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Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion


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[p.149] [INCLOSURE NO. 1]

[Inclosure No. 1.]

Report of Capt. Wesley Brainerd, Fiftieth New York Engineers.

CAMP NEAR NEW BRIDGE, VA.,
June 2, 1862.

SIR: Agreeably to your instructions I proceeded on Saturday afternoon last (May 31) to make a reconnaissance of the Chickahominy in the direction previously indicated by you, with a view to determine the most favorable position for a bridge. I succeeded in finding a very [p.150] good approach to the stream at about dark. The following sketch shows the character of the spot selected as it then appeared:

A represents the road leading to the approach.
B, a point of land opposite, apparently the mainland,
C appeared to be a small swale, which at that time could have been crossed by one or two trestles or corduroy.
D represents land partially covered by water and filled with brush or trees.
H, a ditch running parallel with the road.

As I had but 120 feet of bridge, I concluded to place it in the direction of A B, and, in my opinion, had the water remained at the same height as at the time I made the reconnaissance, th bridge could have been laid with little difficulty. I received your order to construct the bridge at about 11 o’clock, and proceeding with the train to the spot, I found the stream somewhat swollen and rising rapidly. After cutting away the brush at the side of the stream I commenced laying the bridge three feet above the level of the water. The water continued rising very fast, and the current became so swift as to render the work extremely difficult.

At about 4.30 o’clock I had succeeded in placing three lengths of trestles, when I was relieved by Captain Ketchum Fifteenth Regiment New York Volunteers, and returned with my men to camp. At that time the water had risen so as nearly to submerge the bridge.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WESLEY BRAINERD,
Captain Company C, Fiftieth Regiment New York Volunteers.

General D. P. WOODRURY, Gommanding Engineer Brigade.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.149

web page Rickard, J (11 August2006)


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