The exact location of the Jack's Mountain signal station is not known. However, this location gives you a sense of the panoramic view which was available to the signal team operating on this mountain. Take your compass and orient yourself by sighting the National Tower at 70 degrees. Now you can find Little Round Top at 73 degrees. Looking to the left you can see the dome of the Pennsylvania monument and the obelisk of the Congressional monument. Realizing that there was less timber on the field in 1863, you can see that a signal team on this mountain would have had a clear view of troop movements.

       This station was occupied by Capt. C. S. Kendall and Lieut. L. R. Fottescue who were ordered here by Capt. Norton when he was at Emmitsburg enroute to the battlefield. They were able to establish flag signals with Taneytown but were never successful in opening flag signals with the Little Round Top station. Confederate troop movements were visible to include the initial formations massing for Pickett's Charge. This information was signaled to Taneytown but not to the Round Top station. The signalmen at Little Round Top were clearly visible and Lieut. Fortescue sent a courier to the battlefield to tell Capt. Norton that the team could see the Round Top station.

[J. Willard Brown, Signal Corps, U.S.A. in the War of the Rebellion,
New York, Arno Press, 1974, p. 370]

       The information which could have been made available to the Commanding General if the signal officers were more aggressive in contacting each other might have influenced the action. The lack of control exercised by Capt. Norton over the various stations was a limiting factor in the effectiveness of the Signal Corps at this stage in the campaign.

       After the battle was over, Capt. Kendall and Lieut. Fortescue were captured by the Confederates. J. Willard Brown, the historian of the U.S. Veteran Signal Corps Association, tells the interesting story:

       On Saturday morning, July 4th, at about 6 o'clock, a farmer rode up to the station and hurriedly informed the signal party there stationed that the rebel cavalry (a squad of about twenty) were coming down the Millerstown Pike, intending to capture them, that they had fed and watered their horses at his place during the night, and had been heard to refer to the signal flag, which they remarked would be looked after at daylight.

       Being thoroughly satisfied of the truth of this report from the numerous cavalry squads seen on the pike, the signalmen were soon in their saddles and were shown a road not much frequented, which led them to the Millerstown road near Emmitsburg. Arriving at the latter town, they made a detour of the Catholic College and were soon galloping hard for Taneytown. Later in the day, when near the latter place, they met the advance of Kilpatrick's Division of cavalry going in the direction of Emmittsburg, and, as they had received no orders to leave their station, they returned with them to again occupy it.

       When they reached the town it was dark and raining quite hard, a night wholly impracticable for signalling, but with the hope that it might clear away they dismounted under a shed and awaited the rear the cavalry then slowly passing through the town. At twelve o'clock, the last of them had passed.

       They had been informed by members of Kilpatrick's staff that Lee's entire army had retreated through the Montery or Fairfield Gap, and that our army would advance at daylight. Acting upon this information, not having had a word from Capt. Norton, and realizing the impossibility of using torches or of seeing the opposite station in such a rain, as well as the extreme probability of a change of stations owing to Lee's repulse, they turned into a barn near the foot of the mountain, stationed a man on guard near the road, while Kendall and Fortescue made a bed on the floor of the house adjoining.

       Before daylight, Stuart's cavalry having been cut off by Kilpatrick, who occupied the gap in Lee's rear, commenced retreating southward to find an unoccupied gap, and, although the enemy's cavalry were on the roads all around them within three hours after they had lain down, the guard did not recognize the rebels but supposed them to be Kilpatrick's men.

       As daylight dawned, he discovered his mistake and awoke the rest of the party, but too late. The thieving propensity of the rebel cavalry for horseflesh soon led them to the barn, and before very long the signal detachment had taken up the line of march for Richmond.

[J. Willard Brown, Signal Corps, U.S.A. in the War of the Rebellion,
New York, Arno Press, 1974, pp. 370-371.]

       The conduct of signal officers had become a concern to the Chief Signal Officer who issued a General Order in June of 1863 which outlined a "code of conduct." There had been cases where the actions of signal officers had caused panic and confusion within the Army, and this order is interesting in that it not only prescribe conduct to prevent over-reaction from exaggerated reports but also outlines proper conduct in the face of the enemy to prevent capture or compromise of equipment or information which would have an intelligence value to the enemy.

General Order issued by Col Albert J. Myer, Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Army


    No.9, Washington, D.C., June 26, 1863.

  1.     It having come to the knowledge of the Signal Officer of the Army that,in some instances officers of the Signal Corps have transmitted information by signals of such a character as to produce alarm, uproar, and confusion among troops, and the inhabitants of town or cities with which they may be in communication, which reports have often been without foundation, the officer thereby being guilty of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline, it is hereby ordered and enjoined that all signal officers shall be held fully responsible and amenable to the military regulations of the Army for such stampede reports forwarded without foundation or forethought of this.

  2.     Under all circumstances must officers corps be fully cognizant of the responsibility resting upon them as proper and reliable sources of information or means of communications, such information being in most cases for the use of the commanding general or other officers commanding troops, and being the foundation of important movements or operations of the Army or Navy.

  3.     Reports must be make fully, concise, and clear, detailing all important discoveries, such as movements of the enemy, direction taken, probable numbers, whether artillery, cavalry, or infantry, and their position taken by compass from the station of observation. They must be made quietly, and written or delivered without the slightest exaggeration or excitement.

  4.     Should the enemy be discovered advancing toward an officer or station, the signal party must not fall back until it is absolutely necessary to prevent capture, previously reporting to headquarters the advance of the enemy, and then a retreat must be effected quietly, and as much under cover as possible, taking care to create no needless alarm.

  5.     Every precaution must be taken that no signal apparatus, glasses, or papers of any description fall into the hands of the enemy. If necessary to prevent capture, everything will be destroyed.

  6.     Chief signal officers of departments-or army corps are required to see that the provisions of this order are fully carried out and that it is promulgated to every officer of the detachment. Nothing gives to commanding generals greater confidence in their informants than to see that they at least are not in the slightest degree excited, stampeded, or alarmed.

  7.     It is designed that the officers and men of this corps shall become known and noticed throughout the Army for their bravery, coolness, and reliability under the most trying circumstances. Every officer not only bears upon himself the responsibility of sustaining his individual honor and reputation, but the honor of a corps performing its duties in the dangerous undertaking of establishing stations of observation and communication almost within the lines of the enemy and amid all the perils of the battlefield.

By order of the Signal Officer of the Army:

Captain and Signal Officer.

[O.R.,SERIES III-VOLUME III, pp. 417-418.]

       Securing the signal station from the enemy to prevent capture or the compromise of information was a concern which was expressed in Col. Myer's A Manual.

       Stations must be kept concealed from the enemy so far as is possible. On stations of observation solely, no flags will be shown and no persons permitted except those a ctually on duty. Every precaution will be taken to prevent the enemy ascertaining the purpose for which the point is occupied. When communication by signals is needed, the flag will be screened from observation, if it can be, and in any case it will be shown only while t ransmitting messages ...

[Albert J. Myer, A Manual of Signals,
New York, D. Van Nostrand, 1868, p. 250.]

Now you should return to you automobile and drive to STOP 8.

       Go back to JACK'S MOUNTAIN ROAD and turn LEFT. Drive 1.5 miles and turn left on SR 16. Drive 6.4 miles to EMMITSBURG. Turn RIGHT at the stoplight and drive 0.5 miles to HWY 15. Turn RIGHT and drive 1.1 miles to MT. SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE. Exit HWY 15 to the RIGHT and enter the parking lot of the college. Park by the visitor's center. The signal site was on the hill which you can see directly behind the college. You may ask in the visitors center for directions to the hiking trail. The hill is open to the public. The hill is heavily timbered and visibility is limited. You may wish to read the material here in the parking lot.



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