by the commanding general and a new one substituted which required me to a send a building party at once (August 25), with material, &c., to Helena, Ark., "for the purpose of building a telegraph line to such point in the rear of General Steele's column as he might direct."
The party arrived on the 6th of September and reported at once to Major-General Steele, and awaited orders.
On the 29th day of July a line was ordered from Bloomfield, Mo., to New Madrid, Mo., and a party sent at once to construct it, but before commencing the work the order was countermanded.
In October, 1863, under orders from Major-General Steele, the working party in Arkansas built a line of telegraph from Little Rock, Ark., to Devall's Bluff, forty-seven miles, on the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, and recovered a submarine cable across the Arkansas River at Little Rock.
The line in the southwest was also extended to Fort Smith, Ark., thus giving a continuous circuit from Saint Louis of 403 miles.
In the same month another party built a line from Sedalia, Mo., the western terminus of the Pacific Railroad, to Warrensburg, Mo., the headquarters of Brigadier-General Brown, thirty miles.
In November, 1863, my building party in Arkansas built a line from Little Rock to Pine Bluff, forty-five miles, and from Little Rock to Benton, twenty miles.
On the 23rd of November an order was received from Colonel Anson Stager informing me that Captain Robert C. Clowry, assistant quartermaster, was assigned to duty as assistant superintendent military telegraph at Little Rock, Ark., and directed to report to me for further orders. In consequence I transferred to him on the 2nd of December, 1863, 117 miles of telegraph line, branching from Little Rock to Pine Bluff, Devall's Bluff and Benton, respectively.
On the 13th of November, 1863, I received from the commanding general of this department an order directing me to procure with as little delay as possible material sufficient to construct a line of telegraph from Kansas City to Fort Scott, Kans.
The order being referred to the Secretary of War, was approved, and the work at once commenced.
In the same month I applied for and received permission from the commanding general to cut red cedar telegraph posts from Government land on the Meramec River, Southwest Missouri.
I accordingly cut and delivered on the several railroad lines leading from Saint Louis several thousand posts, which made a permanent and complete repair of our main and necessary military railroad lines.
In December, 1863, my working party at Fort Smith, in pursuance of an order I had received from the commanding general, commenced a line from that point toward Little Rock though a country infested with guerrillas. They constructed the line to Russellville, eighty-five miles, in eight days, and marched to Little Rock and returned via Mississippi River, arriving at Saint Louis in January, 1864.
In January, 1864, Major-General Curtis having assumed control of the Kansas Department, I reported to him by letter the condition of telegraph matters in his department, and received a reply which I inclose, marked A, giving certain orders, &c., which were at once reported to Colonel Anson Stager, chief assistant quartermaster and superintendent.
In this month all my men who were not otherwise engaged were put to work repairing the lines, and I extract the following from my line and cable report for that month.