Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 31, 1863 (Tuesday): Shovels for a Siege.

Richmond Defenses (

March 31, 1863.
Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:
    SIR: In case a siege of Richmond is deemed among the possibilities of the coming campaign, I think the chief quartermaster should be notified that he may be called on to furnish on our arrival in front of Richmond 10,000 shovels, 5,000 picks, 5,000 axes, and 2,000 shingling hatchets; that the Engineer Department should hold in readiness 30,000 sand bags, and that the secret service should, if possible, obtain authentic maps of the defenses of Richmond, either through their agents or by the public offers of large rewards. Such maps would be of no less value in case of an assault than in case of a siege. In the first case they would save valuable time that would otherwise be spent in selecting the proper point of attack, or might indicate at once that point. Such maps are undoubtedly in existence. Copies or originals may perhaps be obtained. It is believed to be impossible to compile such maps here from information given by persons who enter our lines, so as to obtain with sufficient accuracy either the strength of the works or the character of the ground around them.
     Very respectfully,

    Lieutenant of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 18, Part 1, Page 573.

That Hooker planned to be in Richmond at some point in the not distant future is evident from this missive from chief engineer Comstock.  For the time being, these implements were not needed.

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