Friday, August 3, 2012

Fort Adams Engineering Report, July, 2012

Fort Adams, Engineering Report, July, 1863 (#071512)

Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant;
All Union Armies

Brig. Gen. M. Burbank
New England Brigade

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

Most Honored Sirs;

I beg your indulgence to receive the Engineering Report from the Fort Adams Event on the subject dates.

In Attendance:

-- Ian McKay, Brig. Gen. of Engineers (By Brevet); 
-- Major James Duarte (Adjutant, Senior Field Engineer)
-- First Lt. Greg Webster (Ordnance Expert, Field Engineer)
-- Lady Heidi Webster, (Field Artist);
-- Lady M. Mathews, (Paymaster, Teamster).

Lady Mathews and I arrived at Fort Adams to find our previous registrations in order, and we moved smoothly through the gates into the fort interior.  A this point, I must document my thanks to Mr. Robert McCormack, Fort Adams  Director of Services for his very kind invitation to provide an Engineering Display in the North Casemates, and to reserve a section of the casemates for such a display.  This invitation turned a normal reenactment event for the Topog. Engineers into the specialist event for the year. 

On our arrival we began the set-up of the Engineering Display, and immediately delivered three sets of four maps and map notes relating to Fort Adams and vicinity to the Brigade Staff.  Later in the afternoon, Lady Webster and Lt. Webster arrived with two more maps of the area which were also immediately transmitted to the Brigade Staff.  Lt and Lady Webster had made arrangement to stay in the casemates during the event while Lady Mathews, Major Duarte and I responded to an invitation from the town to take advantage of an offered lodging and found in Newport.  A brief discussion with the Brigade Commander determined that the area just outside of the fort should be looked at, n the following morning, in case of any Confederate attacks directed against the fort.  

On Saturday Morning we arrived back at the fort and I immediately ordered both Major Duarte and Lt. Webster to make patrol surveys of the fort perimeter, and from those surveys draws sketch maps to be provided for the Brigade Commander's use in evaluating the area for a possible meeting of Confederate Forces.  During this period, I busied myself in working with calculations in determining the width of a river for the purpose of erecting a bridge for a crossing.  Lady Webster, was kept busy through the morning answering questions from visitors about the display.  From time to time I was called upon to answer a particular question and the morning passed by quickly.  Wellas before noon both field engineers returned with the Patrol Surveys, and busied themselves with producing the requesting sketch maps of the area for the Brigade Commander.  Those maps and reports were immediately delivered to the Brigade Staff as soon as completed.  Later just prior to the planned skirmish, the Brigade Commander came to me and explained in detail his battle plan for the projected attack.  I was honored to be asked to narrate to a portion of the crowd, the action on the field as well as some of the lesser know military details that might prove to be confusing to our spectators.

During the skirmish Lt Webster was on the field to insure that all the information relating to the battle needed by the engineers was collected and preserved.  I was asked many, many, questions in regard to the skirmish going on and then stayed for abut a half hour after the skirmish answering questions from all.  I was also pleased to receive from many spectators their congratulations and enjoyment dealing with the skirmish.  From the skirmish field we retired back to the engineering display area, answering questions from spectators / visitors.  I was pleased to have a brief discussion with the Brigade Commander and other staff in regard to  the skirmish and we discussed many of the points brought forward by the field commanders, what could be improved and what was done well.  Lady Mathews came at about that time to retire into town once again.

On Sunday Morning, we arrived back at the fort at about 8:00 A.M. and I began the day working out the detailed aspects of a standard "ditch and parapet" outline with distances and angles to be used when these field fortifications  will be needed.  In the late morning the Brigade Commander discussed with me his battle plan to meet the Confederates should they begin the attack once more.  I was again honored to be asked to narrate to the visitors what was occurring on the battle field.  Shortly, the troops began to assemble and Major Duarte very generously assisted me to the skirmish field again as he did on Saturday.  The skirmish was delayed for a short time and began with a heavy exchange of artillery fire.  The skirmish progressed to its conclusion and again I was asked many, .many, questions about the military on the field, and met some people who were also very interested in the Civil War.  After the battle, we began the long job of packing all the weapons, models, torpedos (bombs), tools, and instrumentation for the long trip back home.  This effort took about an hour with the help of Lady and Lt. Webster as well as Major Duarte.

Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant:--  I beg your attention to both Lady and Lt. Webster.  Their efforts through this special Engineering Display, from their added and most significant display f "infernal devices," to their detailed and consistent help with all of our visitors / spectators, was most impressive.  Lady Webster also offered her assistance on the field as a lady participant, and Lt. Webster's determination to capture every aspect of the two skirmishes that would be valuable information to consider in the future.

Excused on sick leave were:

Major R. Germain and Lady Germain;

Excused on detachment were:

Lt. General Grant and Lady Grant;
Captain Wayne Lafleur;
Captain N. Reicke;
Second Lt. John Proctor;
Corporal M. Grossman.

Your Most Admiring and Diligent Servant;

Very Respectfully;

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



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