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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 05/22/2005 07:15:43 EDT
Subject: RE: CSA Signal Corps Roster

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Bernie, there's a mixture of wheat and chaff and a few crab apples. Your stats indicate that you have a mixture of "regular" Signal Corps and Milligan's "Independent Signal Corps." To re-cap, there was only one Major--Norris; Milligan headed the ISC and was promoted major early '63, but NOT as a major IN the signal corps. By law there was only one authorized. The regular signal corps was authorized 1 maj, 10 capts, 10 1st and 10 2nd lts, and 30 sgts--a max of 61 billets. No 1st sgt(s), no cpls, no pvts--these were detailed to sig svc as required. The ISC, on the other hand, enlisted its pvts and had the usual ranks of an inf company. "Lance" rank was temporary, sort of the EM equivalent of a brevet. Courier, Actg QM, ADC, AAG and the like were "such other duties as may be assigned (and if the man's commission were as AAG, for example, rather than SigC, he faced the prospect of being bumped--or dumped--from one or the other). "Conscript" was simply indication of a man's source of enlistment.
If your stats are based on the NPS Soldiers and Sailors on the Internet, that listing doesn't distinguish between these two component of sig svc in the South. (The ISC was limited in ops to SE VA and occasional svc in NC, plus indiv assignments afloat.)
Charles E. Taylor, who penned a brief memoir on the subj, estimated a total of about 1500 men served in the sig svc, which probably included both groups. (Trans-Miss info is very sketchy, and brief assignments may have slipped through the record. I don't know if Taylor meant his number to reflect the West, because I doubt that the Sig Bureau in Richmond, where he served for a time, was fully aware either.)
Union forces encountering the ISC along the James never made any distinction, and Pickett's assignment to command in the area further mixed up the record, because it makes it appear that ISC served ANV, for he is usually thought of as an ANV general. After ANV closed on Petersburg area, lines also became confused as well.
I know this is confusing: Some privates, for example, spent the whole war serving in the sig units of the ANV and were never IN the Sig Corps, altho they helped to compose it. Imagine trying to tell THEM they weren't in it! (As Red Skelton--or Clem Kadiddlehopper--would have said, "Details, always details!")
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