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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 07/21/2003 15:02:43 EDT
Subject: Sharpsburg to South Mtn. Signal Effort

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In consequence to your "Sharpsburg/Antietam" posting of the 20th. instant, I have the honour to report that I met with the Washn. Mon. Sta. flagman, Andrew Haddock who was able to inform me that the recent effort of which you speak was conducted entirely by Maryland State Park Rangers and Park Volunteer staff.

The event was, from his account, well attended by the general public but was not as well carried out as the Federally (1860's that is) uniformed rangers would have liked. The reasons for this misfortune, though, are perfectly understandable.

The Washington Monument Station was in possession of a 40 power glass and, according to Mr. Haddock, could perfectly read the floppings from Sharpsburg. The Sharpsburg party possessed a 30 power glass, but, could not make out the movements displayed from Monument station. From what I could gather, both stations used four foot flags but of what colour and against what sort of background I know not. Advanced training might have helped overcome this and other challenges they seemed to have faced during their public demeonstration.

I'm told that the event took place in the morning which perhaps might have placed the Western station at Sharpsburg at a slight disadvantage; the sun being somewhat in their eyes. Flagman Haddock also indicated that he estimated the winds on the monument station to be approaching 40 mph that day. Forty mile per hour gusts can try the most experienced operator not to mention someone performing the old college try.

When, after hearing of their technical woes, I mentioned a possiblity for his next outing of throwing out a (more visible) party to Boonsborough near the base of South Mountain, Mr. Haddock indicated that his Monument station party had already been made aware of such suggestions by many of their eye straining spectators. As you know, It is about seven or eight miles between the Washington Monument station and Sharpsburg's Antietam National Battlefield Park but only two miles down the slope and into Boonsborough, MD.

Mr. Haddock, a current member of the ROTC (hoping to enter the field of MI following his graduation), readily mentioned that he'd see if SCARD could become involved with their next planned outing. I'm told that we should expect a call or E-wire some time in the near future.


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