War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0228 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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also at the heights near United States Ford, and upon the heights opposite our extreme left, and with the batteries upon the left. The officers had their instructions to advance with the army and successively occupy these stations as the points came into our possession. Saturday afternoon, I ordered out two parties upon special duty. During the battle we could render no service, on account of the country being covered with forests. The stations along the river were kept constantly in readiness to be worked when necessity required. They were very opportune when the army fell back. The bridge having been swept away, they were the only means of communication between the general commanding the army and the corps commanders, the former being on the north bank of the river and the latter upon the south bank.

The casualties in the party were as follows: Private Duff, shot through the thigh; Private McCollin, shot through the leg, below the knee; Private Tousey, struck in the back with a spent ball.

I take pleasure in calling attention to the energy displayed by Captain Castle; also to the faithful service performed by Lieutenant Tuckerman, who remained upon the south bank of the river, keeping open the communication until the bridges were about to be taken up, when he recrossed to the north bank. I would also mention for faithful and gallant service, Privates Duff and Stone, and Corporal [Samuel] Cartledge. The signal telegraph was energetically carried forward and worked successfully by Lieutenant Jerome until he reached the brick house upon the south bank of the river, at United States Ford, from whence it was carried forward by my order to a point near General Hooker's headquarters. Captain Beardslee had charge there, and proved himself an energetic officer in taking it to the front and bringing it safely to the rear again without any loss of any moment.

In closing this report, I would call the attention of the signal officer to the fact that, while we gained some success, and did some service in this late movement, the corps is distrusted, and considered unsafe as a means of transmitting important messages. It is well known that the enemy can read our signals when the regular code is used, and it is equally evident to the minds of all who have had anything to do with interpreting ciphers that our cipher is unsafe and cannot be trusted. Had our code been changed, as called for by me when I had the honor of being the acting chief signal officer of this army, our success would have been unprecedented in the late movement. It is due to the service, it is due to the corps, it is due to the Army of the Potomac, that the code be immediately changed.

In a new code I have more confidence than in the present cipher, and until the officers are sufficiently versed in it to use it freely, it can be used in the same manner as the cipher is.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. F. FISHER,

Captain and Acting Signal Officer.

Lieutenant WM. S. STRYKER, Adjutant, Signal Corps.

Numbers 12. Report of Captain Frederick E. Beardslee, Assistant Quartermaster and Acting Signal Officer.

MAY 10, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report:

On the 27th of April, I started and put up a line from these head