Signal Corps Event Report - Chickamauga, Georgia 1999


Chickamauga, Georgia 135th Anniversary

Reports Subitted to
Walt Mathers
Signal Bureau, Marley Creek, Maryland


On September 16, a telegraph line was ordered strung by Telegraph Superintendent Kevin Saville through the refugee village at the Chickamauga, Georgia, reenactment. Unlike Washington State events where Saville's construction parties use temporary lance poles as employed by the "flying telegraph", this distant operation only required using such trees as were available in the area. Sisal twine was employed to suspend the insulated single strand 14 gauge copper wire. An office board, having a camelback key, 150 ohm main line relay, and 4 ohm sounder were connected at one end of the wire and one of Saville's 150 ohm pocket relays was connected at the other. Two 12 volt rechargeable batteries provided current for the line. Forty milliamperes flowed through the earth ground-return circuit...not quite ideal, but sufficient.

Walt Mathers, of Glen Burnie, Maryland provided exemplary service as a telegrapher and interpreter at the end of the line during this two day event. Six young lads and three lassies of the refugee camp were quite intrigued by the telegraph; Mathers soon had the lot of them (all reported to be home-schoolers) sending messages back and forth via the army dot code. A father of some of the boys commented that he had never seen the youngsters take to a re-enactment activity with such vigor. This gentleman has since E-wired SCARD's A&IGO requesting to know how the multi-family group from Arlington, Texas, can acquire at least a few telegraph instruments for use at future events. Mathers intends to use this opportunity to connect these young "posting" operators with the Texas re-enacting head-quarters at Galveston.

Gentlemen, it is with great satisfaction that I offer the above report and earnestly wish to remain, Sirs, Your Obedient Servant,

Kevin Saville
Superintendent of Telegraph Operations for Washington Territory and Oregon,
Signal Corps Association Reenactors' Division (SCARD) State Representative for Washington,
& member, Morse Telegraph Club.

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Headquarters Signal Det. 1st Conf. Div.
Camp near Lima, Ohio September 24, 1999


The Signal Det. of the 1st Conf. Div., with 18 men, performed the following duties on the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of this month.

16th: We performed messenger duty for the headquarters of the division, running a total of 14 messages to the Brigades.

17th: We did messenger duty for the headquarters of the division (total of 8). We had 3 Signal parties in the field in support of the Provost department. Here we used our 1st relay around a hill, and it worked very well.

18th: We put 4 parties in the field for the 0600H battle.  Darkness, fog and smoke cut our visibility to minimum. After the sun came up, we did signal to the Brigades in the field. At the 0830H battle, we had 5 parties in the field. We communicated with the Brigades as they maneuvered on the field. We had one error on the signals sent. At the 1400H battle, we placed 5 parties in the field with our relay. We were very successful with our duties. The relay worked very well around a hill and the woods.

19th: We put 5 parties in the field. There was some mix-up with where the Brigades were going to be. This caused our relay to be out of the Battle. We were able to work with about 80% of the Brigades in the field. We sent the signal to start the battle.

Changes that Signals will be making before Wilson's Creek: Have a 72x72 inch flag on 10ft pole for relay.  Ask for more time to set up a Signal plan. {10 min. is a bit short}   Hopefully, have a few more troops to work with.

I would like to thank the General and his Staff for all the help in making this a great event. I have also to call the attention of the General commanding of the work put out by 2nd Lt. Bob Hodges, Capt. Fred Purmont, 2nd Lt. Randy McCoy, and 2nd Lt. George Scott. And all
the troops who assisted.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dale Alkire
Captain, CSO.

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