Thursday, July 14, 2005

Richard Lewis in the Civil War: Signal Corps

As described in the previous post, Richard Lewis enlisted as a corporal in an artillery unit in August 1862. On January 12, 1864 Richard transferred to the Signal Corps.

The Signal Corps were in charge of communications, usually using signal flags, torches or lamps to send encrypted messages. They were also involved in setting up temporary telegraph lines in the field. Assignment to the signal corps required successfully passing an examination, followed by special training at Red Hill, Georgetown, D.C. in signaling systems (flags and telegraph) and codes used.

We know little about the details of Richard's service in the Signal Corps. According to one roster, he was assigned to the Department of North Carolina. The Department of North Carolina was part of the Eighteenth Corps. However, we do not know where exactly Richard served while with this unit.

Richard was mustered out on July 1, 1865, 18 months after his transfer to the Signal Corps and after almost 3 years in the army, with the rank of corporal. At that time, he probably returned home to Trevorton.

In 1866 Richard Lewis enrolled in the Polytechnic College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. See post here.

Roster of the US ARmy Signal Corps (use your browser's "find" feature to jump to Lewis, Richard)
The Story of the Signal Corps
"A Manual of Signals: For The Use Of Signal Officers In The Field." (Washington DC, 1864)
Civil War Signal Corps and United States Military Telegraph (this is the site of a reenaction group, with lots of historical information about the equipment used by the Signal Corps).
History of the Signal Corps
another History of the Signal Corps in the Civil War (with the signal code)
General History of the Signal Corps

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