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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 02/21/2016 16:10:24 EDT|
Subject: Reply Relative to Similarities Between Civil War and Current Signal Officers
Your post is well thought out. And yes, There were signal officers who seemed to prefer serving the staffs to which they had been assigned, rather than what some would (still today) say was the 'legitimate' duties of the corps.
there may have been instances when the ground upon which the movements wee being made were not conducive to visual field signal communication, and thus, there credit, these officers were doing, what seemed natural,to make themselves useful.
When we look closer, however, could that time have been better spent in engaging their signal parties, by, as examples:
1. presenting them with hypothetical scenarios, making sure they understood their approved abbreviations (see: J. Willard Brown's Signal History, pgs 93-95.)
2. seeing that their map-making abilities were adequate
3. knowing that they were well versed in the procedures of countersign signals both by day and by night -- countersigns are little used in the re-enactment community but having a working knowledge of them could prove invaluable if the need arose at a moment's notice. Why not practice this in signal camps amongst ourselves within and during an event... especially if a signal party is at an outpost station, rooftop, overlook or tower detached from the tent city.
In essence, from the very beginning, with General Orders No. 1, dated, Hdqrs, Camp of Instruction, August 31st 1861, Section VII. --- "It is particularly enjoined upon all officers and soldiers to devote as much time as possible to the study of their different duties, in order that the party may be prepared immediately for service."
The above is from Brown, pg 56.