Report of 2nd Lieutenant Franklin E. Town, 42nd New York Volunteers and Acting Signal Officer, Recapture of Jacksonville, Florida (13 October 1862)

Beaufort, S.C., October 13, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report to you that on the 23d of September, in obedience to an order from Lieut. E. J. Keenan, chief signal officer Department of the South, I reported to Brigadier-General Brannan for special service, to accompany an expedition being organized under his command to proceed to Saint John’s Bluff, Fla. In obedience to General Brannan’s orders I embarked on the 25th of September, and the expedition proceeded as far as Hilton Head, S.C., from whence we returned to Beaufort and disembarked the same afternoon, the prevalence of a severe storm preventing the sailing of the expedition. On the 30th of September we again embarked, and arrived at Saint John’s River early the following morning (October 1). I was then stationed on board the gunboat Paul Jones, by order of Lieut. G. H. Hill, senior signal officer of the expedition. Before the landing of the troops was completed it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned their battery on Saint John’s Bluff, and on the 3d of October the Paul Jones went up the river to Jacksonville. The Paul Jones returned to the Bluff the following morning, and on the 5th she accompanied General Brannan to Jacksonville, General Brannan being on the steamer Boston with part of a regiment. That afternoon our forces, who had been sent out as skrimishers, met a party of the enemy who were behind the town, and the gunboat Cimarron opened a fire of shell upon the enemy. During the firing I was stationed on the Cimarron to assist in directing the fire by signal. After the firing ceased I returned to the Paul Jones. On the 12th of October I embarked to return on the steamer Boston, General Brannan being on the Ben DeFord. Lieutenant Hill and myself kept the steamers in communication with each other until our arrival at Hilton Head this morning (October 13). There being no resistance by the enemy, our signals were used only as a means of communication between General Brannan, whose headquarters were on board the steamer Ben De Ford, and Captain Steedman, commanding the gunboat fleet at Saint John’s, and were not used on shore. The signals were very extensively used, and I am happy to say to the gratification of General Brannan, who testifies in his report of the expedition to their efficiency and usefulness.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Second Lieut., Forty-second N. Y. Vols., and Acting Signal Officer.

Maj. A. J. MYER, Signal Officer, U.S. Army, Washington.



Report of Second Lieut. Franklin E. Town, Forty-second New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, of recapture of Jacksonville, in Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865 (Microfilm M262). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.