Signal Corps Report - CEDAR CREEK 2004

Cedar Creek After Action Report (2004)


       Please accept the following missive describing the actions of the 1st Div ANV Signal Corps. The following units under my direct command, were on station for the action at Cedar Creek on October 16th:

Liberty Hill Signals
York Signal Detachment
Signal Corps of the James

       We reported to the Signal Officer commanding Capt. Bob Stecker who coordinated Signals for the entire event for the Confederate Forces.

       I found that he had already set up cross line communications with the Federal CSO Capt Whittle. They would check in hourly with each other and I was VERY impressed with the cooperation showed by both sides.

       After I checked in with Capt Stecker I decided to travel to all the Signal Stations on the field for both sides. Capt. Scott Dailey accompanied me on this from the Signal Corps of the James. Capt. Dailey is attached to the 1st Div ANV Artillery Battalion and I was introduced to its commander. I promised him that I intended to utilize Capt. Dailey and that the Artillery would NOT be forgotten as far as signals were concerned. He seemed pleased with this and we moved on in our tour.

       We then stopped at a Yankee Station and while their commander was VERY nice, he pointed us over to Capt. Whitten’s headquarters station. I was cordially welcomed by the Union commander and was given a great deal of courtesy by his staff. I was happy to meet John Shultz and Captain Whittle. We discussed a lot concerning Signals and how we might improve it in the future. John’s wife is an ANGEL! She also cooks up a mean batch of Garlic Bacon! I pledged my total support to the idea of continued cooperation cross line. I look forward to working with John and Captain Whittle VERY closely in the future. We spoke of developing the wireless telegraph system. I cannot stress more strongly enough of the importance of us meeting face to face as often as possible. When we combine our knowledge we can accomplish great things.

       At my return to my station I was welcomed by the arrival of the York Signal Detachment from New York. I had heard of the good reputation of this unit and I was overjoyed to finally meet them and to make close friends of them immediately. They were a great group of people and I was later to find that they are accomplished and enthusiastic Signalmen.

       We received our orders from Capt Stecker and we were given the preconcerted codes he had devised for the scenario. These were VERY complete and enclosed a detailed section covering emergency procedures. This was on his part proved to be a wise decision.

       I assigned Capt Dailey to The Artillery as per his and the Artillery Commander’s request. I assigned Capt Cromwell’s Detachment to the Second Brigade under General Fighting Joe Pereira. Capt Stecker had requested that one of my people stay back at CS Headquarters and Pvt Otis from the York Signal Detachment volunteered to do this. The rest of the York Det. accompanied myself for deployment as a relay as the action unfolded.

       Captain Dailey signaled that the Artillery Commander requested a five-minute warning before the commencement of our action. This was relayed to the General and permission was granted. We made steady progress across the field. As the lines spread out I positioned the York Signals on our left Flank. I stayed with General Tolar and maintained line of sight with Capt. Cromwell and Capt Stecker. Captain Stecker also acted as a relay back to the Artillery. Communications went smoothly although the commanders seemed to anticipate the general’s orders and as we were sending the orders it was found that the unit was already executing the action. General Tolar was exceptional in encouraging the use of Signals by my command.

       At one point in the action a severe leg injury occurred. As the cease-fire was being sounded I located the downed soldier and immediately directed my Flagman Pvt. Weiss to signal the need for the EMTs and nature of the injury. This was essential as there were no radios present at the injury scene.

       I commend Pvt Weiss’ actions, as they were instrumental in the quick arrival of medical personnel.

       At this point the battle became a general rout and it was all we could do to keep up with our forces. As a thunderstorm overtook the battle, a ceasefire was signaled to me by Capt Stecker. This was then passed by myself to the commanders engaged.

       I would like to single out the actions of Capt Dailey for his diligence in directing the fire of the Artillery. I would also like to note the entire York Signal Detachment for their enthusiasm and willingness to adapt to all situations that arose.