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2420Confederate Signal Stations

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  • flagflop
    Jan 4, 2006
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      This is an initial posting, so please bear with me. Brian's #2395 of 5 Dec 05 broached the subject of my interest in the Sneden map depicting CS signatl stations (my principal interest), which drew comments from Gerry and Professor Tom, especially as to Sneden's sources.

      I believe it is clear that Sneden was not present--not an eye-witness. As he states on the map which is displayed at AotW, he drew on maps and information available to him at Army HQ (presumably the Winder Bldgd in DC) in the days and weeks after the battle, and dates his compilation Oct 62.

      As to the Piper Farm location, the symbol Sneden uses is not that of a "rebel signal station" (for which he uses a solid black flag, in all cases but one questionable one,with notation), whereas he uses (curiously) a St. Andrew's cross for US signal stations. Hence the one he depicts at the Piper Farm is intended to be Union, post-battle. His other Union stations generally conform to the OR Atlas locations.

      Among various sources, CS use of the Lutheran Church was noted in the c1906 guide, "The Battlefield of Antietam," (R.C. Miller-Oliver T. Riley), unnumbered pages 6-7 of Riley's "Stories of Antietam," and in a walking tour guide, cited by Frassanito (of which I have a photo-copy).

      Stuart's report (OR 19) cites his Chief Signal Officer, Capt. R.E. Frayser, for observations reported from a hill overlooking the battle. (I had long assumed that this was on the left flank, but can't rule out the right, and also saw this as implying a station at Lee's HQ). These "two" were my sole holdings back in 1979, when I provided background information to Betty Otto, librarian at Antietam NPS.

      It may be going too far to assume that the signal stations were netted or used for inter-communication, as opposed to the other main function, observation and reporting. But the Sneden map has me thinking that perhaps there was an "interior lines" net for tactical exchanges, better laid out than credited, with "anchors" on either flank and stations at critical points, north, center, "center-forward"(?--the church), and south with one at HQ. It's this (to me awkward) way of referring to these new sites that prompted my posting, hoping that we might be able to resolve discrepancies in Sneden's compilation, equate to identifiable locations, and adopt some agreed-upon site names.

      Dave Gaddy
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