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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 02/19/2022 12:27:50 EDT
Subject: For Those Wish'g More Info on Torches - All Others Should Skip This Post'g

Message Detail:
Recently someone indirectly inquired, asking where they might be directed to find someone fabricating "a signal torch set (a torch to attach to a flag pole and a foot torch).", as they put it.

They then added, "I got to use one once, and they are pretty impressive!"

All I can add to this is to say, yes... they are quite impressive. Then again, so are four foot signal flags impressive to look upon when being executed precisely and with a snap and flutter by an experienced flag-man who knows his art.

Our period of re-enacting, in-the-main, is drastically tapering off, so it is refreshing to be 'let in' on an inquiry, such as the above. It’s a flicker of light in these diminishing times, no pun intended.

Much like groups of infantry re-enactors drilling all the live-long day, some think that those portraying signal-men ought to be practicing too, critiquing their sessions and then practicing some more, both with torch and flag.

As the inquirer remarked about torch swinging, “… they are pretty impressive.”

Please allow me to insert something I quote from-time-to-time as a refresher remark; and we all need refreshing:

"The military profession involves the knowledge of almost every art, and information accumulated and held in store for the fortunate moment is suddenly demanded and called for, and he who can come forward and say, "I possess it," is the victor. A soldier can, therefore, never be placed in any situation in which his leisure moments may not be devoted to something that may in time win him a grade."

From Articles 2 & 3 of August V. Kautz' "Customs of Service" Phila. 1864."

A set of torches, if fabricated today, with the specifications and photo evidence of ones we know to be extant from the period (along with copper thickness, seaming and hardware), may run a signal re-enactor upwards of five or six hundred dollars to reproduce. What does an average infantry re-enactor expend for a three-banded musket, notwithstanding bayonet, scabbard, cartridge and cap boxes, etc., &c.?

With signal re-enactors, they too would be looking at additional costs involved with fabricating a kit bag and contents (US Army Signal Corps regulation kit bags and contents are recommended as they would carry a re-enactor throughout the necessary time-frame).

Some of us might not know the difference between a regulation and a service kit? Why not? Please refer to Articles 2 & 3 of August V. Kautz' "Customs of Service" Phila. 1864."… and it has been reprinted just for re-enactors like us.

So, what’s the next step in having torches fabricated? Yes, the ones that are also “pretty impressive”

Well, if you are a loner, a one-man show, someone who wants to give an ‘impression’ but not really use them to communicate with another signal party or party settee, then you can go find someone to ‘makie’ you a one-off… and subsequently pay through the nose.

Or, even if you fit the example above and never intend to answer the ‘call’ of someone else, some dark and silent night, you could save a ton of payday bucks by throwing your lot in with others who may belong to a signal party or detachment and believe that it is ‘high’ time’ to take the monetary plunge to obtain TWO sets of torches.

Ed. Note: The only thing worse than a one-way telegraph office, with a wire to nowhere, is to have a signallist communicating to a distant, but torch-less, station.

If you have read down this far without nodding off, let me ask one more question. If you are reading this, are you also constantly alerting others with like interest that this forum actually exists? If so, and they DON’T seem interested in further developing their impression along with yours, ask yourself… do you want to know more? Do you want to advance in grade and quality, while others simply don't give a flying torch?

Should you truly wish to seek more, and we hope you do, then the small pocket-booklet containing Articles 2 & 3 and MUCH MORE, by August V. Kautz' "Customs of Service" Phila. 1864." is for you.

We really ought to be like a guild-like group on this forum, ready to pool our resources when ordering torches or tapered joints of flag poles with brass ferules. These items are not cheap to fabricate. And that's a fact Jack.

Otherwise, we are simply emulating a bunch of fiercely independent kool cats… and definitely NOT in search of a herder. 5-5-5

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