Today in History:

23 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


the army gun-boats, assisting them. On the same day the rest of our army moved out to destroy the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad, and on reaching the turnpike flag signals were opened between the various portions of the Tenth Crops engaged destroying the railroad and the headquarters of Major-General Gillmore. On the 10th the troops of the above mentioned expedition returned, to camp, and during the return march signal communication was had by Brigadier General John W. Turner, commanding the rear guard, with his rear skirmish line. On the 11th flag signals were established along the ind of entrenchments from General Ames' headquarters, near Battery 3. to General Terry's headquarters at the Curtis house, and through it with Admiral Lee, whose iron-clads wee protecting the right of our lie on the James river opposite Farrar's Island. On the 12th Colonel Duncan with his brigade, of Hinks' division, proceeded to occupy and fortify Spring Hill on the south bank of the Appomattox opposite Point of Rocks, and communication by signals was opened for him with his division commander at City Point, and through the Cobb's Hill station with Major-General Smith commanding the corps. On this day another general advance was made to get possession of the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad and turnpike. Notwithstanding the thickly wooded nature of the country, the signal detachment was usefully employed during this march. On the 13th signal communication was maintained throughout the day and night between the headquarters of the general commanding at Cheatham's house, near Kingsland Creek, and those of General Smith, near the Half-Way House, on the turnpike. On the 14th a station was placed at the Half-Way House (then occupied as the temporary headquarters of the general commanding), communicating with one at our advanced line on the turnpike and with an officer placed on the right of our line near the James River, to observe the movements of the enemy. On the 15th communication by flag was had between General Smith's headquarters at Friend's house (which was also General Butler's during the day) and General Gillmore, commanding the left.

Early on the morning of the 16th during a very dense fog, our forces were attacked and driven back a short distance. Shortly after the fog lifted communication was opened between the headquarters of the commanding general at Cheatham's house and a station of observation at the Half-Way House, near which General Smith occupied a position on the field. Afterward our troops in the center were forced back and General Gillmore's command ordered to withdraw from the left and forming in rear of the center. Signals were brought into requisition during this change between General Gillmore's position near the turnpike and his troops while they were leaving their old line west of the railroad. Late in afternoon of same day our whole army returned to its entrenchments, and the signal stations previously occupied therein were reopened.

During the assault of the enemy upon our entrenchments on the 20th stations were placed at Battery 6 and Battery 1, both communicating with Battery 3, the former also with the Cobb's Hill station and Battery 1. also with the Curtis house, on James River, thus giving a line of signals around the entrenchments from general headquarters, near Cobb's Hill, to the flag-ship Malvern, on the James and between the different batteries, enabling them to direct the fire of each another upon any particular object.