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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 06/28/2010 17:50:22 EDT
Subject: Guilford, Belmont & Leesburg Stations on the Map?

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Tom,

The Guilford signal station (on Little Pony Mtn. - actually just a high hill) was just north of General Reynold's head-quarters at the Lane House situated in Vestal Pike. Vestal Pike an older road than the Leesburgh Pike and paralleled it to the south side. That pike had fallen into disuse until the Federal army began using it as a secondary military artery. Unless I do not recollect rightly, the unfinished rail road right-of-way to the south of Vestal, where the telegraph pole line already extended back to Fairfax Court House, had been designated as Guilford Station by the rail road company. I'm guessing from my last visit to this site that the distance from the flag station to the wire office would have been between two and three hundred yards.

Out to the west of Little Pony Mtn. a Federal station had been established at Belmont Ridge to serve as a relay station with the Leesburg Station , which some believe was located just southwest of and behind the town of Leesburg, Virginia up on the crest of Blue Ridge Mtn. It is unknown to me at this time if Leesburg had a clear line-of-sight with Loudon Heights (opposite MD Hgts, a.k.a. Harpers Ferry).

Although the dates of operation are not at my fingertips, it is known that a station at Leesburg was also placed in communication with Sugarloaf Mtn. via intermediate stations at Poolsville, and (occasionally) Barnesville, MD.

Sugarloaf connected with a station in Frederick, MD where a main stem B&ORR wire was kept up to Washington City via the Relay House near Baltimore.

A terminus wire ran southeast to Washington City via Rockville out of Poolesville.

So effectively, the Union forces may have had three accessible aerial-electric telegraph routes which comprised Washington's 1863 early warning system.

Interesting isn't it?

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