face of musketry fire from the opposite bank.
After the Southerners had been driven away, the bridge, three hundred and ninety feet long, was built in one hour and ten minutes. Another was immediately laid, and during the battle of Fredericksburg
Heights these two were moved bodily to Fredericksburg
and there placed in position.
On May 4th, the materiel was hastily removed to the north bank, and the last plank was scarcely up when a force of Confederates appeared on the opposite shore.
, the engineers were engaged in building roads and bridges in the lines of the Federal
army, and the individual officers, not on duty with the troops, were employed in reconnaissances, map-making, and on duty as staff-officers.
, back to Virginia
soil, and on toward Richmond
, the weary army again took its way, and throughout all the attendant hardships the faithful engineers worked for the welfare and efficiency of the other troops.
There were numerous occasions during which they had to submit to fire from the opposing army without any opportunity to reply.
Their duties were too important to permit them to suspend operations for so trivial an annoyance as being shot at.
The appointment of General Grant
to the command of all the armies of the United States
in the field, marked a turning-point for the troops of the Army of the Potomac, especially affecting the Engineer Corps.
On March 10, 1864, he visited that army, the headquarters of which were near Brandy Station, in Virginia
, and announced his intention of remaining with it in future campaigns, leaving General Meade
in direct command, and transmitting all orders through him. The army was then lying on the north bank of the Rapidan
Accurate maps and topographical information of the country between the Rapidan
were much needed.
Reconnaissances had been made as far as the fords of the Rapidan
, and that part of the country was well known,