HDQRS. DEPT. NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHERN VIRGINIA,
Petersburg, Va., July 3, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I respectfully submit the following report as to the numbers and organization of the independent signal corps under my command, and its general operations since my last report:
The corps consists of two companies, respectively commanded by Captain N. W. Small and E. G. De Jarnette, each company having 1 first and 2 second lieutenants, 5 sergeants, and 4 corporals, with 75 privates in each company. They are stationed from Drewry's Bluff to Day's Neck, along the line of the James River and the Appomattox; in all, twenty-three stations. The line is busily employed, and the men are upon continuous duty. Being only 6 at each post, the duty is particularly heavy in cases of sickness, &c.
The line from Fort Powhatan to Day's Neck was opened by order of General Longstreet on the 11th of April, Captain [J. H.] Manning, to orders, ran a line from Ivor to General Longstreet's headquarters, near Suffolk. On the 24th, the telegraph being opened, Captain Small ran a line along our front at Suffolk, Which rendered valuable and efficient service. The field corps, consisting of 14 mounted men, rendered able and efficient service in acting as scouts, guides, and couriers, and were highly complimented for their general utility by Major General S. G. French, under whom they personally served.
On the 5th of June, the post at Hog Island had a skirmish with a barge of the enemy sent over to reconnoiter their post from King's Mill Wharf. Lieutenant [R. A.] Mapp, in command of the post, fired into her, and has no doubt that 2 of the Yankees were severely wounded.
On the 11th of June, the enemy ascended the river with three iron-clads and two gunboats, accompanied by several transports. They shelled every signal station from Hog Island to Tomahund; two iron-clads anchored directly under Mount Pleasant Station, and shelled it vigorously for about twenty minutes, nearly demolishing the house at which it was located. This station was under command of Sergt. J. B. Smith, who deserves great credit for his coolness in finishing a message under a heavy fire. I therefore most cordially recommend him to the consideration of the Department.
As the enemy showed every disposition to land a large force at Dillard's Wharf, on the south side of the river, from Jamestown Island, I took 2 of my own men and a detachment of the Third North Carolina Cavalry, and burned it on the night of the 11th instant.
Connection was only broken four hours on the line.
On the night of the 24th of June, Captain De Jarnette, under my orders, crossed James River, and burned the enemy's wharf at Jamestown Island; this wharf was very serviceable to them, as they used it to embark and disembark troops upon their raids up the James and Chickahominy.
The line as a general thing is reliable and efficient. Occasionally mistakes occur, which I attribute more to the want of system on the part of telegraph lines than to the signal corps proper. When mistakes occur on the signal line, they are easily detected and the offend-