War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0694 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Washington, November 30, 1861.


Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following summary report of signal operations, together with estimate for signal supplies for the proper equipment of the Army of the United States for the period ending June 30, 1861 [1863]. A report in detail, accompanied by official documents, will be laid before the Secretary of War as soon as is practicable. The pressure of other duties will prohibit the preparation of this report before the session of Congress.

At the breaking out of the existing rebellion the Navajo campaign had just terminated. Military signals were in frequent use with the troops operating in the Navajo country in the winter of 1860- 61, and were used under almost all circumstances of location with expeditions in the Rocky Mountains. They were also used in the vicinity of Santa Fe.

Of the character and success of this use the official reports of Lieutenant Colonel E. R. S. Canby, commanding the Navajo expedition; of Colonel Th. T. Fauntleroy, commanding the Department of New Mexico, and of Colonel Loring, who afterward commanded the same department, afford perhaps the best commentary. These reports were duly submitted through the Adjutant-General of the Army.

The signal officer was relieved from duty in the Department of New Mexico on May 6, 1861. On June 10, 1861, the organization and instruction of a signal party was commenced at Fortress Monroe. On June 25 Fortress Monroe and the detached post of Newport News were put in communication by signals and permanent signal parties were stationed at each. The parties are still retained upon their stations. Signals were used in Hampton Roads to report the range of shells fired from the Rip Raps upon the enemy's battery at Sewell's Ppoint. Signals were successfully employed upon several minor occasions.

On July 17, 1861, I was ordered to report to General McDowell, then commanding the Department of Northeastern Virginia. I reported to General McDowell at Centerville July 21, 1861. On July 22, 1861, I returned to Washington. August 17, 1861, I was assigned to duty as a member of the staff of Major-General McClellan, then commanding the Division of the Potomac. On the same day I was ordered in instructions from the War Department to open signal communications between the headquarters of Generals Banks and Stone and the troops at and near Washington.

There was at that time attached to the Army of the Potomac besides myself but one instructed signal officer. There were no signal stores. Two other officers were summoned from Fortress Monroe. On August 26 the party arrived at General Banks' headquarters, then at Hyattstown. On August 28 signal communication was opened between his headquarters and those of General Stone, then at Poolesville. Signal parties were on the same day formed for instruction at the headquarters of the generals mentioned. On August 30 the signal camp of instruction was established at Georgetown.

Observatory stations were opened as fast as officers were fitted to occupy them. These stations have been extended as occasion has been given. They have been worked from Maryland Heights to Georgetown, and at a few hours' notice they can be opened from below Fort Washington to Maryland Heights. The whole of Virginia opposite to our