January 18, repaired the cable in person. Constructed line from Fort Macomb to Cat Island, forty-five miles. This line was built across marshes which overflow at high tide, and poles had to be rafted along the shore, water being too hallow for steamers. A very difficult line to construct.
In February, 1865, transferred the Memphis, Tenn., and outpost lines to Captain S. Bruch, assistant quartermaster, Louisville, Ky.; completed the land portion of line from ship Island across Horn Island, Petit Bois Island, Hurricane Island, and Dauphin Island, to Fort Gaines, forty-five miles, and laid the following submarine cables: Across Lake Borgne, nine miles in length; across Bayous Catharine, Biloxi, Little Cable, Dixon, False Bay, Nine-Mile Bayou, Boudreau, Three-Mile Bayou, Lagoon Jones, Grand Pass, Blind Bay, Johnson's, Dead Man's Bayou, and the pass between Isle du Pied and Cat Island, four miles and half in length, and between Cat and Ship Islands, six miles and a half; total, 23 miles 1,540 feet. The cable used was "Red Sea" cable for the long crossings, and cable prepared from old core at New Orleans, armored with worthless wire taken down from abandoned lines.
In March, 1865, extended line from Navy Cove, Mobile Bay, to Fish River, thirty-five miles, which was soon after abandoned, and a field line constructed between each headquarters, surrounding Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, fifteen miles. These liens were run with the pack-mule train, and did valuable service. Constructed a line from New Orleans to Hickox Landing, eight miles, and laid submarine cables from Ship Island to Horn Island, twelve miles, and from Horn Island to Peit Bois Island, four miles. This exhausted all the submarine cable on hand that could be made available. The laying of these cables was very much delayed by hard and continuous southeasterly gales, and the "Red Sea" cable proved too frail for the strong currents and quicksand of these island passes. In "dead" water, across Lake Borgne, it worked perfectly; and when first laid across the island passes it worked clear and fine, but the "three-day storms," such as frequent this coast, destroyed the cable ends with each recurrence in spite of all the wrappings and preventives that could be placed upon them with the means at hand. I risked the lives of myself and men several times in the surf in endeavoring to keep the cables in working order and make them perform the designated mission. I have the consciousness that everything was done that promised success to accomplish the work of keeping New Orleans and the army advancing up Mobile Bay in telegraphic communication, but the frail nature of the armor wires covering the "Rea Sea" cable and the action of the currents and quicksand in the island passes could not be overcome, no could the constant and severe southeasterly gales, which prevailed to a very unusual extent during this season, be avoided. To these causes alone can the slow progress of the work and final failure of the scheme be attributed.
The cable across the Mississippi River at New Orleans was destroyed this month by the sloop-of-war Portsmouth dragging her anchors across it.
In April, 1865, constructed a line from Mobile, Ala., to Spring Hill, eight miles, and repaired the line from Mobile to Spanish Fort, and from Mobile to Citronella, and took down the lines from Navy Cove to Fish River, and surrounding Forts Spanish and Blakely. Laid a new cable across the Mississippi River at New Orleans, which