War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0819 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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effected by War Department General Orders, Numbers 106, Adjutant- General's Office, April 28, 1863, and General Orders, Numbers 223, Adjutant-General's Office, July 17, 1863.

The first required a central board to be convened, to consist of five officers, the Signal Officer of the Army being a member, and two auxiliary boards, a signal officer with the rank of major being on each.

The second order amended the first and directed that auxiliary boards should be convened in the Department of North Carolina, the South, the Gulf, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, one member of which should be a captain, previously examined and approved by the central board. All the acting signal officers of the Army of the Potomac, Middle Department, Departments of Washington and Virginia, and a few others were examined by the central board. The remainder of the acting signal officers, with several exceptions to be noticed hereafter, were examined by the auxiliary boards in their respective departments.

Candidates for appointment in the corps from other organizations and from citizen life were examined by an auxiliary board which convened at the 'Signal Camp of Instruction," Georgetown, D. C.

When the examination had been completed the central board was reconvened for the purpose of revising its own proceedings and those of the auxiliary boards, and grading the officers.

The Board labored indefatigably, and did all in its power to grade the officers according to merit and qualifications. But as the central (afterward revising) board and all the auxiliary boards were composed of entirely different material, with nothing in common except the studies in which the candidates were examined, there were no means of determining the comparative merit of the different examinations, and some injustice was committed.

There were twenty-three captains and sixty-one first lieutenants recommended, and, with few exceptions, appointed.

There were but twenty captains and forty first lieutenants commissioned. Those holding appointments for six months and longer to grades higher than those to which they were ultimately commissioned regarded the reduction in rank to which they had been subjected as a reflection upon them as officers and considered it their duty to resign.

From the cause above assigned there has been quite a number of resignations. The interests of the service require that the vacancies occasioned thereby be filled as soon as practicable. In filling these vacancies I would respectfully call attention to the claims of Captain William B. Roe, First Lieutenant Henry C. Dane, and Second Lieutenant John W. Dana, acting signal officers, who were entitled to examination, but were prevented from appearing before either of the several examining boards by the exigencies of the service. Captain Roe was ordered to appear at Washington for examination, but was detained in the Department of the Gulf by Major-General Banks.

While the auxiliary board in the Department of the Gulf was in session Lieutenants Dane and Dana were prisoners in the hands of the enemy.


From some cause unknown the course of instructions in signals at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point was no continued during the past year. This may have arisen from the fact that no signal