War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0952 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

In the movements of the enemy last spring on the Nansemond, in the Department of Virginia, a detachment served continuously with our forces.

In North Carolina a detachment of the corps has served in all great operations since the attack on Roanoke Island.

Since the last annual report the market service of this detachment has been in the movement on Goldsborough, in the attack by the enemy on the fort opposite New Berne, and prominently when General Foster, besieged at Washington, he enemy's batteries from other direct communication with the relieving gun-boats.

In the Department of the South the officers of the corps have served in almost every engagement since the occupancy of Port Royal, their services culminating in those rendered in the expedition against Charleston, and those at the existing siege of that city, in which, for the now hundred days of its continuance, the service of the corps in all its branches-the use of the field telegraph lines in the trenches, its communication with the naval forces, and its duties of observation and report from towers and lookouts-afford an example of what the duty ought to be everywhere, and of the efficiency to which the corps can be brought when its officers are supported by that official confidence which is their right.

In the Departments of the Gulf the corps has served since soon after the first occupancy of New Orleans by General Butler. A detachment now accompanies the forces of General Banks in the pending movements in Louisiana. These officers opened the first direct communication from the Upper with the Lower Mississippi, when Rear-Admiral Farragut, running past the batteries of Port Hudson, found himself, after the perilous passage, cut of above that fortress from the vessels of his fleet, which could not follow him and were lying in the stream below.

There is not, perhaps, on record a feat of aerial telegraphy such as that thus and then performed, when from the topmast of the flag-ship of the admiral, lying above the fort, messages were regularly transmitted past the guns of the fortress to a station on the mast-top of the war-vessel Richmond, five or six miles below. An official letter of Captain James Alden, commanding the naval forces near Baton Rouge, La., states that the value of this service at this juncture "can hardly be overestimated." This service, I believe, was also officially recognized by Admiral Farragut.

Through the prolonged siege of Port Hudson the co-operation of our land and naval forces was assured by this party. The reports are interesting.* They illustrate the signal service at this siege, the difficulties under which it was given, and its value.

In the Departments of the Tennessee a detachment of the corps has served in the past year since the first attack on Vicksburg and the subsequent attack against Arkansas Post. In the progress of the grand siege of Vicksburg the officers of this detachment -it being then just collected, and serving with all the disadvantages of an acting organization -rendered such aid as they could. They were stationed on the vessels of the fleet and with the troops at different points on the banks of the river. In the passages of the Vicksburg batteries by our steamers running the blockade signal officers were stationed on the vessels and shared the risk of the exploit.

When, in the movements turning Vicksburg, the Mississippi River was to be crossed by our army near Grant Gulf, the stations of the

---------------

* See Series I, Vol. XXVI, Part I, pp. 76-120.

---------------