Friday, August 3, 2012

Engineering Report, Fort Adams, 07/08/11

On Jul 11, 2011, at 11:21 PM, James Mathews wrote:

Lt. General U.S. Grant
All Federal Armies

Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
New England Brigade

Major D. Erickson
Commandant (acting)
U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Honored Sirs;

I beg your kind attention to forward to you my engineering report of the subject event.  My driver and I arrived by coach after a hot and bumpy ride from Fort Trumbull.  When we arrived we were greeted by my contact at Fort Adams (Mr. McCormick) and welcomed in the most polite way.  We were checked into the fort, the gate was opened for us, and we entered to find Captain Germain and his lovely wife Mary Anne had proceeded us, and were setting up there living area in the Western End of the Northeast Casemate.  We unloaded the carriage and set up the requested engineering display and field office.  The display consisted of six tables of tools, weapons, instrumentation and maps showing the various items and tasks of the engineers.

The afternoon on Friday was utilized in setting up the display.  Three tables were furnished by the fort for the display.  The remainder of the display was on tables furnished by the engineers.  My driver (Mrs. Mathews) and I spent the night at an inn in the small town of Newport and breakfasted well before returning to the fort proper.  I enjoyed a long discussion with Captain (by brevet) Wayne LaFluer ("Flapjack"), and he accepted some unit drawings to offer for sale to fort visitors.

Saturday morning was quite busy, as the fort was flooded with young visitors, and we were kept busy discussing with the visitors the various items of display.  The weapons section of the display was by far the most popular portion of the lay-out.  At 11:30, I gave my requested presentation on Fort Adams covering some of the fort history, purpose, strength, mysteries, and viability of the fortress during the Civil War and it's purpose in later years.   2nd Lt. (by brevet) Greg  Webster and his lovely wife Hiedi arrived and he contributed to the display several "infernal machines" (mines -- grenades) which made up a seventh table of displays. He also offered several aditional drawings for approval and copy.  Out in front of the entrance to the casemates, the Topographical Pioneer, Corporal Michael Grossman set up two sets of Cheveaux-de-Frise (personnel barriers) out in front of the entrance to the casemates.  These together with the engineering flags, rank and position flags as well as signage for the engineers, provided an excellent prelude to the display inside the casemate.

Following the presentation was a skimish which was conducted on the front lawn at the North end of the fort.

Following the skirmish there was another full period of visitors to the casemates.

My driver and I spent the night again in town and the next morning arrived at the fort.  I was informed that our Logistics Officer Capt. LaFluer had sold many of the maps earlier afforded to him and the money was donated to the Topog Fund in the amount of $35.00.  This was a nice addition to The Topog Treasury.  Sunday morning until about 11:00 A.M. was quiet and in that period Captain Germain and I worked on some drawings and plans to be shown in display.

At 11:30 A.M. I again gave my presentation on Fort Adams, and was quite surprised to have a young man of approx. 15 years, approach me and congratulate me on the best presentation on Fort Adams he had ever heard.  It is very impressive to know that at least a few of our young people are interested in the military history of our nation.

After the afternoon skirmish in which the concussions of the field artillery rattled the casemates as must have happened in the past it was time to pack up the display and go back home.  My extreme thanks to the Germains for their assistance in packing up and laying out the engineering display.  I doubt that it could have been done without their assistance.  My thanks also to the 9th Mass, Arty for their assistance with the heavy tool chest.  I would be remiss were I not to thank the Fort Adams Org. for their generous loan of the display tables, together with the very welcome hospitality of the McCormick's, both father and son.  Their welcome and distinct help together with my love of the old fort insure that any future invitation for a military event from them I shall be pleased to give my full attention.

Your Most Diligent and Dedicated Servant;

Very Respectfully;

Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (by brevet);
Chief Engineer
Chief of Staff (acting)
Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant's Personal and Military Staffs

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