OFFICE OF U. S. MILITARY TELEGRAPH,
Hilton Head, June 14, 1864.
It is impossible to supply operators for the within proposed telegraph without closing offices now in operation in this department. The cost of material would be about $2,200 for 65 miles. The material could be forwarded from this post, and the line erected at once. No dependence can be placed upon the line unless it should be protected along its whole length from injury by guerrillas. It is certain that if the enemy meditated movements which would require the concentration of our forces, his first attempted would be to cripple the telegraph is possible, and thus defeat the main object for which the line is required.
L. F. SHELDON,
Captain, Asst. Quartermaster and Inspector of Telegraph.
JUNE 16, 1864.
Respectfully referred back to Brigadier-General Birney, for information as to be protection he can give the line if built.
If the General Birney is satisfied upon this point, the material, &c., will be furnished by Captain Sheldon from these headquarters. The line, however, cannot be erected until operators can be obtained to work it.
J. G. FOSTER.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
June 20, 1864.
Operators can be supplied from the enlisted men now in this district. The line runs through ha part of the country entirely ours. I traverse it without a guard; single men and officers pass between this and Saint Augustine without apprehension. A loyal population is rapidly setting on the east side of the Saint John's. These men would promptly arrest any one from the rebel army. Our picket-boats and the gun-boats on the river make it a difficult matter for any to pass from the west to the east side of the Saint John's. On the whole, I consider the line as safe certainly as the one between New York and Philadelphia.
The aid of such a communication would be immense to the general commanding district in the ordinary administration. If the line cost $20,000 it should be made.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., June 9, 1864.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HATCH,
Commanding District of Hilton Head, Hilton Head, S. C.:
I am instructed by the major-general commanding to inform you that the camp of instruction for colored troops will be formed at