STOP #11

       This station was occupied on 8 July by Lieut. George A. Fisher, who was directed here by Capt. Nicodemus. It had little utility as a station of communication or as a station of observation. Lieut. Fisher was forced to move further up the ridge in order to communicate with the necessary stations. The high ground you observe'd on the left as you drove up the mountain is the area to which Fisher relocated his station. Lieut. Fisher explains in his report.

Report of Lieut. George A. Fisher, Acting Signal Officer, Washington Reserve Signal Party


       I have the honor to submit the following report of duty performed since July 6, 1863.

George A. Fisher

       On the evening of the 6th, was ordered to precede the main party, with Lieutenants Herzog and Rushby, and with our men accompany and guard the wagon train to Frederick, Md., where we arrived on the 8th instant, and immediately reported to you at your headquarters. About an hour afterward I received orders from you to proceed without delay to Crampton's Gap, in the South Mountain Range, and open communication with Middletown, Maryland Heights, and South Mountain, if possible, and take observations of the movements of the enemy. I endeavored that evening to open communication, but was unable to find a point where I could see more than one of the stations, and after calling Maryland Heights for some time, was obliged to give it up for the night. Early next morning I moved across the gap, and proceeded along the ridge about 3 miles, and selected a station from which, with some labor, I was enabled to communicate with both Middletown and Maryland Heights, .thus completing the line of stations between Maryland Heights and Hagerstown.

       On the 12th instant, Captains [Joseph] Gloskoske and [Richard] Dinsmore received orders from Captain Norton to close up the station at Middletown and rejoin his command. I was then obliged to find some other station with which to keep up the line of communication, and was enabled to do so with Lieutenant Briggs, who was at Elk Ridge, in communication, with South Mountain. Owing to the state of the weather, for the most of the time we were unable to take many observations, but embraced every opportunity that presented itself ...

[O.R., XXV-II, Part I,-pp. 213-214.]

       As evidenced by the movement to establish line of sight with other stations described in Lieut. Fisher's report, it does not appear that maps were used to establish line of sight profiles for the potential signal stations. This was probably due to the lack of maps with sufficient contour detail as well as the fact that the art simply had not progressed that far. There is no mention of the use of maps for this purpose in Col. Myer's A Manual. Col. Myer's visual method for establishing signal stations is as interesting as it is intricate. It is described in his manual as follows:

       To open a line of stations across a country, first choose some prominent position, and one well visible; and here establish the initial station. Let the party assemble here. Let them, together, select a second prominent point in view as nearly as possible in the line of direction you wish to take. Upon the first station, erect some kind of beacon - as a white or other colored signal-flag; or some marked object, by which it can be recognized from a distance. Take from this first point the bearing by compass of the point selected. This second point should be one not only visible from the initial point, but one also probably in view from positions beyond it. Note should be made of some peculiar house, rock, tree, or other marked object upon it, in order that the exact place may be recognized when it is reached. At the first point, now marked with its beacon, station an officer to reply to any signals he may see, and to watch the course of the marching party. The other officers will then move, guided by compass, if need be toward the second point selected, carrying a signal-flag flying, in order that their position may be known whenever they come in view from the first station, and intently watched by the officer left at that station, the marching party will, from time to time, put itself in communication with the first station, so as to receive from it any direction as to its course the first station may wish to give, or any other information. It will also frequently verify its course by compass. On reaching the point chosen for the second station, a beacon or flag will be there erected, observations will be made, and communication will be opened with the first station. Points, on either side or to the rear, will be examined, to see if the second station can be better located than it is with reference to a third station to be next established. The second station will then be definitely established and marked, and an officer there stationed, as before at the first station, to watch the marching party. The point for the third station will be hence chosen,. and the party will proceed toward it with the same general rules as before. These operations will be repeated in the case of each rminal station is reached. station, until the te Attempts will be afterward made to reduce the number of intermediate stations by finding other and better points at which to locate some of them.

Now you should drive to STOP 12.

       Go back down GAPLAND ROAD and turn right on ROUTE 67. Drive 5.4 miles and turn LEFT on MT. CARMEL CHURCH ROAD. Drive 0.3 miles and it turns into DOGSTREET ROAD- Continue for 2.1 miles and turn LEFT on RED HILL ROAD. You are now on ELK MOUNTAIN. Drive 1.2 miles and stop in the parking lot of the MCCLELLAN GUN CLUB.


STOP #11

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