July 20, 1864, I received orders from Colonel Anson Stager, chief of Military Telegraphs, to proceed to New Orleans, La., and relieve Captain C. S. Bulkley, assistant quartermaster and assistant superintendent of Military Telegraphs, in the Military Division of West Mississippi. After transferring the portions of line unders my charge lying in the District of Cairo to Captain S. Bruch, of Louisville, Ky., and three days at home on leave, I proceeded to New Orleans, and received the transfer from Captain Bulkley on the 1st day of August, 1864. During the month of August, 1864, by order of Major-General Washburn, a line of telegraph was constructed from Grand Junction, Tenn., to Abbeville, Miss., forty-five miles; about half of the poles of an old line were used, and all new wire.
September 5 received an order from Major-General Canby to lay a submarine cable between Forts Morgan and Gaines, Mobile Bay. September 8 left New Orleans in person with the cable. September 11 succeeded in laying the cable between Forts Morgan and Gaines, using 23,530 feet of Numbers 9 iron wire cable, galvanized armor. During the month of September General Washburn's forces fell back from Abbeville, Miss., toward Memphis, abandoning the lines from Abbeville to Grand Junction, and from Saulsbury, Tenn., to White's Station, Tenn. Ninety-seven miles of wire was lost, it being operated until the last moment, and Forrest's forces advancing as fast as General Washburn's fell back.
In October, 1864, constructed a line from Fort Morgan, Ala., to Pilot Town, Ala., four miles. The submarine cable across Pass Chef Menteur, at Fort Macomb, La., failed and could not be resuscitated. A new cable 800 feet long was laid.
In November, 1864, constructed a line from headquarters, Memphis, Tenn., to outpost stations, five miles; repaired the New Orleans and Fort Pike line, putting up a large number of new poles, and abandoned the line from White's Station to Memphis, Tenn.; also received orders from Major-General Canby to survey a route for a telegraph line from New Orleans to Ship island, and thence to Forts Gaines and Morgan, Mobile Bay; made the survey in person on tug Blossom.
December 6, 1864, made report to General Canby that the route for a line from New Orleans to Ship Island and Fort Morgan could be made available for temporary purposes, but was too difficult a route for a permanent line; that it would require eleven submarine crossings between New Orleans and Ship Island, over twenty-three miles in length in all.
December 9 received orders from General Canby to proceed with the construction of the line from New Orleans to Ship Island. Constructed a loop in Baton Rouge line to Plaquemine, La., ten miles long, and laid 150 feet of cable across Taliaferro Canal, on Balize line.
December 15 received twenty miles of "Red Sea" submarine cable, but was unable to pass a current through it. After testing it in about a dozen places the imperfect spot was discovered. No sign of imperfection could be seen in the armor wires, but the conductor was parted very little progress was made upon the Ship Island lien during December for want of water transportation.
In January, 1865, reconstructed the line from Memphis, Tenn., to Collierville, Tenn., twenty-four miles, and abandoned it again after a few days" operations, by order of General Washburn.
January 7 the cable between Forts Morgan and Gaines was broken by a dark dragging her anchors over it in a gale.