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[308] Virginia for “river, coast, and harbor defenses” made previous to the secession of the State.

On October 9th, Major Leadbetter, acting chief of the engineer bureau, reported to the Secretary of War that the pressure of work of all kinds on the city, State, and general governments had been such that but little progress had been made on the Richmond defenses. Only six guns, 32-pounders, had been mounted, while some thirty others were on hand without carriages. A few of the carriages were being built, but the work was moving slowly for the want of skilled labor to devote to that particular project. When the Norfolk Navy-Yard fell into the hands of the Confederates, there had been obtained a considerable supply of 32-pounder Dahlgrens, and army gun-carriages were being made for these at Norfolk, but this supply was limited, and the demand was so great that none could be spared for Richmond itself.

By this time, the State authorities were anxious that the whole responsibility for the fortifications should be assumed by the Confederate Government, and Major Leadbetter recommended that these wishes be observed. The greatest difficulty which he apprehended for the general Government was the lack of competent engineer officers. A number of officers of the line had been detailed as acting engineers, and with these it was hoped to carry the work to a successful conclusion.

But it was not until the end of February, 1862, that the chain of works was fairly well started. It consisted of eighteen closed or semi-closed forts, and seven outworks. The entire circuit was about twelve miles, and the designs of all the forts were good, and the proposed distances of the works from the city varied from less than a mile to more than a mile and a half from the outskirts. The complete armament would require two hundred and eighteen heavy guns.

The armament, however, was never fully furnished, for it was decided by the Virginia State authorities that the line was too near the city, and that, if closely assailed, there was

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Danville Leadbetter (2)
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February, 1862 AD (1)
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