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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 12/15/2002 13:01:50 CST
Subject: Finding, Consolidating and Posting.... Oh My!

Message Detail:
Doug (and anyone else who may be listening in),

I look at ALL Majors Myer, Norris and their compatriots had to go through from 1861 'til war's end and wonder how they possibly could have accomplished consolidating and disseminating all those reports which culminated in reams upon reams of paperwork (a daunting task). Then I think about their running war-time offices and administrating, pluse developing, ordering, testing then suppyling equipments to all of the out-posts which dotted the mid-west, the Mississippi and beach heads along the east-coast. Imagine the fact that, for the most part, signal and telegrphic operations were never used on such a huge scale before and they virturally had to formulate policy on the fly. Myer published his first manual in 1864. The printer set each individual piece of printer's type by hand. If they'd had computers, like us, we may never have been able to catch up to their correspondance without a 10 year government grant and a full-time staff.

Yes, 'tis a fact that they had clerks and adjutants working seven days a week in each of the army's signal departments. I'm certain that Messrs. Eckert and Sanborn had similar staffs in their telegraph headquaters too.

But what of us, the researchers and emulators of 2002-3? The paper pushers of the 1860's had the urgency of war to motivate and provide them with the constant drive. To-day, we have cut-and-paste and when we have to convert hard text into cyber text, the hard part, i.e. composing the thoughts, is already done for us.

A lot of folks read this site daily or at least on a weekly basis. We know this by the number of hits we sustain. What can we do, that more information might be funnelled into our research and living history site. Would establishing committees create such a benefit?

There are only a handful of us crazies who take this stuff as our avocation. Even the majority of the signal re-enactors may, in fact, show up at their campaigning events having never cracked a signal-related history book or even scanned this site to see what others are doing. I'm sad to say that for some, this may be perpetual, but habits can be changed either from the top down or from the bottom up.

So I guess I'd like to ask,(and I'm also asking you lurkers...please consider asking how you can contribute),how can we best act in unison and for the good of our common interest?

What sort of things would we all like to accomplish collectively as members of the Signal Corps Association and of its re-enactors' division? In what way do we want to influence the telling (and emulating) of the historical story?

Would you like to see scholarly seminars conducted like Ray Wemple previously suggested in past posts? How about camps of instruction as Chuck Lee has taken on? Is there a monument dedicated to 1860's military telecommunication pioneers waiting to be erected such as the one SCA Associate Stephen Siemsen successfully spearheaded and eventually had installed on the plains of Manassas, Virginia? What about a comulation of final resting places of our 1860-'s communication pioneers?

I truly appreciated the post by Jenifer that got a few of us going again on this line of thought. Research can sometimes be likened to a fishing expedition. Some days the catch is good while not so at other times. For some fishermen, catching is done by mere happenstance. Not so for others. Why do you think serious fishermen like having sonar fish detectors on board their vessels? Should SCA/SCARD recruit our own "sonar" in the form of researchers, collators, and indexers? This is really doable, you know. It's as easy as cut-and-pasting, collating, cross-referencing, and posting. And with this latest round of Cyber Scouting Reports the challenge is once again on the table for discussion. Will you join in?

73,
Walt

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Signal Corps Association/Re-enactors' Division SCA/SCARD
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