This position was not a signal station. However, because of the increase in timber growth on the battlefield, this tower offers the best view of the signal stations on the field. Climb the observation tower and orient yourself to the other signal sites on the battlefield. While you can't use your compass due to the metal in the tower, most of the sites can be located by using the round sighting device located in the center of the observation deck.

       During the period of the Gettysburg Campaign, signal officers and soldiers were trained in a number of ways. Many received little or no formal training other than on-the-job. The Army's formal signal training was instituted in August 1861, with the creation of the Signal Camp of Instruction at Red Hill, near Georgetown, D.C. The camp served as the Army's primary center for training signal soldiers. A description of the Signal Camp of Instruction is in Appendix II.

       Col. Myer established a signal drill whch was patterned after the manual of arms then in use. These training drills were used at the Signal Camp of Instruction as well as smaller unit sponsored schools and on the job training within the signal parties. Myer wrote his manual in 1864 but the drills were in common use prior to the manual being published. A Manual of lengthy and tends to be redundant, but it certainly does not want for detail. The following excerpts from the chapter on signal instruction gives a flavor of the style of training popular at the time.

       Experience has shown that as, in the Manual of Arms, the soldier must be continually drilled to maintain his full efficiency, so in the practice of signalling, a drill, regular and habitual, is needed to fit either officer or man for the duty in the first place, and to retain them then with that skill which is needed in the moment of danger and of actual war.

       The instruction should commence with the study of the principles of signalling, and the theories of their general use. The pupil should be well grounded in this study before practice is entered upon. He should then be required to commit to memory certain signal alphabets to be used; and these are to be so thoroughly memorized that no signal combination will require thought to determine its meaning. The General Service Flag and Homographic Codes are to be committed in this manner. To this follows practice in the recitation-room with the "wand," a slender rod about eighteen inches long, - the class reading messages signalled by the instructor in the alphabets learned, rapid movements of the wand; or practising in couples, transmitting messages with the wand to each other during the hours set aside for study,-until each is able to read messages of what ever character signalled with the greatest rapidity of motion that can be given. And in this portion of the course should be included practice with codes of different numbers of elements, and signalled by different modes of position or of motion, until the pupil is well accustomed to rapidly read and make the signals. He is practised also in rapidly repeating signals as they are made to him, both according to the plans given for returning signals to the sending station ...

[Albert J. Myer, A Manual of Sicinals,
New York, D. Van Nostrand, 1866, pp. 220-221.]

Memoirs of Captain Gustavus S. Danna, U.S. Army Signal Corps

       On Reporting at H.Hd [Hilton Head] I was obliged to take a solemn oath never to have in my possession anything that our code might be written on, never to tell it to anyone, not even our flagmen unless by proper a thority. Then I was furnished a kit & glasses and sent to Beaufort for instruction with the understanding that if not ready for duty in 30 days I would be expected to return to my regt. there were four of us 2nd Lts. in the same detail. Each of us had selected 4 enlisted men from our regts who were also detailed by the same order.

       The code written on a sheet of paper was handed me by Lt [Townsend L.] Hatfield with instructions to commit it to memory and then destroy the paper. It was terrible hard at first but about midnight I had the alphabet and then spelled books full till most morning and lighted my pipe with the paper the code was on just at streak of dawn.

       Then we had the men to learn how to make the motions. It looked simple to wave a flag but it takes considerable practice even after you know how to make the motions to prevent wrapping the flag about the pole. The officers stationed at Beaufort were [Charles F.] Cross, [Townsend L.] Hatfield, [Franklin E.] Town & [W.H.] Hammer and they gladly let us work the station as soon as we could without making mistakes for it gave them more time for fun ...

[Captain G. S. Dana,
"The Recollections of a Signal Officer",
edited by Lester L. Swift,,Civil War History,
State Universitv of Iowa, Vol IX, No I, March 1963, p. 38.]

Return to your automobile and drive to STOP 5.

       Proceed down the hill on SLOCUM AVENUE and stop beside the road across from the equestrian statue of MAJ. GEN. SLOCUM. Walk across the road to the grassy area surrounding the statue.



Next Stop