Numbers 6. Report of Lieutenant William W. Rowley, Twenty-eighth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, Second Corps.
HDQRS. SIGNAL CAMP, SECOND CORPS, ARMY OF VA.,
Fairfax, August 16, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on Friday, the 8th day of August, 1862, the Second Corps, Army of Virginia, was encamped at Hazel River, 7 miles from Fairfax [Culpeper Court-House], on the Sperryville road. At this time we held communication with Thoroughfare Mountain and Culpeper, General Pope being at the later place. About 1 p. m. a message was sent to General Banks through our lines from General Pope for him to start immediately with his command for Culpeper. A great many orders were transmitted through the line to and from General Pope to Generals Banks and Sigel, it being the only mode used to transmit orders. Lieutenants Pierce and Harvey were upon station at Culpeper, Lieutenant Halsted upon Butler Mountain, Lieutenant Fralick upon station at Hazel River, and Lieutenant Spencer upon Thoroughfare Mountain.
In compliance with orders, General Banks' whole command, except Lieutenants Halsteds and Fralick, Started for Culpeper, Lieutenants Halsted and Fralick remaining upon their respective stations. Our whole force encamped at Culpeper.
On Saturday morning I was ordered by General Banks to accompany him, with all the signal officers not on duty, to the front, which was about 5 or 6 miles from Culpeper. Accordingly, in company with Lieutenants Harvey, Fortescue, and Miner, I went to the front with General Banks, Lieutenant Spencer being still upon Thoroughfare Mountain, Lieutenant Briggs being with General Buford, who had occupied Madison Court-House, keeping communication with Lieutenant Spencer.
As we were leaving Culpeper for the front I received a message from Lieutenant Spencer that the mountain was surrounded by a regiment of the enemy's cavalry, and that he would be obliged to abandon his position. General Banks, by order of General Pope, immediately ordered the Twenty-eight Pennsylvania to proceed to the mountain, retake it, and protect the signal officer. Not knowing the safety of Lieutenant Spencer, I dispatched Lieutenant Harvey and men with the Twenty-eight Regiment to occupy the mountain, and open communication with us at Culpeper and also at the front near Cedar Run Mountain. This left me but two signal officers, Lieutenants Fortescue and Miner. Early in the morning I had sent Lieutenant Fortescue to the front with instructions to open communication with Lieutenant Spencer. He did not succeed, as Lieutenant Spencer had been compelled to abandon his position. Lieutenant Spencer succeeded in regaining his position upon the mountain top in advance of Lieutenant Harvey, but was soon joined by Lieutenant Harvey with the regiment of infantry, and have since held the position.
General Banks arrived upon the ground occupied by our advance about 11 a. m. There was no position upon which we could get so as to command the field of battle, and as our troops were massed, there was nothing to be done in the way of signaling until Lieutenants Spencer and Harvey arrived upon the top of the mountain. Lieutenants Fortescue and Miner volunteered their services to General as aides upon the battle-field.