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[250] of the city, who could be sent to Washington, were detached from their duties and ordered to report at the capital at once.

But the improvised organization within the city, and the expected arrival of large reenforcements, of which Early had information, impelled him to withdraw after making a light attack, and the city was saved. The engineer officers that had been withdrawn from their work on the seaboard were immediately returned to their respective stations.

In the West, the operations of the Federal engineers shed luster on their corps. Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Vicksburg are names that are held in memory as demonstrating the high achievements of the scientific soldiers whose skill overcame great odds. Seventeen field-and subaltern-officers of the corps served constantly in the Western Federal armies, and though they had no regular engineer troops under them, the volunteers who received training from these officers proved their worth. Their labors at Chattanooga, Tennessee, under Captain (afterward Colonel) Merrill, rendered that important position impregnable. Knoxville, Tennessee, likewise withstood terrific onslaughts, having been fortified with great skill.

The army under Sherman had with it nine able engineers, under Captain O. M. Poe, who labored constantly in the construction of defenses for the numerous bridges along the line of railroad, fortified many strategic points, made surveys and issued maps, reconnoitered the positions of the Confederates, and managed the pontoon-bridge service.

Sherman started from Atlanta for the sea-coast, November 16, 1864. Hood had moved north into Tennessee. The Union army under Thomas had been sent to Nashville. The engineers fortified Franklin, but Schofield, with two corps of Thomas' army, was not strong enough to hold it. At Nashville the skill of the engineers, under Captain (afterward General) Morton and Captain Merrill, had enabled General Thomas to take his stand and hold on until he was ready to move against Hood.

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