War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0051 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

&c., and also maps showing lines of communication established by signals and signal telegraph lines during our operations.

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

FRANKLIN E. TOWN,

First Lieutenant 42nd New York Vols., and Chief Sig. Off., D. S.

Lieutenant Colonel E. W. SMITH,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. SIGNAL DETACHMENT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,

Folly Island, S. C. January 10, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of duty performed in opening signal communication between headquarters on Folly Island and Hilton Head:

During the latter part of September, I suggested to the major-general commanding the practicability of a line through, and, after some consideration of the subject, he authorized me to construct it. The plan I had submitted contemplated the erection of three towers, respectively, at Botany Bay, Otter, and Saint Helena Islands, he directing Colonel Serrell, commanding New York Volunteers Engineer, to built three towers at the points designated by myself. This order was issued on the 6th of October, and on the following day I went, accompanied by Colonel Serrell, on board the steamer Ella Morse, to visit the points selected for towers, and determine the exact location.

That afternoon we located the tower on Botany Bay, and it being too late to go into Saint Helena Sound that night, we proceeded directly to Beaufort, via Hilton Head, arriving there at midnight. I immediately crossed to lady's Island, and procured transportation, and at daylight we started and visited several points on Saint Helena Island, and determined the location of that tower; returning to Beaufort, at noon we started for Otter Island, but, getting aground, were compelled to wait all night, and arrived at Otter Island in the morning, and thence, having decided on the location of the tower at that point, returned to Folly Island on the afternoon of the 9th. Colonel Serrell detailed three parties of men to build the towers, each building party consisting of a sergeant and two men, the whole under the charge of Lieutenant Hartmann, of that regiment. A fatigue detail of 125 men was also ordered from the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, of which 90 were left with the Botany Bay party. Lieutenant Hartmann was provided with orders addressed to Brigadier General R. Saxton, directing him to detail 25 men from a colored regiment as a fatigue party on Saint Helena Island, which he did.

The quartermaster, having been directed to place a steamer at the disposal of Lieutenant Hartmann for this duty, designated the Peconic.

In the night of the 11th, all material having been gotten on board, I went on board the Peconic, and at daylight of the 12th she got under way. We landed the working parties at Botany Bay, and visited Otter Island, and landed the Otter Island working party at Saint Helena Village that night, near which place they were to get timber for the tower, their being none on Otter Island. The party for Saint