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[535] sent a flag of truce, asking a cessation of hostilities to bury their dead, which was granted. General McCowan was ordered to Camp Breckinridge to command the forces there, and returning to Danville, I stopped in one of the churches, now a hospital, to see if I could recognize any old friend. I found a number of glorious angels administering to the wants of the sick, and one especially, noted for her angelic qualities, Miss Mary Dunlap, who assured us that whatever should be the fate of Kentucky, her women would remain true to the South. The situation of the country around Camp Breckinridge, near Dick's River, is on a hill-ridge with a natural fortification of shelving rocks, while on the north side is a deep ravine, making it impassable and unapproachable. It is a strong place, but may be taken by the enemy getting in our rear by the Manchester pike. In that case we will probably go to Louisville, which I think ought to have been done at first.

On Friday, the tenth, it commenced raining, and has continued nearly ever since, making it almost impossible for officers to write out their reports of the battle, or to get the casualties. All of Hardee's division has come up. here, and I suppose our whole army will concentrate at this point.

Sunday, 12.--I have had no opportunity until now of getting a courier for Knoxville, and as one is about leaving, I hasten to close.

Doc. 129.-the Morse magnetic telegraph. Its Utility to General McClellan.

The following letter from Parker Spring, Superintendent Construction of United States Military Telegraph Lines, gives an interesting account of the services of the Morse telegraph to the army, and of Gen. McClellan's use of it:

United States military telegraph, headquarters Department Potomac, Gaines's Hill, seven miles from Richmond, June 2.
From the time the army of the Potomac first left Washington the United States Military Telegraph has never for an hour been allowed to remain in the rear. Before reaching his new headquarters Gen. McClellan almost invariably learns that the wire is on the advance; that an office has already been opened at the point designated before he left his old camp, and that communication to the War Department at Washington is open for him. In several instances when the army had marched fifteen miles in one day, the telegraph had reached the new quarters two hours in advance. When our troops are obliged to remain a few days in one position, wires are immediately run from Gen. McClellan's quarters to the headquarters of all commanders of divisions, thereby placing the entire section of country occupied by our troops under his instant control Assistance like this is surely valuable to our glorious cause, and, I am happy to say, it is fully appreciated by the General.

Saturday previous to the evacuation of Yorktown, Gen. McClellan ordered me to run a wire into our Battery No. 6, in order to give him telegraphic communication from his headquarters, which were distant about one and a half miles. This battery laid half a mile in front of General Heintzelman, and within half a mile of a long chain of rebel batteries. The office at Battery No. 6 was to be located under ground, in a bombproof arrangement, in order to save the precious life of the manipulator, who would be in his hole before day break the next morning. I was informed by Gen. Heintzelman's aids that it was a very hazardous experiment; that from the point where the line must cross the fields the rebel officers could be heard distinctly giving command; that the rebel pickets were within two hundred and fifty yards of us, and if we attempted to distribute poles with our wagon we would be fired upon. Of these facts I informed all our men. Regardless of danger, they unanimously voted for the extension. Fortunately that night was dark, and promptly at nine P. M. we were in readiness to commence operations.

After cautioning all hands to work quietly, I detailed the men as follows: Cosgrove, Hoover, Greiner and McGuire to dig holes; Rote, Keiler, Benedict and Jones to distribute poles on their shoulders, who had to carry them a full mile. John Tryer I posted as guard. His duty was to watch the flash of the rebel guns, and notify the men, who were working and could not see, when to fall on the sod, should the rebels hear us and open. Thus far all was quiet in the secesh quarters. Scarcely had our operations commenced when a compliment from Gen. Magruder in the shape of a shell was sent us. Through the timely notice received from our guard, Mr. Tryer, that “he saw a flash, and that something with a flery tail was coming toward us,” we were enabled to drop. It came within fifty yards of us, bursted, but did no damage. After that shot and shell followed in rapid succession, until we completed our task, which, owing to loss of time in dodging, occupied fully five hours. A number of these missiles fell within thirty feet of us, showing conclusively that the rebel pickets had discovered our operations, and were directing the fire of their artillery. We have preserved pieces of a shell that knocked down a pole behind us, which had been erected not five minutes before the shot was fired. The line was run through a soft corn-field, and it was amusing next day, after the evacuation, when we returned to this field, to see the life-like pictures of Tryer, Cosgrove, and several others, nicely portrayed in the mud, and which no artist in the world could excel. They were at once recognized by all hands, and I promised to give you the particulars.

The telegraph has been called upon to perform a still more mysterious wonder. For some time past I have been ordered by Col. Eckert (our superintendent of military telegraphs) to try a telegraphic experiment from a balloon. Saturday

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