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Browsing named entities in a specific section of The Photographic History of The Civil War: in ten volumes, Thousands of Scenes Photographed 1861-65, with Text by many Special Authorities, Volume 5: Forts and Artillery. (ed. Francis Trevelyan Miller). Search the whole document.

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or a moment, in order to make repairs. At length, the last animal was over by 7 P. M., on June 18th, and the guardians of the frail path commenced to breathe freely again, when, to their consternation, the Confederate artillery, about a mile away, began shelling. The pontoniers almost gave up hope of withdrawing the bridge in safety; but it was ordered up, and General Benham directed its removal in three rafts. This was successfully accomplished before three o'clock in the morning of the 19th, and the great bridge reached City Point, the Federal headquarters, about sunrise of that day, a souvenir of the most successful bridge of boats in the military history of the world. Compared with the bridge built by the same troops over the Chickahominy two years before, this James River bridge was the greater feat. In the latter case, the water was deep for the greater portion of the distance, in some places nearly eighty-five feet, with a strong current running. In the former, the str
majority of the men employed in the work were miners from the coal regions of Pennsylvania, and the necessary expedients were familiar to them, without special instructions from the engineers. The excavation was commenced without special tools, lumber, or any of the materials usually required for such work. By late afternoon, on July 23d, the excavations were deemed complete. Eighteen thousand cubic feet of earth had been removed. The mine was charged on the afternoon and evening of the 27th, with three hundred and twenty kegs of powder, each containing about twenty-five pounds. Altogether, there were eight magazines connected by wooden tubes which were half filled with powder. These tubes met at the inner end of the main gallery, and fuses were laid along this gallery to the exit. As Engineers. Thus the officers of the Fiftieth New York Engineers celebrated the victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg in front of Petersburg July 4, 1864. At the head of the table sits L
inside end-pieces were then carried around the bow and stern and lashed, and the outer pieces brought up over the ends and lashed in the same manner as the sides. The boat was then allowed to soak in the water for a time. Each boat was twenty-one feet long, five feet wide, and two and a half feet deep. A canvas pontoon boat assembled ready for business--March, 1864 Canvas pontoon bridge, North Anna river The Bridge from upstream, Jericho mills Benham's wharf at Belle Plain: one month before his famous bridge across the James Belle Plain, Upper Wharf, erected by Engineer Corps, General Benham, Chief, May 15, 1864. So reads the inscription made by the photographer on his negative. The few words recall important events. At this time Grant was in the midst of his unsuccessful attempt to circumvent Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Spotsylvania. The work shown in this photograph was but child's play compared with the undertaking just one month later, when Gran
March 16th (search for this): chapter 12
es to Sedgwick's corps to come to his relief. This bridge, three hundred and ninety feet long, was moved bodily to Fredericksburg and there placed in position on the following Sunday during the battle of Fredericksburg Heights, where Sedgwick finally stormed the position that four months before had cost Burnside nearly 13,000 men. This was one of the most successful exploits of the engineer corps during the entire war. United States army was in 1802. By the act of Congress, of the 16th of March of that year, it was established to consist of one engineer, with the rank of major; two assistant engineers, with the rank of captain; two assistant engineers, with the rank of first lieutenant; two assistant engineers, with the rank of second lieutenant, and ten cadets. The same act authorized the President to make promotions on account of merit whenever he deemed fit, so that the corps, as finally constituted, should not exceed one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, two majors, four ca
nd artillery, crossed safely and without delay. For a time the battalion was engaged in keeping the bridge in position and in good repair. General McClellan, himself an engineer of renown, stated in a letter to Secretary of War Stanton that it was one of the most difficult operations of the kind ever performed. Immediately after returning to Washington from Harper's Ferry, the engineer troops, with their bridge-equipage, were sent to Fort Monroe, in Virginia, and were moved thence, on April 4th, to a Camp near Yorktown, in preparation for the Peninsula campaign. In front of Yorktown the battalion was engaged in constructing trenches and lines of communication, and in superintending and instructing details of soldiers who were unfamiliar with methods of modern warfare. At this period of the war (1862), the troops of the infantry and the cavalry had received no training in the construction of field-fortifications. Consequently, the duty fell heavily on this battalion of men who
e at this point. By the summer of 1864 half an hour sufficed for the experienced engineers to lay a bridge like this, after the arrival of the bridge train. face of musketry fire from the opposite bank. After the Southerners had been driven away, the bridge, three hundred and ninety feet long, was built in one hour and ten minutes. Another was immediately laid, and during the battle of Fredericksburg Heights these two were moved bodily to Fredericksburg and there placed in position. On May 4th, the materiel was hastily removed to the north bank, and the last plank was scarcely up when a force of Confederates appeared on the opposite shore. Between Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, the engineers were engaged in building roads and bridges in the lines of the Federal army, and the individual officers, not on duty with the troops, were employed in reconnaissances, map-making, and on duty as staff-officers. Through Gettysburg, back to Virginia soil, and on toward Richmond, the we
river a number of the men not on this detail have gone in swimming. A couple of tents are visible on the bank near the end of the bridge. The busy diggers do not even glance at the men floating on the river below. They are making a road where an army has to pass. Many new ways had to be constructed to enable the supply trains to reach their various commands. South of the river Sheridan's cavalry was operating. There were continuous engagements on the line of the North Anna River from May 22d to 26th, and at any moment the Confederates might appear from the woods and open fire on the engineers. In modern military operations, no more striking examples of the importance of engineer troops and their work can be found than in the American Civil War. For much of the country over which this great struggle was waged, proper maps were wanting, and frequently roads and bridges had to be built before military movements could be executed. Rivers had to be bridged by pontoons and semi
nches and lines of communication, and in superintending and instructing details of soldiers who were unfamiliar with methods of modern warfare. At this period of the war (1862), the troops of the infantry and the cavalry had received no training in the construction of field-fortifications. Consequently, the duty fell heavily on this battalion of men who had received such instruction. Orders to construct a bridge across the Chickahominy River were received late on the afternoon of the 31st of May. The river was rising rapidly, and the night was extremely dark. The men who made maps — topographical engineers before Yorktown This photograph of May, 1862, affords the last chance to see the Topographical Engineers at work as a distinct organization. At the time this view was taken they still existed as a separate branch, their duties were the compilation of maps and other topographical data for the use of the army; but by act of March 3, 1863, the Corps of Topographical Engin
om its winter quarters on the north of the Rapidan, in the spring of 1864, for the last great campaign, there had been twelve hundred maps made and issued. After the start, and before the end of the siege of Petersburg, about sixteen hundred were issued from new surveys. In addition to the duties of surveying the country and making and distributing maps, the officers of the corps were charged with the work of selecting positions and directing their fortification. On the morning of the 3d of June, a gallant assault by the whole Union army was directed against Pontoon-bridges. Strips of water a few hundred feet wide often nullify the plans for entire armies. This page of pontoon-bridges gives some idea of the inestimable services of the Engineer Corps. In the upper photograph is one of the pontoon-bridges across the James, at Powhatan Point, near Harrison's Landing, which was used by part of General Grant's army in the march from Cold Harbor to Petersburg. Below to the
en felt and keenly appreciated by its opponent. Colonel Michler and Major Duane made a careful examination of the location of the two lines, and reported to General Grant and General Meade the impracticability of storming the Confederate position, especially in front of the Second and Eighteenth corps, there being no suitable place in the rear for the massing of troops for an attack. The army was then directed to entrench on lines to be selected by the engineer officers, and until the 9th of June it lay confronting the Confederates. On that date, Michler and Duane were ordered to select a line in rear of that occupied by the army, to be held temporarily by two divisions, which would enable the army to retire and move again by the flank, under cover. The lines were chosen by the engineers. Entrenchments were planned, and the troops began fortifying. At the same time, several of the engineer officers continued the reconnaissance to determine the best route for the contemplated
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