War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0820 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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officer was detailed as instructor, there being no application made for one.

In July, 1863, by order of the War Department, instruction in military signals and telegraphy was made part of the course of instruction for the Military Academy. The course embraced instruction in the drill and management of signal parties, the theory and practical use of aerial and electric telegraphy, and a thorough field practice with the field-line mode used in the Army.

The result of instruction at the Naval Academy has been quite satisfactory. Commodore Blake, superintendent of the U. S. Naval Academy, writes under date of September 17, 1864, that-

The graduating class has had about six weeks" instruction in the recitation room, and during the practice cruise of about four months almost daily practice, in the system. The midshipmen of this class are quite expert in making and reading the signals.

It has now been proven beyond all doubt that the enemy uses the plans of signals first introduced into our armies. His system has stood still, whereas ours has been so improved as to render it secure against any treachery. This enables us to read his signals, while ours can never be deciphered by him.

The officers of the Army and Navy should understand both systems thoroughly, in order to take advantage of their merits and defects.

In April last formal request was made by the Secretary of the Navy for the Army system of signals, with its most recent changes, to be introduced into the naval service and taught in the Naval Academy.

In answer to this request the War Department replied, under date of April 16, 1864, that-

Colonel Albert J. Myer, Signal Officer of the Army, has been directed to furnish for the use of the Naval Academy the code of instruction prepared by him, with proper illustrations and directions for naval use.

These directions to Colonel Myer, I am informed, were never received by him.

The only paper I find bearing upon this subject in addition to the above is the following indorsement of February 6, 1862, by order of the commander-in-chief, upon a communication from the Navy Department, January 31, 1862, and signed by Andrew A. Harwood, chief of Bureau:

Respectfully referred to Major A. J. Myer.

The commander-in-chief directs me to say that he sees no objection, and it may in many cases by an advantage to use the same system of signals in both Army and Navy under the same precautions. He would, therefore, be glad if you will make the necessary arrangements to accomplish the object.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Upon this authority Major Myer furnished the Army code of signals to the Naval Academy.

It is recommended that such orders be issued as will secure such instruction at the U. S. Military and Naval Academies as is contemplated by the Department. (Appendix A, papers, A, B, C, D, and H.)*


The history of field telegraphs, as far as the Signal Corps is concerned, shows that as early as August 6, 1861, the Signal Officer of the Army