was retaken by our forces, and was soon after reoccupied as a signal station, communicating with Poolesville, to which place Captain Fisher had previously sent a party, and thence by electricity with the headquarters of the army. The earliest reports announced that two regiments of the enemy's cavalry were thence visible, but with no signs of the presence of the enemy in force on the east side of Catoctin Ridge. A force was reported encamped near Point of Rocks.
It had been particularly desired by the major general commanding the army that the signal station upon Sugar Loaf, which kept under observation the country upon his left, and from which the presence of the enemy could be rapidly reported, should be occupied by careful and skilled officers. Lieuts. W. W. Rowley, J. H. Spencer, W. B. Roe, and J. S. Hall, acting signal officers, were assigned to this station, and from this time during the operations terminating in the defeat of the enemy at Antietam their duties were constant. From this station were transmitted to headquarters, while moving from Middlebrook to near Urbana, while at Urbana, at Frederick, at Middletown, and to the general commanding on the field during the battle of South Mountain, reports of observations made and the reports of the station established upon Point of Rocks on the advance of our army to that place. It was also used as a station for the transmission of some telegraphic correspondence of the General-in-Chief from Frederick and from the field at South Mountain to Point of Rocks, to which station the electric telegraph had been extended from Washington before that destroyed by the enemy near Frederick was repaired. It was still held, by direction of the General-in-Chief, during the battle of Antietam, thence communicating with Frederick.
On Friday, September 12, General headquarters moved from Middlebrook to a point near Urbana. At this point the occupation of Frederick by our troops was announced to the General-in-Chief by signals from Sugar Loag as soon as the head of the column had entered that city. The presence of the enemy's pickets was reported as visible at the bridge at the bridge of the Monocacy, and information was given of the occupation of Point of Rocks by a small party of our forces on this night. On the night of the 12th, Lieutenant J. H. Fralick, who had gone forward with General Hancock, reached Point of Rocks, then not yet possessed by our troops. Lieutenant Fralick attempted to attract thence, by means of signals, the attention of the signal officer supposed to be at Maryland Heights. Rockets and red lights were fired, and the usual signals made by torch from Sugar Loaf for the same purpose. Point of Rocks is in easy signal distance from Marylan Heights, but no response was obtained from the latter post. It was afterward ascertained that Captain Fortescue had in so far misapprehended the position in shish he could be of most service as to leave the Heights prior to their investment. It had not been indicated to Captain Fortescue in orders that he was to remain at that place. lieutenant Fralick afterward first reported to General Franklin the occupation of Maryland Heights by the enemy. Of this fact he had evidence satisfactory to himself by seeing their signal flag at work upon that station.
On Saturday, September 13, the army occupied Frederick in force. A detail of officers was sent early on this day to occupy Point of Rocks, to report any approach of the enemy in that direction, and to gain information as to their presence on the west side of Catoctin Ridge, and of the condition of affairs at Harper's Ferry. The stations at Seneca and at Great Falls were ordered to be broken up.
The sounds of a cannonade attracting attention early in the morning,