force of the United States was commenced. The Signal Corps of the Army having been organized by an act of Congress-which in some of its provisions had a view to permanency, but gave to the corps only an organization for the term of the rebellion-war, by various orders from the War Department, materially reduced, until all that portion of it on duty east of the Mississippi River was mustered out and discharged.
There now remain the detachment in the Military Division of the Mississippi, numbering 9 offices, 2 non-commissioned officers, and 35 enlisted men, and the detachment in the Military Division of the Gulf, numbering 15 officers, 13 non-commissioned officers, and 86 enlisted men. These detachments are operating with the troops upon the plains, and throughout Texas, and along the Southwestern boundary.
OFFICE OF THE SIGNAL OFFICER.
The office of the Signal Officer is three-fold in its character. It is, first, the headquarters of the corps, where the records are collected, completed, and filed, and has advisory superintendence and control of the special duties of the corps, and of all assignments of officers and men to signal duty; second, a purchasing and disbursing office, from which supplies of signal stores and equipments are issued to the various detachments of the corps in the field; third, an office for the examining of the signal accounts and returns of signal stores of all officers responsible to Government for such property.
Connected with this office are two clerks of "class two," to wit, Messrs. Simon White and Alexander Ashley, appointed in 1863. To the ability and faithful exertions of these persons is owing much of the degree of system and perfection attained in the records of the office.
There were expended during the year ending September 30, 1865, of the sums appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1865, $8,537.06, leaving a balance which, added to that yet remaining of former appropriations and to the amount appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1866, makes the sum of $248,062 still available.
Having thus given a general view of the corps, its strength, duties, and expenses, I propose, without entering into a detailed statement of the constant and various act of service performed, which were part and parcel of every battle fought and campaign made during the year, and which played in each a more or less important function, to merely place upon record, through the War Department, several instances where the operations of the corps were of such vital importance that all who read must acknowledge that the Signal Corps was a valuable adjunct to the Army, and rendered such material service in the great contest just closed that its members can view with pride and infinite self- satisfaction a substantial record, made in the face of the difficulties that usually attend the introduction of a new element into any old-established system.
The first instance of the kind referred to which I shall mention occurred in October, 1864, and just previous to the commencement of the great campaign of General Sherman from the northern part of