was an illustration of the corps' resourcefulness; for in this instance pontoon boats were lacking.
The expedition with which material was collected, boats built, and the bridge constructed was most creditable.
The pontoon bridges for the engineer troops in Virginia
were built at Richmond
under the direction of the engineering bureau, and were in accordance with the plans and specifications prescribed by Captain
(afterward General) George B. McClellan
, United States Corps of Engineers, in one of the engineering papers published some years prior to the War
between the States.
The pontoon bridge consisted of flat-bottomed boats, with longitudinal timbers to connect them, and planks for the flooring, all of which were lashed together with cords, so that they could be quickly assembled and as readily taken apart.
The transportation of them required wagons specially constructed for the purpose.
Provision had, of course, to be made to hold the boats in position against strong currents in streams to be crossed, by anchors or guy-lines to the shore.
When the campaign opened in 1864, the engineer troops attached to the Army of Northern Virginia, which was then at Orange Court House
, were used first as infantry to guard the depot of supplies at Guiney's Station, and afterward to support a cavalry Brigade which held the Telegraph
road, on the extreme right of General Lee
's position in Spotsylvania County
, where it crossed the Ny
, one of the four streams which form the Mattapony River
At this point earthworks were constructed, and the position was held until after the battle of Spotsylvania
Court House, when it was turned by the flank movement of General Grant
; and General Lee
retired to the line of the North Anna River
During General Grant
's demonstration against Richmond
, the engineer troops were used to strengthen the works which withstood his attacks at Cold Harbor; but anticipating the necessity at any time for a prompt movement across the