Monday, October 28, 2013

Chart of Buffalo Harbor, 1856

Yellow -- Existing sand and mud bars that require removal;
Orange -- Sand and mud bars that have been removed;
Purple -- Sand and mud bars that are building from wind and currents along the beaches.

Note 1 -- The last report of the condition of the harbor of buffalo and the lower Niagra River have been sent to Congress for consideration of further work needed to remove all the above indicated material and the further slowly but surely material being moved into place by the natural wind and current drift.

Drawn and enhanced by Ian McKay, Captai, U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Friday, August 16, 2013

AAR, Look Park, Florance, Mass., August, 2013

>>>> Topographical Engineers After Action Report, <<<< 

Look Park, Florence, Mass, Aug. 2013

Lt. General U. S. Grant;
All Federal Armies

Colonel Paul Kenworthy
Commanding Officer
New England Brigade

Major Steve Doucette, 
Commander (Acting)
New England Brigade

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

Respected Sirs;

I beg your indulgence to receive my Engineering Report for the above named encampment and battles.

My staff and I arrived at the Union Camp at Look Park on Friday evening at about 6:30 P.M. after a day long trip by carriage from Fort Trumbull, in New London, CT, my current military base assignment.

We set up the Topographical Engineering Field Office according to a previous encampment design and settled in for the evening.  My personal staff and I were the recipients of a very kind invitation to stay with friends in the small town nearby, and we did so after a delicious seafood supper at a local inn.

The next morning I arrived in camp to find Major Webster and his lovely wife already awake and preparing Breakfast.  Officer’s call was announced and Major Webster took the call and gained the information for the day.  The Major and I then conferred about the maps that he had prepared and already issued to the acting brigade Commander, Major Steve Doucette, and then I went to the Commander and asked to speak with him about his needs / desires for the use of the Topog. Engrs.

The Commander seemed very eager to provide the engineers with his desires for both of the days prospective skirmishes.  First, he asked for a two lane pontoon bridge be laid up stream from the existing bridge.  Apparently there was some suspicion that the bridge had either been mined, or destabilized in some unknown manner.  For the second day, he asked that the end of the battle field be armed with cheavoux de frize to provide a barrier against a massive assault on the Union camp by the enemy. The engineers were very motivated by the Commander’s enthusiasm in putting the Topographical Engineering Unit to work.

After the meeting with the Commander, I was pleased to draw up a plan for the two pontoon bridges, together with a set of listings for the required materials and pontoons to construct the bridge together with the telegraph message requesting that six pontoons and all relative equipment be sent from the engineering Pontoon train waiting just South of the village of Florence.  Major Webster undertook to write up the plan and materials needed for the requested field fortifications. The materials for the cheavoux de frize arrived almost immediately and Major Webster with his set-up team immediately went to work setting up the field fortifications.  I then undertook to draw a map of the Union Camp to add to the event portfolio.

Major Webster and I had set up a display of some of the instrumentation, weapons, maps, plans, and materials used by the engineers in the field.  Of particular interest, was Major Webster’s excellent reproductions of the “black maps” that he produced on site with the help of the bright sun and some chemically soaked drawing papers.  They were quite good and provided an easy way to replicate important maps and plans for the guidance of the Brigade’s Command Staff at the battle site or the encampment.

I was very much honored by the Event Organizer to narrate the battles that were planned for the weekend, and I did so, being supplied with transportations to and from the battle sites. 

On Saturday evening my personal staff and I retired to the Florence village for a very delicious supper and rest at the provided home.  Sunday morning dawn early and we were back in camp before 8:00 A.M.  My tasks for the day were pretty much involved with narration at each of the battles that had been planned, and talking with the spectators who came by and who were interested in the Engineering Field Office and the displayed materials.  I was very pleased to meet with Lt. Charles Veit who Commands the Naval Landing Party.  This unit took part in the battles in support of the Union Infantry and the artillery.  Their naval displays were said to be excellent and many spectators visited their encampment.  I was also pleased to be able to talk with Captain Reicke of the Ninth Mass. Artillery, and he was engaged for a short period in discussion with spectators in explanation of the engineering displays while I was in the period of narration on the battle field.  

I am also most pleased to introduce all to the newest of our members in the Topographical Engineers, Mr. Fred Goodhue.  Fred is 64 years of age, lives in Williamsburg, Mass. and has been a long time reenactor of the WWII period and he is now interested in stepping back in time with us.  “Welcome Aboard Fred,” it is great to have you with us, and we are looking forward to working with you in the future.    

I was pleased to see that the Brigade Commander made good use of the maps and plans provided to him.  Further, I was pleased that the Look Park Event ran so well for the Engineers.  It was a most enjoyable event and if invited, the engineers will be pleased to attend once again.

Your Most Obedient and Diligent Servant;

Respectfully Submitted;

Ian McKay, BG, CE, U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers       

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Proposed Double Pontoon Bridge

The above proposed double pontoon bridge was requested by the
Major Commanding the Union forces at Look Park.  The double
bridge was to have a double road connecting to the main
road on both sides of the stream.  The bridges were to consist
of three pontoons each with heavy beams supporting a plank
road.  The pontoon bridge was requested in case the Confederates
had mined the present bridge in some way.  Requests were conveyed
by telegraph, and runner for the following:

--Bridge Field Supervisor (Major Webster)
--Bridge Foreman (sgt.)
--Blacksmith with portable forge and tools;
--One platoon of pioneers;
--Six pontoons and all support materials from the pontoon train.

Project Approved by Ian McKay BG, CE, Topographical Engineers,
Chief Engineer, New England Reenactment Brigade

The project was approved by the Major, Commanding.


Union Camp, Look Park, August, 1863 -- #82-413

This camp was set up in one of the open forest areas in Look Park.  It was almost
 all in the shade of large trees, both coniferus and decidunous.  There was
 a small narrow paved or gravel road, as indicated, through the camp.
There was a small gazebo in the southwestern part of the encampment.
This structure was at the highest point of the encampment and looked
 over the large skirmish field.  The main park road passed by on the eastern
 side of the encampment with heavy brush and trees lining the main road to the
east.  On the western side of the encampment was a steep grade leading into a
 wagon-park just below the camp.  The internal camp road had two outlets to the
 main camp road.  The two camp roads divided and went down both sides of the
encamment area, so that the whole area was accessible by wagon.

This report made by:

Ian Mckay, BG, CE, Topographical Engineers
Chief Engineer
New England Reenactment Brigade

Union Defenses of Washington, North Carolina

Note: This drawing was completed by Major G. P. Webster , Commander of the  Northeast River/Coastal Detachment of the Topographical Engineers (NETE) on April 10th, 1863.  The town of Washington, North Carolina was taken by Union forces earlier and sustained an attack by Confrderate Forces on the above date.

Approved; Ian McKay, BG, CE, TE
Field Encampment;
Mapping Office, Army of the Potomac, USA

The Pines Theatre, Look Park, Forence, Mass, August 4th, 1863

Note:  This drawing was made of the Pines Theatre during an encampment at Look Park by Major G. Webster, Commander of the Northeast River/Coastal Detachment of the Topographical Engineers (NETE), Mapping Office, Army of the Potomac, USA.

Approved; Ian McKay, BG, CE, TE 

"A Bend in the Arkansas River"

Note:  This drawing was taken from a field setch by Major G. Webster  (NETE)  near Bent's Old Fort, Colorado

Approved; Ian McKay, BG, CE, TE

A Wooden Arch Bridge

This wooden arch Bridge was designed and set up as a project determned as necessary for the Union advance to the Soutb during the Civil War.  Several rivers and streams of various sizes, volumes, and speed of flow barred the way, so materials for a bridge of this type was added to all of the Union Pontoon trains.

In accordance with the Orders of the Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac, USA, June 12, 1862

Approved; Ian  McKay, BG, CE, Topographical Engineers
New England Reenactment Brigade 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Confederate Advance on Fort Craig

Broad Map of the Confederate Advance on Fort Craig;

(1) Confederates leave Fort Bliss Jan. 2;
(2) Confederates leave Fort Thorn (abandoned) Feb. 7;
(3) Confederates arrive at Fort Craig Feb. 16;
(4) Battle of Valverde Feb. 21, 1862.

Battle of Valverde, Feb. 21, 1862

Battle of Valverde

Gettysburg -- Culp's Hill

July 3, 1863, 10:00 A. M. -- Gettysburg, Culp's Hill

The 123rd New York and the rest of McDougall's brigade hunkered down just North of the Baltimore Pike after Magor-GeneralEdward Johnson'r Divisioncatured their breastworks.  Union artillery South of the Pike fired over the brigade on July 3rd.

Reference: Civil War Times (Aug. - 2013), "Hundreds of Rebels Lay There," D. Scott Hartwig, Supervisory Historian, Gettysburg National Park

Confederate Win at Gaine's Mill

Confederate Winning Charge at Gaine's Mill

Brig. Gen. John Porter's V Corps held a strong position on the Army of the Potomics right flank which was isolated North of the Chickahominy River.  General R. E. Lee wished to dislodge this stand.  His first piecemeal Rebel attacks were thrown back by the Federals, but an all-out Rebel assault, late in the day, finally broke through the Federal Lines.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fort Adams

Fort Adams, Rhode Island South Bastions and Outer Works;
1. Narragansett Bay;
2. Curtain;
3. West Wall;
4. South Wall;
5. Interior Front;
6. Interior Demi-Bastion;
7. Parade;
8. SE Postern;
9. SW Postern;
10. Interior Ditch;
11. Ramps;
12. SE Exterior Bastion;
13. Terreplien;
14. SE Curtain;
15. South Exterior Bastion;
16. Outer Works;
17. SW Curtain;
18. SW Exterior Bastion;
19. SW Tenaille;
20. SW Caponnier;
21. SE Tenalle;
22. SE Caponnier;
23. Exterior Ditch;
24. SE Exterior Front;
25. SE Glacies;
26. Salient;
27. SW Exterior Front;
28. SW Glacies.

Capt. G. P. Webster;
Field Engineer;
NETE, U. S. Topographical  Engineers;
May 18th, 1863.


Camp Scene, 23 February, 1863 -
Lady Heidi Webster;
Contract Artist, NETE.

Burnside Bridge

--Burnside Bridge, 23 Febuary, 1863; Lady Heidi Webster, Contract Artist, NETE.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vauban Style Fortifications

This drawing shows both Interior and Exterior Works - March 7th, 1863.
G. P. Webster, Capt.

Federal Brigade H.Q.

Hilltop site, Chase Farm near Lincoln, R.I,Sept. 1864

Redoubt, Fort Adams

Southern Redoubt defending Fort Adams, Newport, R.I. -- This redoubt was added to deal with a land assault from the beaches further South.  It is presently in a sad state of ruin and is locked behind a fence.