Diary of a Yankee Engineer: The Civil War Story of John H. Westervelt, Engineer, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps

By John H. Westervelt; Anita Palladino | Go to book overview

Diary of an Engineer During the
Rebellion

No. 49

Sunday 16th After dinner Otis and myself took a ride out in the country for our health. As the Lieut has been unwell for several days and unable to ride his horse he offered him for my use. He is a noble beast and one of the finest saddle horses I have ever rode. We took the route along the banks of the Appomattox to Point of rocks and the site of Genl Butlers old front, then along the line of works to the James and had a good view of the sunken vessels and other obstructions placed in the river by the rebs to impede the progress of our monitors course toward Richmond. These obstructions are in the bend and around Dutch Gap. The river after taking a circuit of … miles returns to within 300 yds of the same spot, and it is at this neck we are cutting a canal for our monitors. From here we proceeded to a place called, crows nest,1 nearly opposite the canal. Here we have a tower 130 ft high from which I obtained the most extensive view it has ever been my good fortune to [have]. The tower stands on a high bluff and it is like flying among clouds and looking down on the poor mortals scattered in every direction over the face of the county. I could see the Rams in the distance up the river were our new batterys have lately driven them. The river resembles a huge serpent winding its way among the hills meadows and trees. Altogether it is one vast and magnificent panorama. The spires of Richmond are plainly visible to the naked eye. Dutch Gap (as we call it now) is a human bee hive. The work goes on incessantly night and day. Lately we have had a number of rebel prisoners to work on the job in retaliation for their using our colored troops to work on their fortifications and under a … when they take them prisoners. I have but a poor opinion

1. Crow’s Nest signal tower, to the right of Bermuda Hundred, was a target for Confederates on many occasions, with no success on their part. Miller, Photog?-npllic Histony, vol. 8, p. 338.

-180-

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