Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/136

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132 Southern Historical Society Papers.

devolved the duty of keeping that brave garrison in communication with the outer world. You who, like myself, experienced the dan- gers and trials of that siege, can indeed appreciate their services, and testify to the bravery and coolness with which the members of the Signal Corps there bore themselves in the midst of dangers that caused the bravest to tremble, standing nobly at their post, and only leaving the island with the rear guard, at the evacuation.

There were also members of the corps, who at other points, not so much exposed, did even more valuable service to our cause. I refer to those who day and night read the signals as they passed from station to station of the United States Army and Navy. To them we owe the preservation of Sumter, Johnson, Gregg and Wag- ner, on several occasions, those forts being forewarned of attacks to be made, and consequently prepared to resist the same. I have so far spoken only of the services of the corps in the siege of this city, having been connected only with this and the Signal Corps of the Army of Tennessee, and I know that my time is limited, and there are but few of those present who were at any time connected with the latter army, but will add that to demonstrate that the members of the Signal Corps bore themselves with equal bravery on other fields, and did not occupy bomb-proof places. History tells us that when the beloved Stonewall Jackson fell a signal officer caught him in his arms and another bit the dust by his side.


Such, my comrades, are the facts. I would submit for your con- sideration, still, for fear they may be received by some as the state- ments of one interested, I shall trespass on your patience while I quote from the published accounts of the defence of Morris Island. The writer in describing the attempt to blow up the Ironsides uses the following words:

"The new Ironsides was singled for destruction. One of the Signal Corps had been stationed at Battery Gregg, and another at Wagner, each with keen eyes, watching their respective lines of vision. At the electric key stood Captain Langdon Cheves, with eyes bent upon both stations, so that as the flags waved in concert, indicating the fatal moment when the Ironsides should be over the torpedo, to apply the spark and do the deed. Slowly the Ironsides steamed around, delivering one terrific broadside after another. Ever