lines is for this distance, when desired, under the glasses of officers, who can report any movements of an enemy.
Fifty officers were detailed for signal duty with the Army of the Potomac. After due examination forty-two of these were instructed in signals. The signal party has been organized, equipped, and instructed for instant service in the field in a manner which has received the approbation of the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac.
A portion of these officers was detailed for and is employed upon the duties above mentioned. Seven officers with fourteen men were sent, in obedience to orders from the War Department, with the Expeditionary Corps under General T. W. Sherman. From official reports received from Port Royal, S. C., these officers seem to have rendered efficient and valuable service with the fleet upon this expedition, by the ease with which communication was held between the vessels, when at sea, between the vessels and the shore, when in harbor, or when disembarking troops.
In considering the service rendered with the fleet it ought to be borne in mind that the ordinary naval flag signals were used by officers of the Navy for communication, in addition to those methods of communication which came especially within the province of the acting signal officers of the Army.
The concurrent testimony of every general of the Army with whose troops signals have been used, and of every officer who has given to the subject the attention to examine it, has been, so far as I am informed, in favor of the continuance of the use and of its diffusion throughout the service with as much rapidity as may be practicable.
In no instance have the officers instructed failed to do everything it was promised they should do. In many instances they have by far excelled what was promised in their behalf.
In this view of the success attained I respectfully recommend that, with the concurrence of the General-in-Chief, steps be taken to render the use of signals in the service general.
First. That to this end the study and the practice of the use of approved signals and modes of telegraphic communication of whatever character be made a part of the course of instruction at the Military Academy of the United States at West Point.
This study, while eminently a branch of military knowledge, is so easy and need occupy so little time that its addition to the present course is readily practicable. Of the advantages to be derived from this addition the war of the Crimea and the conflicts of the present rebellion have afforded sufficient evidence.
Second. That for the forces now in the field to suppress the existing rebellion, officers be detailed to organize and instruct signal parties, or corps, with every army or corps of any army that is or may be in the service of the United States, the officers detailed and instructed for signal service to be equipped from supplies to be purchased by the signal officer of the Army and to be accountable to the United States through him for their equipment. These officers to serve after they shall have been instructed and equipped, as the general commanding may direct, either combined in parties, doing none but signal duty, as when an engagement is impending, or distributed to and serving with the regiments from which they may have been detailed; in this latter case the signal duty being incidental and in addition to the company duties.
A corps of signal officers is now instructed. These officers can be distributed as instructors. In three months from the day on which the