Georgia to the sea-coast. That great leader, whose military genius never allowed him to overlook any visible means to aid in securing success, or guard against any and all possible occurrences to endanger his plans, in whatever enterprise undertaken, seeing the liability of his telegraph wires communicating with his depot of supplies at Allatoona being cut, he established in addition a line of signal communication through which he afterward, when the enemy obtained a lodgment in his rear and cut his telegraph wires, as was foreseen, transmitted his orders and instructions that saved from capture Allatoona, its garrison, and stores of supplies, the value of which at that time and place cannot be computed, as without them it can well be doubted whether the great campaign, which exposed the great weakness of the enemy and propagated the seeds of the coming dissolution of the rebellion, could have been executed for months later. In connection with this transaction General Sherman states:
In several instances this corps (Signal Corps) has transmitted orders and brought me information of the greatest importance that could not have reached me in any other way. I will instance one most remarkable case. When the enemy had cut our wires and actually made a lodgment on our railroad about Big Shanty, the signal officers on Vining's Hill, Kenesaw, and Allatoona sent my orders to General Corse at Rome, whereby General Corse was enabled to reach Allatoona just in time to defend it. Had it not been for the services of this corps on that occasion I am satisfied we should have lost the garrison at Allatoona and a most valuable depository of provisions there, which was worth at Allatoona and a most valuable depository of provisions there, which was worth to us and the country more than the aggregate expense of the whole Signal Corps for one year.
This will serve to evince the important character of the services of the corps at times when operating with the army alone. The following account will demonstrate its eminent usefulness win conjunction. In the expedition organized to attack Fort Fisher in the month of January of this year, an army signal officer was with Admiral Porter, commanding the feet, and others with General Terry, commanding the land forces, who by means of signals placed these commanding officers in such immediate communication that the fire of the navy, which otherwise must have slackened after the assault commenced upon the part of the army, was kept up without cessation as the enemy was driven from traverse to traverse. In this connection Admiral Porter, in a communication to the Secretary of the Navy, which induced the latter to tender the thanks of the Navy Department to the War Department for this efficient agency, states:
Through Mr. Clemens (signal officer) I was in constant communication with General Terry, even during the assault on Fort Fisher, and was enabled to direct the fire of the New Ironside to the traverses occupied by the enemy, without fear of hurting our own people, from my complete reliance on him.
Thus, through this mobile system of visual telegraphing, the army and navy are made to act as a unit. During the war there were more forcible instances of this kind than the above, when, in most important crises, it would have been impossible for the navy to have rendered the necessary assistance save through the aid of army signals, by means of which its fire was directed to unseen points with almost as much facility and certainly as could have been done if the gunners would have had the object of their aim in view. I would also state here that improvements were made during the year in the simple cipher apparatus used by the corps in sending secret messages which, if they did not absolutely defy deciphering, were of such an intricate and complex character that messages sent thereby cannot