Today in History:

48 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 48 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

our second parallel near Wagner. We started from headquarters at 6 p. m., and at 11 o'clock the line was opened and worked satisfactorily.

We were compelled to leave our wagons at the Bacon House, and proceeded the rest of the distance by land. This line worked with perfect success during the whole of our operations, the only interruptions occupying being occasionally when the line was cut by the enemy's fire. That portion of it above the Beacon House being exteries on James Island, was cut a number of times, but repaired with no interruption exceeding ten minutes in duration, excepting on the night of the 16th of August, when a shell exploded in the splinter proof where the instrument that it had to be taken to the headquarters to be repaired.

On the 6th, at 12 o'clock midnight, I commenced running a line of signal telegraph on Folly Island, to connect the wharf at Stono with the south side of Light-House Inlet, whence we communicated by signal with headquarters. This line was completed at 6 p. m. of the 7th, having taken eighteen hours to put it up, which was in consequence of delays occasioned by the inexperience of the men in this duty. This line was laid a large portion of the way on the marsh in the rear of Folly Island, but after a few days' trial, finding that at high tide when the wire was submerged it did not work well, indicating some defective place in the insulation, I had it taken up and put on poles, since which time it has worked perfectly well without interruption.

On the 3rd of August, Lieutenant [Williams S.] Andrews reported to me, in obedience to orders from office of signal officer, Washington, approved by the War Department, with instructions to introduce a system of signaling adapted to use on the iron-clad navy under very heavy fire. Having in furtherance of his order exhibited his instructions and plans to Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, he obtained permission from him to have any necessary apparatus constructed at the naval machine shop at Port Royal, and on the 5th started for that purpose. He returned with some apparatus on the 14th, but so near the time of the intended attack on Sumter, that the admiral had arranged his plans of signals, and his fleet captain the late Captain George W. Rodgers, declined to accord it even a trial. The attack, however being postponed, it was, in the meantime, by permission put upon the monitor Passaic, and worked, demonstrating its practicability, but no occasion has yet arisen calling for its use, nor has the iron-clad fleet been in any position where signals could not be made from the deck, with a comparative degree of safety. Since that time, 15th of August, Lieutenant Andrews has done duty on shore. At daylight on the 17th of August, the breaching batteries having been completed, fire was opened upon Fort Sumter, the navy assisting by firing on Wagner.

Colonel Turner made his headquarters daily at the Beacon House, a position exposed to considerable fire, and a signal officer was stationed there every day to communicate with headquarters, via Gregg's Hill and the left batteries. Lieutenant Fenner had charge of this station most of the time, although it was worked at times by several other officers.

The fire of the breaching batteries continued to be directed upon Fort Sumter until the 23rd, when, it being considered practically ruined,

Page 48 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.