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Posted By: Tom Ryan on: 11/24/2007 23:34:34 EDT
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While doing some research on naval ops during the CW, I came across this passage in ORN, Series 1, Volume 4, pp. 467-68. It was sent by the officer in charge of the USS Mount Vernon from inside Windmill Point on the Rappahannock River on May 16, 1861:
"Discovering a pole at the end of a point, went on shore in an armed boat; found halyards attached to it; considered it erected to show a false light, cut it down, and sent word to the people living in the neighborhood the reason for my doing so. Learned that during the night it had been guarded by a party of eighteen armed men, and that it was the first of a system of poles used for telegraphic purposes between the point and Fredericksburg, lights being hoisted at night and flags by day. Afterwards noticed similar poles further up the river, time of communication with Fredericksburg being from one to two hours."
An endorsement message to the above states that "Some of the poles mentioned in the report we saw on our passage up the Rappahannock. They were erected by surveying party some years since."
Appreciate it if someone could explain the significance of these messages. It sounds like it may be a signal relay system.
Tom Ryan


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