In pursuance of Special Orders, Numbers 112, Chief Signal Officer, Signal Office, Washington, D. C., dated July 16, 1863, I proceeded to New York City, and assumed charge of two signal telegraph trains.
July 21.- I obtained transportation per Quartermaster's Department, per steam Fulton, which sailed for Hilton Head, and left New York City on the 23rd instant. I arrived at Port Royal, July 27, and reported to Lieutenant Town, chief signal officer of department. The officers being on duty at Morris Island, it was deemed impracticable to relieve them for the purpose of reporting at Port Royal for instruction. Owing to this reason, I removed the trains to Morris Island. I met with some delay, and finally succeeded in accomplishing this object, July 31. The difficulty was mainly inability to procure direct transportation. I reported to General Gillmore, who expressed himself highly pleased, and desired that the trains might be put in immediate use at the earliest moment practicable.
July 31.- I commenced a course of instruction to Lieutenants Dana and Cross.
On the 1st and 2nd days of August I consumed daily eight hours instructing the above-named officers, and at 7 p. m. on the 2nd instant, by written request of Lieutenant Town, approved by General Gillmore, I commenced running a line from headquarters to the advanced works in front of Fort Wagner, a distance of 3 miles. The last mile was run out under a very heavy fire from Forts Johnson, Gregg, and Wagner.
At 11.30 p. m. I succeeded in placing the instrument in the splinter-proof, and opened communications with headquarters.
August 4.- At the request of General Gillmore, I endeavored to use a cable of the American Telegraph Company across Light-House Inlet, but from an escape which was so great that it could not be worked with any degree of certainty, I abandoned it until a new cable could be obtained.
August 5.- At midnight I commenced running a second line from Light-House Inlet to Stono, using 7 miles of wire. About 5 miles of this wire is laid upon the marsh and is submerged at high tide. The remainder is conducted upon lances or suspended on trees. The object of running in the manner specified was to render protection to the wire as far as possible and to prevent its being tampered with, thus avoiding the necessity of using a guard to carry out this purpose.
August 6.- At 6 p. m. I completed the line and opened communication. This line failed to work for about an hour at high tide, on account of an escape int he submerged part. I caused this to be repaired, and the line worked well. The next day, some 50 feet of the line was cut by a picket of our own troops (through ignorance). By order of Brigadier-General Vogdes, the whole picket was arrested and since that time (some two weeks) the line has met with no interruption.
The importance of this line is obvious, as it connects headquarters in the field with the quartermaster's department at Stono Inlet. A portion of the line to the front is within range of the enemy's sharpshooters, who have used every means to effect its destruction, and succeeded twice in cutting it. Communication has ceased also twice from accidental causes, by shells from Forts Johnson and Gregg.
On the night of August 16, a shell from Fort Johnson struck the splinter-proof in which the instrument was placed, tearing off the