of atmosphere makes a fog so tick as to prevent communication over a mile. This difficulty becomes less as the cold weather passes away, and will entirely disappear very soon. My plan was to work from Hilton Head to otter Island with only on intermediate station, and from Otter Island to Botany Bay with none.
It will be necessary to keep a station on Kiawah, as so much somke arises from camps there and on Folly Island as to render it impossible to see a station on Folly ISland from there.
I think a station between Otter and Botany Bay Islands will not be necessary after the winter is passed. We now communicate often from Botany Bay to Otter Island direct, but only in clear weather. When smokey they cannot communicate, but I think in the spring there will be few days when we cannot communiicate well.
My experience has suggested the following improvements, which, with the consent of the major-general commanding, I shall carry into execution:
First. To build the station at headquarters about 20 feet higher, whichwill make direct communication with Kiawha and save one repetition of messages.
Second. To move station at Big Bay to near Edingsville, which will divide the distance more equally between Botany Bay and Otter Islands and enable them to use smaller flags and work more rapidly.
The station on Saint Helena Island is built badly and proves to be in the wrong place. By Colonel Serrell's advise I took that place, he considering it to be on the best locaion and hight for distance, and as it had there large trees so growing as to make three conrers of the tower, which eh throught would save much time in building. The result shows that it took longer to build, is insecure after completion, and is about 3 miles out of the way.
I think a tower at Hilton Head would enable us to communicate with the present one on Saint Helena most of the time, but with a tower at Hilton Head and one at Saint Helena much smaller than the present one, located 3 miles nearly due south (say 10 degrees west of south) of it, would 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 those improvements the time would be reduced to twenty, or perhaps fifteen, minutes, and it would relive for other duty 2 officers and 12 men, and dispense with the use of 8 miles of wire, with the operators and men to keep it in repair.
There were many unforeseen and unavoidable delays and difficulties to overcome, which were entirely new, but I think the succeess of the communication is no longer doubtful. There appears to be a wide discrepancy between the distance marked on the chart by which I arranged my plan and the actual distances.
Lieutenant Frank L. Morrill, Third New Hampshire Volunteers, and acting signal officer, deserves mention for the efficienty displayed by him in working the station at Big Bay Island. He remained there six weeks alone, his men imp[erfectly armed,a nd 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 picket. Certainly he had 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.