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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 05/24/2003 01:20:47 EDT
Subject: RE: Libery Code

Message Detail:
Good Morning Eric,

After waiting for others to chime in on your 'Liberty Code' post, my hat is tossed into the ring. I think it always good when one tries his hand (and mind) in developing new codes. The fact is, some of my favourite times have been at un-scripted events, i.e. the tacticals, when we're actually attempting to keep our opponents from comprimising the event codes.

This said, you should be glad to know that you are following in the footsteps of those you've chosen to emulate. The fellows of 1861 not only worked on developing new codes on a regular basis but they also had additional movements or jerks of the flag and pole to indicate other preconcerts. They'd wave the flag in figure eights or whirl it around their heads one way and then the other to indicate different meanings. Of course, these 'additional' movements may have had a changed meaning between one army signal detachment/department to another, or meant somthing one month and something else by the next.... but, as you well know, by the very nature of War, secrecy was the order of the day.

The majority of events our associates attend are along the lines of historical re-creations and, perhaps to a lesser degree, living history demonstrations. We seem to almost universally prefer the late-war two element code over the four element code (much prefered by the original old heads). Those re-enactors in the know can tell the difference when observing someone using the four element code, but 99 percent of spectators haven't a clew what we're doing with our floppings.

Like I said above, you'll always see me excited when I find someone working to improve the standard code we use as I believe that there is no perfect code and anything can be improved upon. Then too, some codes should be modified to fit the needs of a site-specific situation. Perhaps that's what you had in mind?

I have seen your Liberty Hill Signal Detachment roster listed up at:
http://www.bonnieblue.net/Departments/Signals/home.htm

within the page just below your roster is a nice example of a preconcerted code developed by a few of SCARD's early pioneers. It was actually developed over a span of about twenty years. The only exception I have with the code as it is listed on this web page is that it is not drawn up in two columns showing all of the combinations beginning with the numeral "one" in the left hand column and "twos" listed beside them on the right. The placement of the two columns does help get you started finding your decoding combination easier.

Another code group which sees a lot of service is the stutter code. The code is made up of dublets of "AA", "BB", "CC" and so forth. Next to these code letters are normally placed fix'd scenario locations, i.e. red barn, creek, Henry House Hill, fence line, or other features a commander may want to us as focal points. This code also has a great feature allowing you to create new phrases while the guns are still raging. Just send a stutter group which has nothing assigned to it (say... "QQ") followed by "EE". Then spell out the word you want to be represented by the stutter "QQ". When you send
"3.3.3." the word (or phrase if you like), spelled out, is then written in to the space next to "QQ". The next time "QQ" is transmitted in less than a quarter of a minute, the word or phrase is then read and acted upon. Two stutters never change. The one we just mentioned was "EE" and it stands for EQUALS. The second stutter is "MM" and it stands for MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The medical emergency code should always be a part of a chief signal officer's code packet. This code was developed by Signal Associate and Texas Department Representative Stephen H. Siemsen. We are using version No. 3 at present.

The preconcerted, stutter and medical emergency codes can all be printed on the same sheet of paper (usually eight and one-half by fourteen or legal sized paper) along with a blank pre-concert code printed on the reverse for filling in the who's-who list of scenario players. This is known as the signature code.

All of these codes ought to have control numbers assigned to them so as not to mix or confuse these sheets with others such documents carried along from past events or scenarios. Such mixing has caused the transmission of mis-staments in the past and, needless to say, much embarrassment to the re-enacting signal service.

I hope this explanation helps somewhat.
Walt
5-5-5

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