men was enlisted for the exclusive purpose of doing this kind of work.
Such a body was the Engineer Corps
, often called the Sappers and Miners
of the army; but so little sapping and mining was done, and that little mainly by the fighting forces, I shall speak of this body of men as Engineers-the name which, I believe, they prefer.
In the Army of the Potomac this corps was composed of the Fifteenth and Fiftieth New York regiments of volunteers and a battalion of regulars comprising three companies.
They started out with McClellan
in the Peninsular Campaign
, and from that time till the close of the war were identified with the movements of this army.
These engineers went armed as infantry for purposes of self-defence only, for fighting was not their legitimate business, nor was it expected of them.
There were emergencies in the history of the army when they were drawn up in line of battle.
Such was the case with a part of them at least at Antietam
, and the Wilderness
, but, so far as I can learn, they were never actively engaged.
The engineers' special duties were to make roads passable for the army by corduroying sloughs, building trestle bridges across small streams, laying pontoon bridges over rivers, and taking up the same, laying out and building fortifica-
tions, and slashing.
Corduroying called at times for a large amount of labor, for Virginia
mud was such a foe to rapid transit that miles upon miles of this sort of road had