I had taken particular care while in Camp of Instruction to give the whole party careful instructions in all the different codes, and I felt great confidence in our ability to perform efficient service. The only consideration which tended to weaken this confidence was the small number of officers. I could not but aware that in case our operations extended over a large field the party from no fault of its own would prove inefficient.
The first intimation we had of the approach of an enemy was on Sunday morning, July 3. Firing began in the direction of Martinsburg at 4 a. m., and continued without intermission until 9 a. m. O immediately telegraphed to General Sigel's adjutant-general, informing him oh the presence of the signal corps at this place, and offered to open communication between Maryland Heights and Martinsburg in case the lines were cut, as there was every probability they would be. I received a telegram in reply thanking me for the offer, but stating that it would be unnecessary, as Martinsburg was being evacuated and our army on the retreat to Shepherdstown.
Our stations this day connected General Weber's headquarters with Maryland Heights and Fort Duncan, the headquarters of Major Merriam, commanding on the Maryland side. All communication between these points passed through our hands. I took charge of the station at Fort Duncan, as it was the most difficult one, and commanded a fine view of each of the other stations. Lieutenant Kennedy, of Maryland Heights, was instructed to report all movements of troops in this direction, and also the progress of our army on the retreat to Shepherdstown. This comprised our operations for the day.
On the morning of the 4th, at a. m., having been notified by Lieutenant Kennedy of the arrival of our army at Shepherdstown, I again suggested the plan of connecting General Sigel's and General Weber's headquarters by signals. The officer as before was declined, our army being again on the retreat to Harper's Ferry. At 8 a. m. I signaled to General Weber the approach of a large force from Charlestown toward Harper's Ferry. This information was the first given, and preceded the attack by least an hour. Our pickets on the Virginia side were immediately notified, but notwithstanding the time given for preparation, retreated disgracefully into the Ferry, leading Bolivar Heights in possession of the enemy.
This retreat left the station at General Weber's headquarters only a few yards behind the skirmish line, but notwithstanding this, Acting Sergeant Franklin worked continually during the day with great accuracy and coolness, nor did he withdraw until ordered by General Weber in person to cross to the Maryland side.
The stations this day remained as on the previous day, and for a summary of our services I would respectfully refer you to the messages transmitted, which will be found among those herewith inclosed. At 9 p. m. this day, General Sigel arrived.
On Tuesday, the 5th, our forces were all massed on the Maryland side, extending from Fort Duncan to Maryland Heights. General Sigel's headquarters were near the center of the line, and in compliance with his request a station was located there, communicating with either flank. The great difficulty in ascending the heights on each side rendered those stations of vast importance, as may be seen by our record for July 5. At noon this day I began to suspect, from the few reports received from Lieutenant Kennedy, that he was not keeping as close a watch upon the movements of the enemy as might