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Posted By: Walter F. Mathers on: 06/16/2002 12:33:32 CDT
Subject: Future Signal/Telegraph Event Plann'g, Is It Time?

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I'd be interested in knowing how may of our associates would be willing to attend events that would be gear'd especially for signal and/or telegraphic operations? How many of us would be willing to attend if perhaps such a gathering lack'd all of the usual attributes of the average re-enactment, i.e. mock black powder engagements, sutlers, evening social events?

I was thinking that (at least in the 1863 Potomac River valley) with the 140th. Gettysburg campaign slated for next year, something could be gotten up so that Washington DC's early warning system could be re-activated (perhaps since the war itself). I floated this idea around last year and got but little interest. As the big 2003 Gettysburg event would be less than a month away from any such venture, would I be correct in thinking that standing
on the same stations and sending the same messages from these excellent points of vantage might take a back seat for most signal re-enactors? Would it be possible to schedule in a two week holiday period with our employers so that we'd be able to man the stations for a few days prior to the big event and then be ready to go into action at Mega-ville? These are but thoughts currently but could it in fact become reality?

Let's see, we have the Chesapeake detachment who have some of their members living in the area. The Maryland, West Virginia and the Susquehanna groups are also close by. The
Washington/Baltimore Chapter of the Morse Telegraph Club joined with SCARD signallists to provide period attired telegraphers for the War Department (a.k.a German Embassy) to Guilford Station (General Reynolds now restored Hd-Qtrs. site prior to the his march toward Gettysburg and the General's death) event a few years ago now.

Who knows, someone may actually be in the midst of planning a 2003 Virginia to Gettysburg march for the stout-hearted. If so, these stalwarts would wind their way through the Maryland countryside and under the watchful eyes of the signal corps and USMT and rail road telegraph operators.

If you know the movers and shakers of the detachments mentioned above, you might want to check in with them and inform their groups of what might be possible if a core detachments could be gotten up, say, prior to the Gettysburg Remembrance Day parade this year. A goodly amount of ground work or should I say foot-work, and time would be required at the local level to allow for the logistics alone.

This notwithstanding, what major event in the Western Theatre might similarly be considered for a two weekend event? Should a flip-flop Eastern/Western this year here
and next year there event schedule be consider'd with signal/telegraph operations in mind? Might this work?

By hosting an event one year in the East and the next in the West, the two campaign groups can conduct a bit of friendly rivalry by putting on 'the better dog' when their turn at event planning comes around. The gatherings could eventually be slated so that battelfield tours and related presentations could be scheduled in sometime during the mid-week time frame.

Surely, with the aid and assistance of modern communication devices and support groups like the Boy Scouts, EMT and ham radio groups to assist in site preparation and also to serve as monitoring assistants, SCARD could actually have real-time long distance training
using the actual 1860's signal station sites. It could be a series of experiences we'd never forget.

Where would you like to go from here? Like Bill Kietz, first editor of the Camp Chase Gazette may have said, "That's my thought, now who wants to add their two cents worth?


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