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Posted By: Mark Hageman on: 12/08/2004 21:41:44 EDT
Subject: RE: Burnside's Expedition-Naval Code's

Message Detail:


On Dec 23, 1861- Lieutenants Joseph Fricker, Thomas Foster, and Thomas R. Robinson with Flagmen Alexander McCollin, William J. Lindsay, George B. J. Hosmer, William N. Baker, David L. Craft, and Theodore Rodgers were ordered to report to Gen Burnside at Annapolis Md. An additional 22 men were immediately detailed for signal duty and went through the regular coarse of instruction in Myer’s system until Jan 18, 1862, when transports from the Navy moved down the Chesapeake.

A total of twenty-five officers and fifty signalmen were crowded on the schooner Col. Satterlee and transported to Hatteras. The main command arrived by the time the signal parties arrived. Immediately, they were assigned to signal duties. The action resulting in the capture of the forts on Roanoke Island commenced on the 7th day of February. Signal officers were properly apportioned among the gunboats and rendered effective service.

Lieut. W. S. Andrews, stationed with the fleet two miles from the forts, closely observed the movements of the enemy and transmitted the results of his observations to the different vessels. This information secured an accuracy of fire hitherto unequalled. The surveillance of other officers was equally conductive to the effectiveness of the shower of shells dropping.

Gen. Foster’s Headquarters was on the Steamer Pilot Boy, the signal officer being Lieut. W. F. Barrett with S.P. Janes and H.J. Bardwell, flagmen.

Lieut. W.F. Draper was the first signal officer to reach shore, not having signal apparatus with him- he improvised a flag and directed fire of the fleet.

As union troops advanced, they came upon fire from there own gunboats, Gen Burnside directed Lieut. Draper to secure a position and signal to the fleet the damage being done to union troops. Exposed to confederate sharpshooter he signaled “You are firing on our own troops. Fire further in advance” The message was received, fire extended and thereafter falling upon confederate lines.

In the record of this battle, the signal officers received the highest commendations, Gen Burnside testifying to the valuable service rendered through the instrumentality of the signal code.

The engagement at Roanoke Island had barely terminated when the army, in conjunction with the naval forces, was again in motion. This time the objective point was New Berne. In this battle that occurred on March 4th, the Signal Corps again earned the recognition of Gen. Burnside.

a few other pages on our site you might want to check out:

Historical Overview:

Signal Elements:

Flag Siganal Demo

Signalling from tugs:

Hope this helps!

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