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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/03/2009 07:46:40 EDT
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Re-created Events With Compasses

Message Detail:
Walt, Welcome back. Good point on use of compass. I was interested in use to locate both a cooperating (friendly) sta and an enemy sta, subject to interception. (I once cited the latter as an early example of of line-bearing reading for triangulation, for what came to be known in radio times as leading to "direction-finding," in a discussion with the late Ed Fishel, author of "Secret War for the Union." Ed felt that that prospect was a bit beyond our period and brushed it off. I later found -- naturally in OR -- one or two examples of a Union SigO locating a CS sig sta in terms of azimuth from his own sta, known to the addressee of his report.) The example you cite mixes line-bearing/azimuth reading with a surveyer's or sailor's ref system, suggesting that there may never have been a general, standardized system for reporting locating info. Without having seen ref to use of compass in instruction at sig camp of instruction, yet its being considered basic equipment for SigO, I wonder if any thought had been given to use of compass other than for locating one's own sta per se or in relation to another station.

I haven't checked, but surely there must be a topo-engineers web site that would supply amplifing details on period knowledge and practices, including understanding of declination, true vs. magnetic north, etc., and relate use to the lack of grid-imprinted maps.

(And, recalling those poorly concealed handy-dandy radiotelephones that competed with visual sigs and landline Morse in reenactments a decade or so back, I suppose your recommendations above will soon result in GPS equipment being "palmed" and passed off as 19th century compasses, to be used in conjunction with authentic period maps downloaded from Google Earth!)

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