PETERSBURG, VA., April 5, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant-General C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: In accordance with orders, I herewith most respectfully submit the first quarterly report of 1864, ending March 31, of the number, organization, and operations of the Independent Signal Corps, under my command: The First Company, commanded by Captain N. W. Small, consists of 4 commissioned officers, 9 non-commissioned officers, and 109 privates, making a line of signals from Drewry's Bluff to City Point, on the James River, thence via the Appomattox River to Petersburg, Va. The Second Company, commanded by Captain E. G. De Jarnette, consists of 4 commissioned officers, 9 non-commissioned officers, and 110 privates, forming a line of signals on the James River form Berkeley to Fort Boykin. The corps acts as pickets along the line of James and Appomattox River, and detachments under the command of reliable and efficient officers do scout duty within the lines of the enemy upon the lower James and Nansemond Rivers. Therefore, the Department will readily perceive that the whole duy of this corps is not confined to that of signals. It also often occurs that the posts on lower James are attacked by the enemy from their gun-boats, which so far have been successfully resisted, and invariably with loss to the enemy. The corps has never been regularly armed, and I would most respectfully call to the attention of the Department the fact that my repeated efforts to have it armed have so far been unavailing. We are sadly in need of arms of a uniform caliber, and Imost truly hope I may be gratified in yet meeting with success. On thenight of the 24th of January the enemy, with three gun-boats and ne transport, came up the James River and landed a large force at Brandon under coverof darkenss and the opposite shore. Post K was in communication with Post I, back of Brandon, sending on a message. At about 7.30 a. m. on the 25th of January a detachment of the enemy, numbering about 200, were seen emerging from the woods in the rear of Station I, a short distance off, at a double quick. At the time Sergeant Joiner and Private Cartwright were at the glass taking a message from K, north side of James River; Private Marks on the waving stand, sending it on to Post G. Upon discovering the enemy Marks immediately gave the alarm, jmped from the platform, and made good his escape. Sergeant Joiner only had time to conceal the record book when the house was entirely surrounded and all at he post taken, with the exception of Marks, Ruffin, and Kuykendal; the latter two absent on leave. Lieutenant Forbes, commanding the district, only escaped capture by being absent visiting his post at headquarters. Lieutenant Mapp, commanding the Swynyard district, north side of James River, promptly sent over two men from his district, and connection was broken but about one hour.
The negro blacksmith at Brandon was secured as a guide by the enemy, who, by a circuitous route, guided them to the rear of the station. Had the picket, which it was customary to have kept at Brandon, been at his post, the occurrence would not have happened; but this picket was removed upon application of Doctor Richie, residing at Brandon, to General Jenkins. Post I was an isolated post upon the farm of Doctor Orsborn, with no view of the river but that of continuity with Post K on the north side of james River. The approach of the fleet was duly announced ascending the river by courier to Ivor, thence to Petersburg by telegraph; also by signals. The enemy, after accomplishing their designs, made a hasty retreat with their booty, taking Doctor Richie and his overseers prisoners. The scouts on
54 R R-VOL LI, PT II