Today in History:

42 Series I Volume XXXV-I Serial 65 - Olustee Part I

Page 42 S. C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. Chapter XLVII.

Numbers 5. Reports of Captain Henry R. Clum, Chief Signal Officer, of operations February 5-March 31 and May 1-July 31.

Hilton Head, S. C., February 29, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the condition of the signal detachment in the Department of the South, and of its operations from 5th instant to the date hereof:

I found on my arrival at this place an expedition about starting for Florida. Four commissioned officers and 15 enlisted men of the signal corps accompanied it-3 commissioned offices and 12 enlisted men with General Seymour, who was in command of the expedition, and 1 commissioned officer and 3 enlisted men with General Gillmore, who accompanied he expedition as far as Jacksonville, Fla. the remaining commissioned officers and enlisted men in the detachment were stationed at these headquarters on the U. s. steamer Vermont, on the signal line between this place and Folly Island, and on outpost on Morris, Long, and Black Islands.

On the 8th instant, an expedition under General Schimmelfennig, to John's Island, S. C., was accompanied by Lieutenants Andrews, Bruyn, and Head, with their flagmen. The accompanying plan,* copy of the one forwarded by Lieutenant Andrews with his report of operations, wills how the locations of the stations established. The station on Botany Bay Island is one of the stations on line between this place and Folly Island, and communicates with station on Kiawah island and thence to Folly Island. Lieutenant Head was stationed at Station Numbers 1, on plan; Lieutenant Andrews at Station Numbers 2, and Lieutenant Bruyn at Station Numbers 3. But little signaling was done. At place marked "battle-field" on plan some artillery firing took place, our forces retiring and finally returning with no other engagement.

While at or near Haulover Cut, a book was found containing copies of messages that had been transmitted over the line between this place and Folly Island. The messages had been read from Botany Bay station by a man belonging to the rebel signal corps. No messages of importance or from which the enemy could derive any information was found in the book. The officers in this detachment, I understand, had been instructed to send all important messages in cipher. I have since given instructions to transmit all official messages in cipher. Immediately after learning the enemy had been reading our signals, a number of false messages were, at the suggestion of Lieutenant Andrews, transmitted by order of the commanding general through to Botany Bay station, in order to mislead the enemy, should any one be in position to read them. the expedition returning soon after the messages were transmitted, their effect was not ascertained.

On the 15th instant, by order of the general commanding Department of the South, the signal line between Hilton Head and Folly Island was discontinued, it being, in his opinion, of not sufficient importance to warrant its being kept open, and, in accordance with instructions from department headquarters, the officers and enlisted men on Saint Helena, Otter, Big Bay, and Botany Bay Islands were ordered to report at these headquarters. On same day I placed


*Not found.


Page 42 S. C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. Chapter XLVII.