Report of Lieut. Milton Benner, Second Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery,
Acting Signal Officer, of operations May 23-June 5.

Springfield Landing, June 10, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of the signal telegraph train from May 23 to June 5, inclusive:

On the 23d ultimo, in accordance with instructions from Major-General Augur, the wire was run out on the Springfield road from Springfield Landing (our depot for supplies) to a point on that road where it connects with the Bayou Sara road, and about 1 mile from Placion Church, near Barnes' Cross-Roads. Communications from the telegraph station near the Cross-Roads were conveyed to their destinations by orderlies detailed for that purpose by General Augur. The line was in good working order until June 5, when I was directed by the chief signal officer to turn my wire over to Captain Bulkley, of the United States Military Telegraph, for temporary use, and the same to be worked by his instruments. Up to the time of writing, the wire remains in his possession.

I inclose copies of a few messages only, as it would require too much space and time to give you complete files of all transmitted. The following shows the operations for each day so long as the wire was worked by my instruments:


May 23: 

Number of messages            10

Number of words               370

Average number of words    37


May 24: 

Number of messages             14

Number of words                461

Average number of words     33


May 25: 

Number of messages             18

Number of words                580

Average number of words     32


May 26: 

Number of messages               6

Number of words                136

Average number of words      22


May 27: 

Number of messages             12

Number of words                421

Average number of words     35


May 28: 

Number of messages            20

Number of words               813

Average number of words    40


May 29: 

Number of messages             18

Number of words                700

Average number of words     39


May 30: 

Number of messages             28

Number of words             1,124

Average number of words      44


May 31: 

Number of messages              15

Number of words                 505

Average number of words      33


June 1:   

Number of messages              14

Number of words                 382

Average number of words      27


June 2:   

Number of messages              22

Number of words                 612

Average number of words      27


June 3:   

Number of messages              27

Number of words                 591

Average number of words      21


June 4:   

Number of messages              30

Number of words                 702

Average number of words      23


June 5:   

Number of messages              11

Number of words                 425

Average number of words      38


Number of messages            245

Number of words              7,822

Average number of words       31

Respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,


Acting Signal Officer.


Near Port Hudson, May 23, 1863.

To Signal Officer in command of Signal Telegraph, near Placion Church:

SIR: The following good news has just been received from Colonel Grierson:

We are half a mile north of the railroad. Have met General Grover with his division. General Banks is 3 miles back. News from General Grant inglorious. He cut Johnston's forces to pieces, capturing sixty-one pieces of artillery. He has Vicksburg hemmed in so they cannot use their siege guns.


Major-General General, Commanding.

Send the above dispatch to the fleet.


 Assistant Adjutant-General.

Plains Store, May 24, 1863--6 p.m.

 Captain ALDEN,
Commanding the Richmond:

General Banks is up with his forces, and we close in around the fort this morning, and will probably open upon them in the course of the day.

The general wishes me to say that he will keep the admiral informed of the progress of affairs.


Major-General General, Commanding.

Riley's, before Port Hudson, May 26, 1863---Noon.

 Rear-Admiral FARRAGUT,  U.S. Navy,
Flagship Hartford:

ADMIRAL: The commanding general is at the front. I will forward your dispatch to him immediately; meanwhile, I take the liberty of stating our position early this morning: Sherman on the left, in advance of the enemy's first line of rifle-pits, having his pickets at the front edge of a skirt of woods, separated from the enemy's main line of works by an open plain. His position is in front of the school-house. Augur next, on the roads from the Plains to Port Hudson, and well advanced. Grover on the Jackson Railroad, holding the front edge of a wood which is within from 200 to 400 yards of the apparent center of the works, and in plain sight and easy range of them. Weitzel, with his own brigade, Dwight's, and Paine's (Emory's division), reduced to about a brigade, on the right, near where the Telegraph road from Port Hudson to Bayou Sara crosses Big Sandy Creek.

This morning everybody except Grover has closed up, and Grover cannot close up without taking the works in front of him.

Thus the place is completely invested. 1 understand that the commanding general's intention is to make the decisive attack to-morrow morning, but upon this point I do not speak officially or decidedly, as everything, of course, depends upon circumstances, which an hour might totally change.

I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

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