danger that it might be destroyed even before the forts were taken.
It was apparent that the lines should be extended further toward the Chickahominy
, and also above and below the city they should be placed much further out. But the inner line of forts was so well built and otherwise judiciously located, that these works could be used as a support for the more advanced positions.
The principal objection to the armament was that the guns were all en barbette, thus exposing them and the men too much.
But, by the end of February, only eleven guns had been mounted on the north side of the river, with twelve more ready to mount, while, on the south side, there were but two mounted and no others on hand.
It was estimated that, even with the entire possible armament in sight, it would take at least three months to complete the instalment of the guns; but not one single piece more was then to be had.
So far as the heavy artillery of its defenses was concerned, Richmond
was in almost a helpless condition.
Every engineer who expresed himself felt that the danger, however, was not from the north, as that quarter was well protected by the fieldarmy, but from the south by the approach of a land force, and along the James
by the approach of a hostile fleet.
A certain amount of unsatisfactory progress was made on the works and armament; but to strengthen the river approaches, five batteries, mounting over forty guns, with provision for more, had been erected by the middle of March along the river at points below Drewry's Bluff
By that time the control of the defenses had been transferred from the State of Virginia
to the Confederate Government, and an officer of the Government
placed in charge.
The opinion that the works were too near the city was confirmed by the Government
engineers, but, as much work had already been done on them, it was directed that they be completed as they had been originally planned, and that, in case of emergency, the secondary works to fill the gaps and those