War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0828 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

accuracy and coolness, nor did he withdraw until ordered by General Weber in person to cross to the Maryland side.

On the 5th Lieutenant Thayer reported that the enemy was moving troops and trains up the river on the Virginia side, crossing them into Maryland and moving down toward the Ferry, and predicted an attack from the Maryland side on the following morning. This prediction was fulfilled and called forth a personal acknowledgment from Major-General Sigel. Private W. H. Crawford was severely wounded on the 6th.

On the 9th Lieutenant Thayer was ordered to remain at Maryland Heights and watch Point of Rocks. He reported continually that no force was crossing at Point of Rocks, or had crossed; that the main body of the enemy was at or near Frederick. This information was completely confirmed at 8 p. m. by scouts, who returned from Middletown and reported the engagement between Generals Wallace and Early at Monocacy Junction.

The utility of signals was well proven on this occasion. For twelve hours Lieutenant Thayer's reports were directly opposed to all others. All other evidence represented the enemy at Point of Rocks, and yet he was subsequently found to be exactly where the signal observations and reports located him. (Appendix E, paper A.)*

Lieutenant Thayer has received high commendation from Major- General Couch. (Appendix C, paper Y.)*

Department of Kansas.-Major General S. R. Curtis having expressed a wish for a signal detachment to serve in this department, First Lieutenant C. M. Roberts was ordered to report to him for the purpose of organizing one. Under date of September 28 General Curtis writes:

The detachment has been partly organized and reported for duty, but the field service has not given any occasion for their exertions on the scale of their abilities.

The force being limited in this department, and great draft being made for other staff duties, I have not been able to detail officers for this service, as requested by Lieutenant Roberts.

The deportment of the detachment and the skill exhibited are satisfactory to me and commendable to the detachment. (Appendix C, paper K.)+

Department of West Virginia.-The detachment serving in this department at the engagement of Droop Mountain, November 6, 1863, did important service, Captain E. A. Denicke, chief signal officer, succeeding in using rockets for day signals by removing the parachute and placing in it stead a blank cartridge open at the lower end.

The latter part of March this department was reduced to four officers and forty-five enlisted men; Captain F. E. Town was made chief signal officer and proceeded to enlarge his party by new details. On April 30 this detachment numbered 13 officers and 161 enlisted men.

Under date of June 12 Captain Town reports that-

Officers have been kept with all detached parties, and at the advance of columns, to communicate with headquarters during marches, and stations of observation have been established during marches and at halts, and thus far our operations have met with the approval of the commanding general.

This detachment has continued to follow the fortunes of the army, doing whatever service was in its power. (Appendix C, papers B, M, T.)++

Casualties: One officer and 9 enlisted men taken prisoners.


*See Thayer's report, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part I, p. 180

+Omitted; contents substantially quoted herein.

++ See reports of Denicke and Town, Series I, Vols. XXIX, Part I, p. 508; XXXIII, p. 1026; XXXVII, Part I, p. 77.