused to the banquette of Fort Stevenson by the late rains.
Lieutenant La Grande, in continuing the work on the road between the Wyatt house and Warren’s Station, has corduroyed 1,200 yards, making a total of 3,600 yards. He has worked three companies of this command for two days and two companies for three days, and an average daily detail of 660 men and 59 teams from the Fifth Corps. On the 11th and 12th the weather prevented any progress in the work, and on the 14th the teams did not report until 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Brevet Captain Van Rensselaer, in charge of Fort Fisher, has competed two traverses in that work, each sixty feet in length and each containing a magazine eighteen feet long; a third traverse, to protect the guns in the western curtain, is one-third finished. The entire parapet has been redressed, on account of the damage caused by the heavy rains.
On the 15th instant Captain Jackson, with Companies B and H, reported to Captain Benyaurd, near Prescott, and on the 16th commenced the reconstruction of Battery 22 and a line of abatis between Forts Davis and Prescott. The work on the battery could not be continued, the enemy having opened a heavy fire of shot and shell on the working parties. At dark it was again commenced, but again interrupted by the severe storm.
On the 17th the work was pushed with but little interruption, and Captain Jackson reports that the parapet has reached its full height and the revetment is finished; that one traverse is nearly completed, the timber for the gun platforms on the ground and ready, and 1,000 feet of abatis already put in. He hopes to complete the work on Sunday, the 19th instant, or thereabouts.
During the week I have employed all the men in the detachment, not elsewhere engaged, in repairing and improving the roads in the immediate vicinity and in constructing gabions for Fort Fisher, Battery 22, and the entire line.
In the topographical department the triangulation party are pushing forward the surveys between Fort Siebert and hatcher’s Run, and in the office campaign maps are being prepared.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major of Engineers and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army.
Major General J. G. BARNARD,
Chief Engineer, Armies Operating against Richmond, City Point, Va.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pages 162-163 ↩