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on the mountain, and assisted Lieutenant Owen in receiving messages during the morning. In the afternoon I went out to Lieutenants Kendall and L. Pierce, on the extreme left, to assist in selecting a point trom which we could communicate to headquarters; found that it was impossible to communicate direct, and therefore called the station On Elk Mountain, and through it opened communication from a point near General Burnside's position with the station at said headquarters. Lieutenants Pierce and Barrett were directed to go to the front, on the west side of the Antietam, and open communication with headquarters, which was successfully accomplished, and reported by them to the generals commanding troops in that vicinity. Lieutenants Wicker and Clark were also directed to take position in a certain field beyond the position selected by Lieutenants Pierce and Barrett. They arrived at the designated place, opened communication with Lieutenant Wilson at headquarters, but shortly afterward, our line being driven back at that point, their flag disappeared, and when next heard from they were somewhere beyond Lieutenant Hill's position. Lieutenant Clark states in his report that this to us unaccountable change of position was contrary to his understanding of instructions received, but he was overruled by Lieutenant Wicker's idea of what their instructions were, and thus yielded to the change. Lieutenants Wilson and Owen were afterward directed to take the position thus left vacant, which they did, and bravely held it until the enemy retreated. Lieutenants Taylor and Stone, having charge of that part of Headquarters station communicating with the stations on the west side of the Antietam, were very prompt and attentive to all calls given. After Lieutenant Owen was ordered to the other side of the Antietam, Lieutenant Stryker was left in charge of the one branch of Headquarters station, and, with the exception of several intervals, remained during the two succeeding days, almost constantly employed in receiving mesSages from the station on Elk Mountain. I would here take the opportunity of stating that the officers at this station, which was during the 17th and 18th a most important one, were undivided in their attention to their duties, answering calls promptly, and reading, with few exceptions, with good success. During the day the officers from the stations along the road pursued during the advance of the army reported at Headquarters station, they having been called in for other duties, by an order that directed Lieutenants Dinsmore and Adams to establish a station in the vicinity of Frederick, open communication with the station on Sugar Loaf Mountain, and send forward by telegraph all reports received. The station on Elk Mountain, manned by Lieuteuants Gloskoski and Camp, sent many important messages during the day. In the afternoon, you being present on the mountain in person, we had the benefit of your own observations. At the approach of night the wearied armies ceased their strife, and for the time the battle was over. About 8 o'clock p. m. I returned to camp to attend to duties relating to the necessaries and comforts of my command. In the morning, expecting the battle to be renewed, 6 o'clock found me at the Headquarters station. During the morning a continued stream of messages flowed from the mountain stations, and were received by Lieutenant Paine and myself, Lieutenant Stryker having accompanied Lieutenants Wicker and L. Pierce, who were stationed on the left, near General Burnside's position, the other stations remaining as they were the day previous, Lieutenant Stryker having returned from the left and Lieutenant Paine receiving the messages from the mountain during the day, Lieutenants Kendall and Hebrew relieving them in the evening.
No attack was made by either army, both apparently gathering renewed strength for the battle we all felt must come. The night passed, and from the station on the mountain we learned next morning that the enemy had fallen back from Sharpsburg to the south bank of the Potomac. With Lieutenants Daniels, Fralick, Carey, Hebrew, and Horner, I joined the advancing cavalry, and opened communication from a position near, where a few hours afterward General Porter located his headquarters. Leaving the station in the charge of Lieutenants Hebrew and Horner, and sending Lieutenants Fralick and Daniels to Maryland Heights, I accompanied, by request, General Porter to the bank of the river, and received instructions that, as a battery would be quietly placed in position back of a hill, I should prepare my officers to direct the fire of the battery from my position on the bank of the river. I chose to take part myself in preference to sending others, and having been joined by Lieutenant Owen, I sent him to the battery while I resumed the forward position, where we remained during the entire afternoon, signaling the effect of the several shots as the battery played upon the opposite bank.
Saturday, September 20, communication was established with Maryland Heights, which has since been kept open from various points. Headquarters having moved forward, Lieutenants Stone and Taylor broke up their stations and established them near the new location. After which, changes were made which will be best understood by giving you a detailed account of the present disposition of the detachment. Commencing with the right, we have at Fairview Lieutenants Rowley and Roe, with instructions to send by signals to Hagerstown reports of observations made, to be received by Lieutenant Spencer and forwarded by telegraph to Major-General McClellan. Near Downsville are Lieutenants Denicke and Clark, communicating with the Headquarters station, through the station on Elk Mountain, at which latter station are Lieutenants Jerome, E. Pierce, and Owen. On the mountain, just east of headquarters, present camp, are Lieutenants Wicker and L. Pierce. At Headquarters station are Lieutenants Stone and Taylor, communicating with stations on the right, and Lieutenants Kendall and Gloskoski, communicating with stations on the left. On Maryland Heights are stationed Lieutenants Daniels and Hall. On Bolivar Heights, with General Sumner, are Lieutenants Hilland Brooks. On Loudoun Heights, with General Greene, are Lieutenants Halsted and Camp. On Sugar Loaf Mountain are Lieutenants Hebrew, Yates, and Carey, communicating with Lieutenants Dinsmore and Adams at Frederick, the two latter forwarding reports by telegraph. Lieutenant Harvey is on special duty, per order.
Lieutenants Fralick, Barrett, and Wilson are sick, the two latter not seriously. . In camp are Captain Fortescue, and Lieutenants Horner, Paine, and Collin. Many of the officers need equipments, and are anx. iously awaiting the arrival of Lieut. L. B. Norton, in order to thoroughly prepare the party for another campaign, if called upon during the fall. I look forward to better success and more pleasant duties hereafter. The officers, gathered from different divisions of the army, and not accustomed to each other's mode of working, have become somewhat acquainted during the present campaign, and it can be expected that there will be an understanding and more harmony in the manner of communication.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Maj. A. J. MYER,
Report of Capt. Paul Babcock, Seventh New Jersey Infantry, Acting Sig. nal Officer, U. S. Army, of operations October 17–November 6.
HEADQUARTERs FIFTH ARMY CORPs,
LIEUTENANT: In obedience to orders from the Chief Signal Officer, Army of the Potomac, I have the honor to make the following report:
On the 17th October I reported to Major-General Porter, at Sharps. burg, Md., Lieut. Thomas R. Clark and 4 men being with me ready for duty. General Porter immediately informed me of two points with which he desired communication, viz, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, and a point on the Potomac River overlooking a ford, over which he hourly expected a division of his troops. I immediately told him but ore of the communications could be established that night, as there were but two officers in my party. Twenty-five minutes after his decision which to do, communication was established between his headquarters and the point indicated. Fifteen messages passed between the two points up to the time when Lieutenant Clark reported the division approaching the ford in good order, and no signs of any enemy. Upon receipt of this message, the general pronounced the station no longer necessary, and Lieutenant Clark came into camp. Early next morning (October 18) we opened with the station at White House, thus connecting General Porter with general headquarters. From this date to October 28 (the day on which you request a full report to commence), we kept General Porter in uninterrupted communication with the White House station, on Elk Mountain, the station of observation on Maryland Heights, and through it with headquarters Army of the Potomac, constantly receiving from Lieutenants Pierce and Fuller at one and Lieutenants Hall and Taylor at the other full and accurate reports of the positions and movements of the enemy, often in advance of any other, and generally confirmatory of that received from other sources. These reports seemed of great importance to the general, and he seemed much pleased with the facility and accuracy with which they were obtained. In addition to the foregoing, we frequently took observations from the river bank, and reported to General Porter the apparent position, force, &c., of the enemy opposite. On one occasion, Lieutenant Clark made such a report, upon which the general sent over and captured some 10 or 12 of their pickets. From October 28 to 30 we continued as before, and, I believe, to General Porter's entire satisfaction. October 30, at 3.30 p.m., we broke up camp and followed General Porter to Pleasant Valley, almost directly under the Maryland Heights station. Here we tried- to communicate with Maryland Heights, but all our efforts were fruitless. Rockets and red lights were burned, and the torches swung from 7 to 11.30 p.m., and within 3 miles of the station, but no answer could be gotten. Fortunately we were not called upon that night to send any messages. Next morning, October 31, we moved with the general, and encamped at Sandy Hook, within 23 miles of Maryland Heights station. We immediately proceeded to open with them, and tied both large flags to the long pole, swinging for two hours without an answer, when I sent a man up to notify them of our position. They then saw us with naked eyes. At their request, we read their reports to General McClellan and gave them to General Porter. These reports were very full and important, and reflected great credit on Lieutenants Hall and Taylor.
November 1, left Sandy Hook, crossed the Potomac, and marched to Neersville, Va., having requested Maryland Heights to look for us in that direction. Eighteen minutes after reaching Neersville we were in communication with Maryland Heights, and through them to General McClellan's headquarters. This instance of prompt opening of com. munication was entirely due to the vigilant watch kept up by Lieutenants Hall and Taylor. All that night and the next morning, up to the very minute of starting off, were employed in sending and receiving mes. sages of great importance, eighteen lengthy messages passing between us during the night and morning. November 2, started one hour after the general; overtook him on the road, and reached Snicker's Gap while the enemy were threatening it. On the road the day before, Lieutenants Pierce and Fuller joined me, having been sent for by General Porter at my request. Their presence enabled me to accomplish that which the general indicated immediately on arriving at Snicker's Gap, viz, the establishing of two stations, one at or near the front, connecting it with his headquarters. No sooner was this done than it was put in use by General Hancock, commanding the forces which held the gap, in communicating with Generals Couch and Porter. No fight occurred, but the stations were well placed to be of use in case of an attack, and did good service in facilitating the transmittal of orders and information for the arrangement and disposition of our forces. The position at the gap was also a good one to see or be seen by any station on Short Mountain or up the valley, where we thought stations would be placed. November 3, we continued these two stations, and kept one officer seeking good points from which to observe enemy's position and movements, full reports of which were immediately sent to the general. At 12 m. Captain Fisher visited us and expressed himself entirely satisfied with what we had done. At 9 p.m. the mountain station was discontinued for the night, as Lieutenants Clark and Fuller had succeeded in finding general headquarters from their station at General Porter's headquarters, through Lieutenants Yates and Hebrew, who had been sent by the Chief Signal Officer to an intermediate point. This communication was kept up through the entire might and next day (November 4), up to about 2 p.m., and constantly used by General Porter in communicating important information to General McClellan, when it was suddenly destroyed by the breaking up of a station at Bloomfield, leaving several very important messages half way over the line, and several more at General Porter's headquarters waiting to be sent. In the morning of November 4 we reopened the mountain station as one of observation, and also to endeavor to open with a station on Short Mountain. In reporting observations it was quite useful, but we did not succeed in attracting Short Mountain, although a man was sent there to notify them where we were. November 5 we were still unable to reopen with headquarters. November 6, at 4 a.m., we started on the march and reached White Plains at 6 p.m., having seen during the day Lieutenants Brooks and Stone, Yates and Hebrew, all of whom were advised to report to headquarters Signal Corps immediately. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, P. BABCOCK, JR., Captain Seventh N. J. Volunteers, and Acting Signal Officer.
Lieut. WILLIAM. S. STRY KER.
HEADQUARTERs FIFTH ARMY CoRPs,
From the moment Captain Babcock and his party joined me near Sharpsburg to the present time, the party has been actively, energetically, and in many cases perseveringly engaged in opening communication with general headquarters and other points of observation, and has been of the best service to me and the corps. His difficulties are expressed in the within communication of Captain Babcock, and also his labors to some extent. Wherever there was a failure to communicate with general headquarters, it was not due to any want of exertion of Captain Babcock or his party, which was ever ready for duty and watchful at all hours.
If it were in the power of the commanding general to provide signal parties at each corps headquarters, the value of the system would be more highly appreciated and their presence always desired, if they work as faithfully and intelligently as Captain Babcock and his party. Their services at the present time, when there are so many prominent points of observation, are especially valuable in aiding communication with different points of the army, and inestimable in case of a general action.
F. J. PORTER, Major-General, Commanding.
Report of First Lieut. Peter A. Taylor, Forty-ninth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, U. S. Army, of operations September 11–30.
SIGNAL STATION, GENERAL HEADQUARTERs,
CAPTAIN : I have the honor to submit the following report of signal duty in the month of September, 1862:
SEPTEMBER 11.—(At Poolesville Station, Md.) To Major MYER: We occupy Sugar Loaf. FISHER AND OTHERS. (Received.) To General McCLELLAN, from Sugar Loaf: We see two regiments of cavalry near Frederick. No other signs of enemy in Maryland. Opposite Point of Rocks is a large force encamped. HALL.
(Sent.) SEPTEMBER 12. To B. F. FISHER: Headquarters are at Middleburg. All right. Report any movement of enemy to ward Frederick and Leesburg. Major MYER.
To Lieutenants BRooks and TAYLOR:
You will go to Urbana immediately. FISHER.