make communication easy and certain. It now takes about thirty minutes, under ordinary circumstances, to transmit a message of ten words from headquarters to Hilton Head, but with these improvements the time would be reduced to twenty or perhaps fifteen minutes, and it would relieve, for other duty, 2 officers and dispense with the use of 8 miles of wire, with the operators and men to keep in it repair.
There were many unforeseen and unavoidable and difficulties to overcome, which were entirely new, but I think the success of the communication is to longer doubtful. There appears to be a wide discrepancy between the distance marked on the chart by which I arranged my plans and the actual distance.
Lieutenant F. L. Morill, Third New Hampshire Volunteers, and acting signal officer, deserves mention for the efficiency displayed by him in working the station at Big Bay Island. He remained there, alone, six weeks, his men imperfectly armed and without a boat, depending solely on fighting if attacked, no matter by what numbers, and picketed by a force from the Fifty-fifth massachusetts, whom he frequently found asleep on post, and passed in the night repeatedly without being challenged by the pickets. Certainly he has not been molested, but it required some nerve to take a station so undefended, and practically in the enemy's country, and make it conspicuous by signals so as to tempt the enemy to attack it. Captain [John C.] Dutch, of the U. S. bark Kingfisher, lying at Otter Island, and his executive officer, Mr. [Stephen W.] Rhoades, rendered much service in the constructions of the tower on Otter Island by sending men on shore to assist, and furnishing means and appliances when needed. Mr. Rhoades several times went on shore with a party of sailors to assist in hostining and securing timbers, and getting material ashore. Captain Dutch also furnished us a pilot for the inland waters.
* * * * * * *
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANKLIN E. TOWN,
First Lieutenant 42nd New York Vols., and Chief Sig. Officer, D. S.
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff.
Numbers 4. Reports of General G. T. Beauregard, C. S. Army, commanding Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, with thanks of Confederate Congress.*
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., June 15, 1863.
GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th was duly received, and partially answered by my telegram of the 13th instant.+ It is now my place to reply by mail at some length.
I am advised in the letter in question, that "Northern papers report the reduction of Hunter's forces sending troops to the Gulf," in which event I am instructed to proceed to mobile "with such force
* See also Beauregard's correspondence with the Richmond authorities, p. 57.
+ See "Confederate Correspondence, etc.," Part II.