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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 06/15/2010 11:30:59 EDT
Subject: A Need for a Corps

Message Detail:
Headquarters Army Of The Potomac,

Office Of The Signal Officer,

Washington, November 30,1861[?].

[To:] Hon. Simon Cameron,
Secretary of War:

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following summary report of signal operations, together with estimate for signal supplies for the proper equipment of the Army of the United States for the period ending June 30,1862
* * * * * * * *

"A corps of signal officers is now instructed. These officers can be distributed as instructors. In three mouths from the day on which the course above recommended is decided upon and ordered every brigade in the service can be supplied with the means for signal communication.

"The successful use of field signals by the rebel forces in the battles of July 18 and July 21 [1861] warn us that if we are to meet them on equal terms organizations of this kind are necessary.

"If signals are used as they ought to be during the existing rebellion, a number of signal officers will be constantly on duty. It is not possible to find better material for this duty than can be found among the regimental officers of volunteers. They are, however, when detailed, subject to a peculiar hardship. By their absence from their companies they lose the chance of promotion by election. There is now no path open for their advancement by their services, no matter how distinguished, on this especial duty. This is not just.

"If officers are needed by the United States for this service, and are expected to risk their lives in its discharge, they ought to be fairly provided for. If there are fears that there might be thus fastened upon the people of the United States a number of offices sinecure, the offices may be made to terminate with the war or at the will of the President.

"With the view to the formation of a temporary corps to serve during the present emergency, I would recommend that there be requested the enactment by Congress of an act authorizing the President to appoint, upon the recommendation of the general commanding, and for service during the present war, so many signal officers with the rank of captains or lieutenants, and so many enlisted men as non-commissioned signal officers, as he may deem necessary, provided that the number of captains shall not exceed one for each military department, and provided further that every officer shall be, before receiving his appointment, examined and approved by a competent military board convened for the purpose."

Albert J. Myer
Signal Officer, U.S. Army
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpted from Pages 695 & 696 of SERIES 111.-VOL. I.

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1860, TO MARCH 31, 1862.'


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