with as much precision as though they were upon the field, and consequently creating terrible slaughter among the enemy.
I had before the battle caused to be made some two dozen flags, blue and white White/Blue, to be carried by our troops, to prevent any mistakes by firing upon each other, and also to assist the firing from the gunboats, which I believe was a great assistance, and effectually prevented any such unfortunate errors.
Lieutenant Cogswell and myself had also arranged a simple code for certain messages, which enabled us to work with surprising quickness, and by so doing added still more to the success of your system of signaling. I believe that an impromptu code can always be arranged by signal officers for use upon any important occasion of this kind, and when they know their ground, which will prove of immense service. I found in this manner that I could send a message from the battle-field to Lieutenant Cogswell between the discharges of artillery, when the smoke lifted, which could not otherwise have been done.
My flag was repeatedly fired upon, the enemy seeming to understand its use and importance. Their battery, which was concealed in the woods, threw canister and shell directly across the field in which I was stationed, and, although they struck all around and near me, neither myself nor the man with me (Sergeant Ried) were hurt.
My feet were first upon the shore of the main-land of South Carolina, the signal flag the first to wave, and it was kept constantly flying during the whole engagement.
At 10 p.m. I returned to Beaufort with a dispatch for General Sherman, at Hilton Head, announcing our success, and Lieutenant Town immediately went back to the ferry to act in my place in case of necessity.
I believe that the very great assistance rendered by the use of your system of signals aided very materially in gaining a victory for us, and that fact I also think is fully impressed upon the mind of the general commanding, as well as upon the officer commanding the gunboats.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY S. TAFFT,
First Lieutenant Fifteenth Mass. Regiment Vols., Actg. Sig. Off. E. C.
Major ALBERT J. MYER,
Commanding Signal Corps.
No. 13. Letter from Major Albert J. Myer, Signal Officer, U. S. Army.
OFFICE OF THE SIGNAL OFFICER, A. P.,
Washington, D. C., January 14, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit to the general commanding the Army the inclosed letter of special mention from General Stevens, the official report of Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, commanding naval forces, in the recent action at Port Royal Ferry, and the official reports of Lieuts. Henry S. Tafft, and William S. Cogswell, acting signal officers of the Army, engaged in that action.