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Posted By: Walter Mathers on: 06/20/2002 12:41:07 CDT
Subject: Yes! How about torches?

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As I have mentioned in other posts, I've never seen, or know of the existance of what might be considered as documentable (and un-modified), 1861-65 US Army signal torchs. How 'bout you Mr. Gaddy?

The closest ones we know of have fill-cap modifications (a chain attached to the cap and torch body ~ which having during night ops is a goood thing) along with what may be reference torch foot modifications. Other than this, these may be orignal but don't believe they have accompanying war-time documention. I'm making a trip to see the torches this weekend.

Side Note: Can I hope to see you there this weekend with Max DWG?

The best we have to offer as to torch construction information is from SCA's re-print of the Signal Corps History by JW Brown and the line-drawings I created from this written account. The drawings were submitted for inclusion some time ago to the Association's monthly newsletter "Signal Cipher. Dave Harbin, SCARD's Department of Michigan Representative, told me that he used these combined SCA/SCARD sources as guides when making his sets of flying and foot 'lights' (as Myer called them). Others may have used these drawings as well to construct their own torches. I know that the Chesapeake Detachment Chief Bob Stecker produced a few sets. This may be an item Chuck Lee might want to consider putting on his list of signal items for re-pro'g. I really think these will be 'hot-item' sellers ;)

Getting back to your original thought on using garden toches, you don't have to wait for fabricated torches to come your way as you can (as shown on p. 127 in Brown) create field expedient torches of tar pitch and wired up rags on a sappling. This along with a small (ansd well placed) 'reference camp fire' should put you in the night signalling business.

Myer also mentions doing this sort of thing too. What more could you want, pictures and documentation? Matches?

Much success on future Nacht Communiques, Ken.

Walt Mathers

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