War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0076 W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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Numbers 5. Report of Captain William B. Roe, Sixteenth Michigan Infantry, Chief Signal Officer, of operations April 9-July 8.


August 20, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report, accompanied by the individual reports of each acting signal officer, of the operations of the signal detachment serving with the army in this department, from April 9, 1863, to the time of the surrender of Port Hudson to the United States forces under Major-General Banks, July 8, 1863:

As Captain Rowley (who was in command of the corps until April 29) did not make a report of the operations of the corps in the Teche campaign, I will submit the report of the detachment under my charge at Baton Rouge during the time that Captain Rowley and party were operating with the army on the Teche; also the official reports of each officer in his detachment, which will show the amount of duty performed by the corps, and by each officer, during the whole campaign.

On the 8th of April, I received orders from General Augur, commanding at Baton Rouge, to report to Captain Alden, of the U. S. S. Richmond, for temporary duty. Accordingly, on the 9th, I proceeded with a party, consisting of Lieutenant George R. Herbert, of the signal corps, and Lieutenants Tenney and Dean, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers, to the point opposite Port Hudson, and, with the help of a party from the U. S. S. Genesee, we succeeded by the use of small boats (as the country was flooded by a crevasse) to so far penetrate the swamp as to convince ourselves that we could communicate with the admiral, who was to be down on the 15th, by means of boats, if signals should fail.

In the meantime the masts of the Richmond were raised to such a height that, on the 15th, we were able to signal over the trees with the admiral's ship above the batteries of Port Hudson. We also sent a party across the point with mail, dispatches, &c. (See Captain Alden's report, a copy of which is inclosed;* also reports of Lieutenant S. M. Eaton, who was on duty on the Hartford, and Lieutenant John C. Abbott, who was on duty on the Richmond.) Much valuable information was transmitted by signals between the two ships, which it would have been almost impossible to have obtained in any other way.

From the 15th of April until the fall of Port Hudson, constant communication was held between the two ships by signals.

On the 29th of April, Captain William W. Rowley's term of service having expired, I was placed in command of the corps by special orders from headquarters Department of the Gulf, and immediately entered upon the discharge of my duties. Lieutenant Joseph L. Hallett was placed in charge of the detachment at Baton Rouge, which consisted of 6 officers, one of whom was in charge of the signal telegraph train.

On the 19th of May, in obedience to orders from Major-General Banks, I accompanied him to the headquarters of the army, then at Simsport, La., and ordered the remainder of the party to proceed by first train to same point.

Immediately on my arrival, May 21, I received orders from yourself to place an officer on the U. S. S. Hartford. Accordingly, Lieutenant Ros-


*Not found.