Signal Corps Association Reenactors Division (SCARD)

Discussion Forum

Signal Corps Association Primary Web Site
[ Back to the listing ] [ Post Reply ] [ Help ] [ Search ]
[ List All Forums ]

Posted By: Tom Ryan on: 09/15/2005 14:08:21 EDT
Subject: Clothesline signal

Message Detail:
This is a little off-beat, but thought it worth a mention. Recently came across a message in the National
Archives from John Babcock, the civilian analyst for the Bureau of Military Information (AoP intelligence) to Gen. Butterfield, AoP chief of staff, that mentions a spy (possibly a Negro woman) in Fredericksburg using articles on a clothesline to signal across the Rappahannock River to the Union army in Falmouth. The signals included: one piece = the Rebels are moving, two pieces = they are in force, three = they are being reinforced, and none = they have gone away.
I checked Ed Fishel's "The Secret War for the Union" and he inlcudes this message in his book (p.314), but does not mention a sketch in the message that shows the clothesline with one piece on it. The piece is oblong shaped and, given the proportions, is long enough to almost touch the ground. Suggesting the possibility of a quilt. So, this may be a Negro woman spy (a slave?) using a quilt to signal. It conjures up thoughts about the stories published from time to time about slaves using quilts as signals related to the underground railroad.
Follow ups:

Post a follow up message
NAME:
EMAIL:
SUBJECT:
Type your Reply here:
NOTIFY ME: Yes No
This posting is a:
Comment
Question
Idea

Don't Agree
Challenge
Heads-Up!

Need Feedback
Meeting Request
LINK URL:
LINK TITLE:
IMAGE URL:



Message Search
Search ALL Forums
Filter Messages
Show messages for past days.
Name Search
Type in a full or partial name
Keyword Search
Enter keyword(s) you want to search for separated by a space.

Match Case?
Match ALL Keywords
Match ANY Keyword