War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0232 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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it might have been demolished by them. They hesitated, however, to fire upon it, carious (as I have since been informed) to learn for what it was intended. Along the left of the line the parties commanded by Lieutenant B. F. Fisher, acting signal officer, erected four tower stations (A, B, C, D). These stations were occupied, and communicated with each other signals. The reports thence made were sent to General Keyes' headquarters. The enemy brought a light gun to bear upon one of these towers and sometime fired upon it, but they were neither able to seriously disturb its occupants nor to interrupt their labors. With this enumeration have been mentioned all the permanent stations established during the siege.

The duties of reconnaissances and communication performed by the officers of the Signal Corps when not occupying these stations have been before referred to. There was no day in the siege but that they could be found in front of the enemy's lines closely watching his works, and there was in consequence no day but on which some of them were exposed to the dangers of this position. Of the character of the reports made and messages sent by these officers the general commanding had knowledge at the time.

On the 16th of April, 1862, occurred the affair of the Burnt Chimneys, of Lee's Mill. Mention has already been made by name of the officers particularly engaged at this place. The messages sent by them were sent at very short distances, and I have no reliable information as to their importance. They were useful, perhaps, in conveying intelligence which might if otherwise sent have necessitated the greater exposure of other officers. The observations reported by some of the officers were made from tops of trees they had climbed for the purpose.

In the last days of april the division commanded by General Franklin arrived on transports at Shipping Point. These troops were kept on shipboard for several days, and it was supposed they were to be moved against the enemy at Gloucester. A detachment of 5 officers and 12 men, commanded by Lieutenant D. E. Castle, Nineteenth Indiana Volunteers, and acting signal officer, was assigned to duty with these forces, and reported to General Franklin, whose headquarters were then on shipboard.


By the first days of May our approaches were nearly completed, the siege and mortar batteries were in position, and the day was reported fired on which they were to open fire. Lieutenant Neel states in his report that two days previous to the evacuation of Yorktown and the main works at that place. I am not informed that this message was sent to general headquarters.

On the night of May 2 the unusual silence of the enemy so attracted the attention of the general commanding that in a message ordered to the fleet that night he mentioned that this silence might indicate an evacuation or a sortie, and asked that a gunboat be sent to draw the enemy's fire. The gunboat Marblehead moved up the river near the batteries, and, firing upon them, drew a number of shots in reply.

On the morning of the 3rd of May a signal message was received from Lieutenant A. B. Jerome, First New Jersey Volunteers and acting signal