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[396] Myer had instructed in signalling while in New Mexico, went over to the enemy when the war broke out and organized a corps for them.

From this small beginning of one man grew up the Signal Corps. As soon as the value of the idea had fairly penetrated the brains of those whose appreciation was needed to make it of practical value, details of men were made from the various regiments around Washington, and placed in camps of instruction to learn the use of the “Signal kit,” so called. The chief article in this kit was a series of seven flags, varying from two feet to six feet square. Three of these flags, one six feet, one four feet, and one two feet square, were white, and had each a block of red in the centre one-third the dimensions of the flag; that is, a flag six feet square had a centre two feet square; two flags were black with white centres, and two were red with white centres. When the flags were in use, they were tied to a staff, whose length varied with the size of the flag to be used. If the distance to signal was great, or obstructions intervened, a long staff and a large flag were necessary; but the four-foot flag was the one in most common use.

It will be readily inferred that the language of these flags was to be addressed to the eye and not the ear. To make that language plain, then, they must be distinctly seen by the persons whom they addressed. This will explain why they

Plate 1.

were of different colors. In making signals, the color of flag to be used depended upon the color of background against which it was to appear. For example, a white flag, even with its red centre, could not be easily seen against the

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