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. 50

Nov4th 1864 Having been rainy for several days we are glad to see it clear up beautifull this morning. 5th To day Co H found and killed a bullock. They presented us with one quarter in return for our having done the same to them on two previous occasions. This will keep us in fresh beef as long as it will save. Sunday6th. This morning is sharp cold. I found in a tub ice ⅓ in thick. Every thing is quiet except the firing in dutch Gap. This work goes steadily on, they are mining the west end and when all is ready the bank which has been left thus far to keep the water out of the canal, will be blown out into the channel of the river. The east end of the canal has been open a long time, and dredging machines have been to work. It is calculated that the rush of water when the end is blown out will wash out the depth enough to allow the monitors to pass through. This will be done when it is just turning from high tide to run down. In order that you may understand this I will give you a little diagram of the river around the Gap. [sketch] C is the canal, BB is the bend of the river. E is east and W is west end. The canal is from 2 to 300 yds long. The bend from E to W is 8 miles. The water at W is 4 ft higher than at E owing to the fall of the river. Thus you see when the end at W is blown out there will be a fall of 4 ft in the length of the canal, which with the addition of the tide must for several hours create a tremendous rush through the canal sweeping every thing before its power. 7th Rainy and nasty under foot and over head, but quite warm. Large details are at work making corduroy roads for the winter. From 7th to 11th Dull. On the latter day as the Lieut wanted some brick for a chimney for the mens winter qrs at Bermuda and as brick is a scarce article in this country I concluded to see what I could do. I had previously heard of a brick kiln just

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