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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 05/31/2003 11:39:26 EDT|
Subject: Signal Regulations Were Bendable
As we can see by the two-sleev'd insignia image of our sack-coated signal office clerk, Tom Wiggins, the wear'g of 'left-arm-only' sleeve patches was sometimes ignored, EVEN at US Signal Head-Quarters at Washington City. This image was captured less than a year after the August '64 insignia regulations were to have taken effect. Do you suppose that 'old Ben Fisher, his handful of field graders and his subalterns didn't give a hoot about his predecessor's (W.J.L.N.) instructions and allow'd such blatant disregards for uniformity? After pouring over the many images of what are believed to be war-time photographs of signallists, it is my belief that the only thing consistant in the Federal enlisted signallist's attire was the lack of same.
To our Re-enactor contingent: I just wanted to point out again that you have been blessed (actually on both sides of the conflict) with a latitude found in few quarters of living history presentations. You can practically dress the way you've always wanted (well maybe except for occasional misrepresentations of an on-going major or lieut. col. as detachment chief at events). Quite frankly, you can represent a dandy and get away with it while serving in the Corps. If you follow the photographs, then represent the orignal flag floppers, you are bound to get yourself in trouble with tunnel-visioned cookie-cutter'd re-enactro co's. The re-enactor unit commanders really don't know what we do, nor do they seldom even care to entertain such thoughts of individuality. In many cases, their main concern would be that if you were allowed to wear what was historically acceptable for men serving on detached service with the signal corps, their stamp'd-out cookie-cut volunteers may wish to follow suit. On the other hand, while I see some benefit for signallists wanting to raise a detachment from within or along side of a unit of another branch, signallists should not wish to restrict themselves to wearing period attire which is only blessed by the co-operating unit's headship. I could go on and on. As many of us know, these sorts of clothing restrictions oft times extend well up into an umbrella organization's so-called uniform requirements.
My best advice to those wishing to align with one of the other main three branches of the re-enactment community is to produce your documentation and indicate that while you appreciate the close reciprical comraderie, your little group of signallists are historically drawn from the ranks of all three of those main branches and therefore may not match up to the powers-that-be perception or definition of established local uniformity.
These are my thoughts. I'd like to hear yours, pro or con.
Signal Corps Association (1860-1865)