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Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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No.2. Reports of Brig. Army, Chief Engineerof operations from May 23, 1861, to August 15, 1862.


We had, June 19, the following bridges:

Upper trestle bridge. .Débouchés held by enemy, and incomplete on his side.

The New Bridge. Two pontoon bridges, Captain Duane having built a second one alongside the one completed June 1. The road was held on south side of Chickahominy by the enemy.

The lower trestle bridge. Débouché held by enemy, and incomplete on his side.

The foot bridge. Available for infantry under certain circumstances. It was on the shortest line between the two wings of the army.

Duane’s bridge. A fine structure, practicable for all arms, and affording a very direct communication.

The infantry bridge (of Woodbury). Available for infantry.

Woodbury and Alexander’s bridge. For all arms.

Sumner’s upper bridge, or the grapevine bridge. This had been put in condition to be used in emergency by all arms.

Sumner’s lower bridge I think had never been repaired.

The railroad bridge was the means of bringing the most of the supplies to the left wing. Bottom’s Bridge was kept up and the tété-de-pont held.

While at General Sumner’s headquarters, June 4 to June 7, I laid out a redoubt at Golding’s (No. 6 in Campaign Map No. 3) and directed Lieutenant McAlester to lay out two others (Nos. 4 and 5) and to complete No. 3, the one first commenced, and where Colonel Bailey was killed.

Lieutenant Comstock, assisted by Lieutenant Farquhar, was directed to have the lines complete from No. 6, to connect with McAlester’s works. The woods in front were extensively slashed, as shown on the campaign map. Lieutenant McAlester, in reconnoitering on the 5th, had his horse shot under him by the enemy’s pickets, and narrowly escaped capture.

Subsequently redoubts Nos. 1 and 2 were constructed, carrying the left to the White Oak Swamp.

The redoubts may be described as follows: No. 1, a lunette with open gorge, 8 guns; No. 2, a redan with open gorge, 6 guns; No. 3, an inclosed redoubt (irregular pentagon), 5guns; No. 4, an inclosed [p.116] redoubt, 9 guns; No. 5, an inclosed redoubt, 6 guns; No. 6, an inclosed square of 30 yards wide, 6 guns. These works were connected by rifle pits or barricades. The object of these lines, over 3 miles long, was to hold our position of the left wing against the concentrated force of the enemy until communications across the Chickahominy could be established, or, if necessary, to maintain our position on this side while the bulk of the army were thrown upon the other, should occasion require it; or, finally, to hold one part of our line and communications by a small force, while our principal offensive effort was made upon another. Such an offensive effort it was the understood purpose of the commanding general to make upon our right, driving the enemy from the large wheat field (where he opposed the passage of our right wing) and from his position at the Old Tavern, thus putting ourselves upon the Nine- mile road to Richmond and within 5 miles of that city. Reconnaissances with this view were constantly made by the engineers, roads and bridges across the ravine which separated our right wing from the enemy prepared, &c.

At the same time several batteries were constructed under the direction of Captain Duane on the left bank of the Chickahominy, either to operate upon the enemy’s positions and batteries opposite or to defend our bridges, &c. They were: No. 1, near Dr. Gaines’ house, 6 guns; No. 2, on left of road near New Bridge, 6 guns; No. 3, on right of road, near New Bridge, 6 guns; No. 4, on right of Hogan’s house, 6 guns; This last was armed with 4 ½ -inch siege ordnance, I think, and used with success against the enemy’s batteries. Several of these siege guns and the two 8-inch siege mortars were brought up to put either in or in the vicinity of redoubts Nos. 3, 4, and 5.

Our reconnaissances showed that the enemy was throwing up works in the farther side of the large wheat field and in the neighborhood of Old Tavern, also in front of our lines from redoubt No. 2to No. 5. It was impossible to distinguish the exact character of these works, though most of them were probably little more than rifle pits.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.115-116

web page Rickard, J (20 June 2006)

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