Today in History:

597 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II



Memphis, Tennessee, January 25, 1864.

MAJOR: In compliance with General Orders, No. 4, office signal officer, Washington, D. C., dated February 10, 1863, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the signal corps of this department during the advance and attack on the northwest end of Mission Ridge, November 24 and 25, 1863:

At daylight on the morning of the 24th, reported, accompanied by Lieutenants Sample and Franklin, acting signal officers, and 6 enlisted men, to Major-General Sherman, on eastern bank of Tennessee River, at the point where the troops were crossing. Lieutenant Sample, with his men, immediately crossed in a boat, reported to Generals J. E. and M. L. Smith, and opened communication, from those officers to General Sherman. Several important messages by signals were transmitted, reporting progress made, topography of country in front, &c. This line of communication remained open until the completion of the pontoon bridge, and General Sherman crossed the river.

Upon the advance of General M. L. Smith's command toward Mission Ridge, Lieutenant Sample was directed to accompany that general, and to transmit, by signal or otherwise, as might be most expedient, all communications from him to General Sherman, and to make such other reports as might be deemed of interest or value to the commanding general.

As soon as possession of a spur of the ridge was obtained, a station was opened by Lieutenant Sample, which afforded Generals Blair and M. L. and J. E. Smith a means of communication with General Sherman through my station at the latter's headquarters.

This line was used by General Blair, General J. E. Smith, and by General Sherman in the transmission of important orders. This line was kept open during the night and until General Sherman moved his headquarters to the advanced position held by General and the Fifteenth Army Corps.

During the night a station was seen which was supposed to be on Cameron Hill near Chattanooga. I immediately called this station, by order of General Sherman, and was promptly answered. I then signaled an important communication of some length from General Sherman to General Grant. I was permitted to signal that my torches were bad, and that my message could not be read. My torches were in as good condition as any ever used by me, and gave as brilliant a light, to which Lieutenants Sample and Franklin, who saw my work from the hill, can testify. However, I proceeded to improve them,a nd, by drawing the wicks to an extreme length, made my lights of unusual brilliancy. I again transmitted the message entire, and received the same reply as before. The messages from this station were read without difficulty by me.

On the following morning I opened communication from Mission Ridge, my station, to Fort Wood, which communication was kept open during the day. Through these stations important communications were transmitted by Generals Grant and Thomas to General Sherman, and vice versa.

On my station I was in readiness communicate until General Sherman's forces left in pursuit of the enemy, when I accompanied General Sherman. During the last day on Mission Ridge Lieuten-