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Petersburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
t were built for this class of workers, who, like the cavalry, were the eyes of the army if not the ears. I remember several of these towers which stood before Petersburg in 1864. They were of especial use there in observing the movements of troops within the enemy's lines, as they stood, I should judge, from one hundred to one fact, I believe no shot ever seriously injured one of the towers, though tons weight of iron must have been hurled at them. The roof of the Avery House, before Petersburg, was used for a signal station, and the shells of the enemy's guns often tore through below much to the alarm of the signal men above. Signalling was carrieinteresting phase of signalcorps operations. It seems that one of our signal officers had succeeded in reading the signal code of the A Signal tower before Petersburg, Va. enemy, and had communicated the same to his fellowoffi-cers. With this code in their possession, the corps was enabled to furnish valuable information direct
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
ation, to whom General Alexander has furnished a sketch of the organization of the Rebel Signal Corps, he says:-- You are more than welcome to the compliment I paid the signal-station on Round Top in my article in the January Century. I have forgiven all my enemies now; and though you fellows there were about the last that I did forgive, I took you in several years ago, and concluded to let by-gones be by-gones. Thy work is done; along Virginia's river No more thy signal flies; From Georgia's hills by night no more the quiver Of thy red torch shall rise. There came a noon when from the bastions frowning Of every fort and bay Flung out a banner; hurrying on and crowning The mountains far away. We left undecked no hamlet's little steeple That loud with joy-bells rung; And from the breasts of a too happy people Its passion-flowers were hung. We knew its language; knew our work was over; And hailed, while ours we furled, The only Flag whose sovereign folds shall cover Hencefor
Washington (United States) (search for this): chapter 22
etached service from various regiments. One of the officers in the regular army, whom Surgeon 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.
New Jersey (New Jersey, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
the origin of the Signal Corps. The system of signals used in both armies during the Rebellion originated with one man — Albert J. Myer, who was born in Newburg, N. Y. He entered the army as assistant surgeon in 1854, and, while on duty in New Mexico and vicinity, the desirability of some better method of rapid communication than that of a messenger impressed itself upon him. This conviction, strengthened by his previous lines of thought in the same direction, he finally wrought out in a syh, all others then in the corpsand there were quite a number — being simply acting signal officers on detached service from various regiments. One of the officers in the regular army, whom Surgeon 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
Cambridge (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
s, there were flags in the army which talked for the soldiers, and I cannot furnish a more entertaining chapter than one which will describe how they did it, when they did it, and what they did it for. True, of the flags used in the service told stories of their own. What more eloquent than Old glory, with its thirteen stripes, reminding us of our small beginning as a nation, its blue field, originally occupied by the cross of the English flag when Washington first gave it to the breeze in Cambridge, but replaced later by a cluster of stars, which keep a tally of the number of States in the Union! What wealth of history its subsequent career as the national emblem suggests, making it almost vocal with speech! The corps, division, and brigade flags, too, told a little story of their own, in a manner already described. But there were other flags, whose sole business it was to talk to one another, and the stories they told were immediately written down for the benefit of the soldiers
Kenesaw (Nebraska, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
it was only held by a small brigade, whereas the enemy was seen advancing upon it in much superior numbers, Sherman signalled a despatch from Vining's Station to Kenesaw, and from Kenesaw to Allatoona, whence it was again signalled to Rome. It requested General Corse, who was at the latter place, to hurry back to the assistance oKenesaw to Allatoona, whence it was again signalled to Rome. It requested General Corse, who was at the latter place, to hurry back to the assistance of Allatoona. Meanwhile, Sherman was propelling the main body of his army in the same direction. On reaching Kenesaw, the signal officer reported, says Sherman, in his Memoirs, that since daylight he had failed to obtain any answer to his call for Allatoona; but while I was with him he caught a faint glimpse of the tell-tale flagKenesaw, the signal officer reported, says Sherman, in his Memoirs, that since daylight he had failed to obtain any answer to his call for Allatoona; but while I was with him he caught a faint glimpse of the tell-tale flag through an embrasure, and after much time he made out these letters CRSEHER and translated the message Corse is here. It was a source of great relief, for it gave me the first assurance that General Corse had received his orders, and that the place was adequately garrisoned. General Corse has informed me that the distance b
Poolesville (Maryland, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
dings received by our army that the fighting bishop had been slain. He was hit by a shell from a volley of artillery fired by order of General Sherman. To the men in the other arms of the service, who saw this mysterious and almost continuous waving of flags, it seemed as if every motion was fraught with momentous import. What could it all be about? they would ask one another. A signal station was located, in ‘61-2, on the top of what was known as the Town Hall (since burned) in Poolesville, Md., within a few rods of my company's camp, and, to the best of my recollection, not an hour of daylight passed without more or less flag-waving from that point. This particular squad of men did not seem at all fraternal, but kept aloof, as if (so we thought) they feared they might, in an unguarded moment, impart some of the important secret information which had been received by them from the station at Sugar Loaf Mountain or Seneca. Since the war, I have learned that their apparently e
Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
hods and abbreviations. Signal messages have been sent twenty-eight miles; but that is exceptional. The conditions of the atmosphere and the location of stations were seldom favorable to such longdistance signalling. Ordinarily, messages were not sent more than six or seven miles, but there were exceptions. Here is a familiar but noted one:-- In the latter part of September, 1864, the Rebel army under Hood set out to destroy the railroad communications of Sherman, who was then at Atlanta. The latter soon learned that Allatoona was the objective point of the enemy. As it was only held by a small brigade, whereas the enemy was seen advancing upon it in much superior numbers, Sherman signalled a despatch from Vining's Station to Kenesaw, and from Kenesaw to Allatoona, whence it was again signalled to Rome. It requested General Corse, who was at the latter place, to hurry back to the assistance of Allatoona. Meanwhile, Sherman was propelling the main body of his army in the
Pine Mountain (Georgia, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
ds slaughtered there that he probably refers. General Thomas was ordered to arrest the reporter, and have him hanged as a spy; but old Pap Thomas' kind heart banished him to the north of the Ohio for the remainder of the war, instead. When Sherman's headquarters were at Big Shanty, there was a signal station located in his rear, on the roof of an old gin-house, and this signal officer, having the key to the enemy's signals, reported to Sherman that he had translated this signal from Pine Mountain to Marietta,--Send an ambulance for General Polk's body, --which was the first tidings received by our army that the fighting bishop had been slain. He was hit by a shell from a volley of artillery fired by order of General Sherman. To the men in the other arms of the service, who saw this mysterious and almost continuous waving of flags, it seemed as if every motion was fraught with momentous import. What could it all be about? they would ask one another. A signal station was lo
Suffolk, Va. (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 22
red ways the corps made their services invaluable to the troops. Sometimes signal officers on shore communicated with others on shipboard, and, in one instance, Lieutenant Brown told me that through the information he imparted to a gunboat off Suffolk, in 1863, regarding the effects of the shot which were thrown from it, General Longstreet had since written him that the fire was so accurate he was compelled to withdraw his troops. The signals were made from the tower of the Masonic Hall in SSuffolk, whence they were taken up by another signal party on the river bluff, and thence communicated to the gunboat. Not long since, General Sherman, in conversation, alluded to a correspondent of the New York Herald whom he had threatened to hang, declaring that had he done so his death would have saved ten thousand lives. The relation of this anecdote brings out another interesting phase of signalcorps operations. It seems that one of our signal officers had succeeded in reading the si
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