The material of the signal corps, formed as it is of educated and reliable men, affords the opportunity of employing them to advantage as magnetic telegraph operators, the duties of which position are strictly germane to their present occupation as signal men, and could be acquired with comparative ease and celerity.
With a corps of men thus thoroughly instructed in all the scientific methods for the early transmission of information the general commanding would have at hand the means of taking possession of any telegraphic line already constructed, of attaching a portable apparatus to any points of such line near which his troops may be operating, and of constructing new lines or ramifications of lines to points either of strategic value or value as lookouts.
An operator under these circumstances would be always within reach, and being under military supervision, could be more relied upon as being at his post when required.
In point of economy it will also recommend itself to the general, as the operator will receive but his pay as signal-man, which is less than half that of the civil operator.
The use of the galvanic battery would also tend to fit some of the corps for the responsible duty of uniting such torpedoes or other marine explosives to be fired by the electric spark as may be in contemplation; also the management of the electric light.
If this suggestion should meet with the approval of the general two portable apparatus and a teacher for the manual operation would be required.
Assistant Adjutant-General and Signal Officer.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Charleston, S. C., November 6, 1862.
O. P. FANNIN, GAY, ALLEN, and other members of Committee,
Blakely, Early County, Ga.:
GENTLEMEN: Your communication of the 11th ultimo, addressed to the Secretary of War, has been referred to the commanding general of the department, under whose instructions I have to say that at an early day be noticed the importance of closing the Chattahoochee to the gunboats of the Abolitionists, and before this would have detached a competent engineer to make a reconnaissance of the river to discover the best position for obstructions and batteries to command them, but so far he has been unable to detach an officer from the pressing needs of the service in connection with the defense of Charleston and Savannah, more immediately threatened by and accessible to the enemy than your vicinity.
Be assured your river shall not be lost sight of or neglected. Your citizens meantime may do much by collecting accurate information about the best locations for obstructions. Any engineer sent to your region will be instructed to call on and communicate freely with you.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF S. C. AND GA., Numbers 216.
Charleston, S. C., November 6, 1862.
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IV. A military district, to be known as the Fourth Military District,