War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0226 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Washington, D. C., October 21, 1862.


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The last days of March were days of labor. The signal camp of instruction was abandoned. The detachments of instructors (of which mention has bee made) were formed and ordered to the armies of Generals Halleck and Butler. The office of the signal officer was, at the suggestion of Captain Samuel T. Cushing, Second Infantry, U. S. Army, and acting signal officer, placed in charge of that officer, who well arranged and superintended its duties while the army went through the campaign of the Peninsula. The Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac was partially reorganized. A detachment of officers and men was assigned to each army corps. The last equipments for the field and camp were compelled, and the corps was then ready to accompany any movement of the Grand Army. Whatever time was else unemployed was given to the vigorous practice in signals of those whose short experience at the camp of instruction had rendered this practice necessary. As the embarkation of the forces, the facility with which the movements of the loaded transports were through them directed, and the precision they were able to cause in the arrangements for the debarkation of the great bodies of troops at the end of the voyage were subjects of pleasing surprise and of favorable comments, official and unofficial, among the numerous generals and other officers who were witnesses. Especial mention was made, I am informed, by Major General Fitz John Porter of the services rendered on this voyage by the signal detachment which, commanded by Lieutenant H. L. Jonson, Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, and acting signal officer, accompanied the forces under General Porter.

The detachment serving with General Heintzelman was so well appreciated that a detail from it was sent back by that general from Fortress Monroe to aid in the sailing of the divisions under General Hooker, which, then belonging to Heintzelman's corps, were to sail at a later date. The signal officers accompanying the corps commanded by General Keyses on the voyage down the Potomac were much employed. The signal detachments commanded by Lieuts. N. Daniels, Third Wisconsin Volunteers, and acting signal officer, and F. Wilson, Fifth Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, and acting signal officer, and assigned, respectively, to the corps commanded by Major-General Sumner and Major-General McDowell, did not accompany the movement of the Army of the Potomac at this time.

On March 31 the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, on board the steamer Commodore, moved from Alexandria. A reserve party of seven officers, with their flagmen, accompanied them. The enlisted men of this party, the horses, stores, and wagons, with the extra stores for the corps of the Army of the Potomac, were on the same day shipped upon a sailing vessel. On the evening of April 2 steamer Commodore arrived at Fortress monroe, Va.


* The preceding portion of this report appears in Series I, Vol. V, pp. 69-76.