Numbers 9 Report of Lieutenant Stephen M. Eaton, Twelfth Maine Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, of operations March 13-July 11.
NEW ORLEANS, LA.,
July 15, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of signal duty performed by me while on and attached to the U. S. S. Hartford, on the Mississippi River, between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, from March 13 to July 11, 1863:
In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 24, Headquarters Signal Corps, Baton Rouge, La., March 13, 1863, I reported for duty the same day, with Lieutenants Jencks and Abbott, and with our respective parties, to Admiral Farragut, on flagship Hartford.
In furtherance of orders on the subsequent day, Lieutenant Jencks and party were transferred to the iron-clad Essex, and Lieutenant Abbott and party to U. S. S. Richmond.
At 9 p. m. of Saturday, March 14, the fleet, in line of battle, by pairs, and lashed together, advanced to run the gauntlet of the Port Hudson batteries.
After a gallant and stubborn fight, the Hartford and her consort, the Albatross, succeeded, and came to anchor at midnight above the fortifications, and well out of range.
My efforts the next morning to communicate with the unsuccessful vessels below from the mast-head were to no purpose. The intervening woods were too high, and the admiral declined my proposal to cross the Point.
At 10 a. m. we sailed for Red River and Vicksburg. Had a sharp engagement at Grand Gulf on the 19th, and five separate engagements with the Warrenton batteries, from March 20 to March 30.
During these ten days, I exchanged signals repeatedly with certain of Admiral Porter's officers.
On the 15th of April, the Hartford steamed down within view of Port Hudson, and anchored. I immediately opened communication with the Richmond, distant, by the river, 10 miles; in an air-line, 6 miles. Here signal station had been raised to a height of 160 feet. My station was 135 feet high. The following is a correct transcript of the messages sent and received, then and afterward, by me:
U. S. S. HARTFORD,
April 15, 1863--11 a. m.
All well. Gabaudan arrived safely at Baton Rouge, missing the upper fleet.
Queen of the West was captured in Grand Lake April 14. Captain [E. W.] Fuller and crew prisoners at Berwick Bay. The enemy evacuated his works at Centreville last night, but will probably be captured, as he is between Emory and Grover. Leaving his guns and ammunition.
T. W. SHERMAN,
Can send a party to you across the Point in skiffs, coming out at lower mouth of Faise Run.
Sent. "Who are you, and what ship?"
Abbott. "The Richmond."
I want my secretary and dispatches if they can be sent me safely. I wish to return to Red River to-morrow morning. Answer.