HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
October 31, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of engineering operations in this department for the week ending October 22, 1864:
On the Eighteenth Army Corps front Lieutenant King, chief engineer, reports that the works having been put in good and defensible condition previous to October 15 but small fatigue parties have been engaged on them since. At Fort Burnham a magazine has been built; the traverses before referred to have been completed; sand-bag loop-holes for riflemen have been made along the whole parapet; abatis has been laid and strengthened, and the entrance to the fort has been lowered to afford a covered way for ammunition wagons to enter unexposed to the enemy's fire. At Battery No. 1, completing parapet of right face, revetting embrasures, and making platforms. At Battery No. 2, completing parapet, closing gorge, throwing up banquette and platforms, and cutting embrasures. At Battery No. 3, completing abatis; No. 4, finished; No. 5, reverting embrasure and completing banquette and platforms; No. 6, reverting embrasure, strengthening parapet, and completing magazine; No. 7, strengthening parapet. On the Tenth Army Corps front, Capt. S.C. Eaton, First New York Volunteer Engineers, in charge, reports the redoubt on the right of New Market road, near Four-Mile Church, as completed and surrounded with abatis, and that the slashing of wood in its front is being continued. The redoubt at the Clyne house, where the line makes almost a right; angle, and the one on the main line to the left of the New Market road, are connected with a strong infantry parapet and are complete. A retired battery for two guns covers the New Market road. There is a strong abatis in front of these works and the old line (rebel) formerly used is leveled. On the 20th a new redoubt on the left of the Tenth Army Corps front was commenced and about one-third of the work already finished.
Capt. H. M. Dalymple, First New York Volunteer Engineers, in charge of the works in front of Deep Bottom and the detached redoubts on Signal and Camp Holly Hills, reports the completion of this line except a few more days' work on infantry parapet, abatis, and slashing along Four-Mile Creek. The redoubt on Signal Hill is now complete. There are twelve embrasures and four guns (Napoleons) in the work. Two lines of heavy abatis encircle it. The ditch has been deepened to six feet. A slashing has been made through the woods to the right, due east and west, 4,000 feet long and 500 feet wide, to have signal communication with Camp Holly redoubt. This latter redoubt was laid out and commenced today (22d) with twelve engineers and three companies of infantry. Its interior area will be nearly 3,500 square yards. The details employed during the week average 55 engineers and 520 infantry.
Captain Suess, First New York Volunteer Engineers, in charge of engineering work at Cox's Hill, reports that during the week the platform and gabion embrasure for a second 100-pounder Parrott gun was completed. Barbettes for five field pieces were made on the rear faces. The magazine was completed and covered with fifteen feet of earth. The excavation for a large bomb-proof was made, being ninety feet long, twelve feet wide, and seven feet high, and the timbers prepared for it. Abatis is completed around the work. Slashing to a great extent within range of the guns has been carried on, drawing a little of the enemy's fire from the batteries at Bishop's, but doing no damage. On the night of the 21st I laid out two advanced batteries (C and D) near the Kirkland house, on a hill that commanded the river well, and from which could be seen the three rebel iron-clads and four wooden gun-boats. Battery C was for five guns and D for two, both being half-sunken batteries. On the night of the -- three 30-pounders and four 20-pounders, Ashby's battery, all under command of Captain Pierce, First Connecticut Artillery, were placed in these batteries, with orders to concentrate all guns as soon as daylight would permit on the nearest wooden gun-boat and endeavor to disable her; then, when driven off, to concentrate on the nearest iron-clad. The orders were carried out to the letter and the firing proved excellent. From rebel papers we learn that one gun was disabled on the gun-boat Drewry, 2 men killed and 4 or 6 wounded, and the boat otherwise disabled. One of the iron-clads lost her smoke-stack, and another lost 6 men in killed and wounded by a shell exploding over the grating. All were very much demoralized and driven up the river, from which position they only venture down at night, returning at daylight.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
PETER S. MICHIE,
First Lieut., U.S. Engineers, and Brevet Major, U.S. Army.
Bvt. Maj. Gen. J. G. BARNARD,
Chief Engineer, Combined Armies, City Point, Va.