Chapter III

1 WDGO 124, 17 Oct 1890. The act is also printed in ARSO, 1891, p. 3, in ARSW, 1891, vol. 4.

2 As specified in WDGO 27, 9 Mar 1891, the Corps' appropriation consisted of: personnel, $64,296; equipment, $7,500; military telegraph lines, $15,000; all totaling $86,796.

3 On the initial development of the cart, see ARSO, 1892, p. 596 and app. C, pp. 622-23, in ARSW, 1892, vol. 1. After the separation of the weather service, the chief signal officer's annual report is published in volume 1 of the secretary of war's report unless otherwise stated. The chief signal officer reported Allen's accomplishment in ARSO, 1894, p. 492.

4 David L. Woods, A History of Tactical Communication Techniques (Orlando, Fla.: Martin Company, Martin-Marietta Corporation, 1965), pp. 116-20.

5 ARSO, 1892, pp. 597-98 and app. A, pp. 612-18. The U.S. Coast Survey perfected this method of determining longitude during the 1840s and 1850s. See Carlene E. Stephens, "Before Standard Time: Distributing Time in 19th-Century America," Vistas in Astronomy 28 (1985): 113-18.

6 ARS0, 1893, pp. 647-48 and Rpt, 1st Lt Joseph E. Maxfield to the Chief Signal Officer, 16 Jul 1893, pp. 661-62. See also Porter, Paper Medicine Man, pp. 284-91.

7 ARSO, 1894, pp. 489-91; ARSO, 1895, pp. 581-82; Matloff, ed., American Military History, p. 286; Historical Sketch, p. 31; Cooper, Army and Civil Disorder, ch. 6.

8 ARSO, 1893, app. A, p. 657.

9 ARS0, 1894, pp. 483-84.

10 Ibid., pp. 483-84 and 491; ARSO, 1895, pp. 575-77; ARSO, 1896, p. 595. Capt. Howard A. Giddings, a Signal Corpsman in the Connecticut National Guard, was the author of a Manual for Cyclists (Kansas City, Mo.: Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co., 1898). On the uses of the bicycle by European armies as well as by the United States, see Henry H. Whitney, "The Adaptation of the Bicycle to Military Uses," JMSI 17 (Nov 1895): 542-63.

11 Greely made this request as early as 1892. In 1897 the Signal Corps installed a cable between Governors Island and Ellis Island in New York Harbor in conjunction with the Bureau of Immigration. See ARSO, 1897, p. 667.

12 The act creating the Board of Ordnance and Fortification is published in WDGO 76, 5 Oct 1888. For a discussion of fire direction and the operation of the board, see Emanuel Raymond Lewis, Seacoast Fortifications of the United States: An Introductory History (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1970), pp. 75-95. See also Matloff, ed., American Military History, p. 294, and Russell J. Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes: Military Aeronautics in the United States, 1863-1907" (Ph.D. disser­tation, Duke University, 1963), ch. 7.

13 Greely, Reminiscences, pp. 162-63.

14 See Thompson's report in ARSO, 1889, app. 1, p. 48, published in ARSW, 1889, vol. 4, pt. 1.

15 Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," p. 46; ARSO, 1891, p. 6.

16 ARS0, 1892, p. 9 and app. B.

17 Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," p. 61. Chapter 3 of this dissertation describes the Signal Corps' efforts to obtain the balloon.

18 Ibid., pp. 20-21 and 62-68. See also Charles deForest Chandler and Frank P. Lahm, How Our Army Grew Wings (Chicago: Ronald Press Company, 1943), pp. 42-43.

19 Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," chs. 3 and 4. Thompson's report on ballooning in ARSO, 1892, Appendix B, reflects the Signal Corps' plans for the train rather than the realities. Written in October 1892, the Corps had not yet purchased the Myer. At that time the Corps intended to purchase a British silk balloon. Hydrogen generation had been a problem since the earliest days of ballooning. For a description of how it was done in the 1780s, see Crouch, Eagle Aloft, page 81 and the illustration on page 121.

20 ARSO, 1894, p. 490.

21 ARSO, 1895, p. 581; Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," pp. 74-75.

22 Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," pp. 70-97. For information on Ivy Baldwin, whose real name was William Ivy, and his service with the Signal Corps' balloon detachment, see Crouch, Eagle Aloft, ch. 16.

23 Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," p. 52. Lt. Thompson in his 1891 report refers to the Corps' assumption of "the functions of a bureau of military information, which have been imposed upon it by law." See his report in ARSO, 1891, app. 1, p. 43. See also Elizabeth Bethel, "The Military Information Division: Origin of the Intelligence Division," Military Affairs 11 (Spring 1947): 17-24; Marc B. Powe, "The Emergence of the War Department Intelligence Agency: 1885-1918" (M.A. thesis, Kansas State University, 1974), pp. 20-24.

24 ARSO, 1895, p. 588. The cataloging project resulted in the publication of a List of Photographs and Photographic Negatives Relating to the War for the Union, Now in the War Department Library (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1897).

25 Matloff, ed., American Military History, p. 287; Coffman, The Old Army, p. 251.

26 See Rpt, Pvt Alexander McAdie to the Chief Signal Officer, 26 Sep 1882, in ARSO, 1883, app. 67, pp. 650-51.

27 U.S. War Department, The Organized Militia of the United States: Statement of the Condition and Efficiency for Service of the Organized Militia from Annual Reports, and Other Sources, Covering the Year 1897 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1898), pp. 381, 430-36 (hereafter cited as Organized Militia with year).

28 Volkmar's report is quoted from in ARSO, 1892, p. 605. Volkmar served on special duty during the strike at the request of the governor of Pennsylvania. See Cullum, Biographical Register, 4: 182. Volkmar was West Point graduate number 2249. See also Organized Militia, 1893, p. 114.

29 Leon Wolff, Lockout: The Story of the Homestead Strike of 1892: A Study of Violence, Unionism, and the Carnegie Steel Empire (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 131.

30 On Greely's personnel requests, see ARSO, 1894, pp. 488 and 490-91; ARSO, 1895, pp. 579 and 582; ARSO, 1896, p. 601.

31 Matloff, ed., American Military History, pp. 322-23; Official Army Register, 1898, pp. 346-47, gives the Army's aggregate strength as 28,267.

32 ARSO, 1898, p. 903, in ARSW, 1898, vol. 1. pt. 1. Both this annual report and that for 1899 are published in Scheips, ed., Military Signal Communications, vol. 1.

33 WDGO 52, 24 May 1898.

34 Congress enacted legislation in July 1898 repealing the provision for the detailing of signal officers to the Weather Bureau. See WDGO 103, 21 Jul 1898.

35 In particular, the states of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Indiana, and Iowa. Under the provisions of the acts of 22 and 26 April 1898 outlining the organization of the wartime Army, National Guard units entering the volunteer force were required to conform to the organization of Regular Army units. Because the Regular Army did not contain signal units, these specialized state units were not accepted into federal service. See Graham A. Cosmas, An Army for Empire: The United States in the Spanish-American War (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1971), pp. 109-10 and 114-15.

36 Howard A. Giddings, Exploits of the Signal Corps in the War with Spain (Kansas City, Mo.: Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co., 1900), p. 20. Giddings served as a captain in the Volunteer Signal Corps.

37 See ARSO, 1898, pp. 891-95 and app. 6, pp. 966-68. See also Giddings, Exploits of the Signal Corps, pp. 114-16.

38 See Rpt, Col James Allen to the Chief Signal Officer, 1 Sep 1898 in ARSO, 1898, app. 3, pp. 946-49. On the presence of agents supplying information from Cuba he simply states (p. 946): "Arrangements were made by which confidential information could be obtained from Cuba." G. J. A. O'Toole in The Spanish War. An American Epic-1898 (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1984), identifies the Cuban informant as Domingo Villaverde (see pp. 207-15).

39 After the war, a board of inquiry investigated Schley's activities of 19-29 May and strongly criticized him in its report. For a detailed discussion of the Cuban blockade, see David F. Trask, The War with Spain in 1898 (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1981), ch. 6. See also Cosmas, Army for Empire, pp. 177-80 and William T. Sampson, "The Atlantic Fleet in the Spanish War," The Century Magazine 57 (Apr 1899): 886-913.

40 See ARSO, 1898, pp. 880-882 and Colonel Allen's report at app. 3. Allen is cited in WDGO 15, 13 Feb 1900. See also Allen's obituary in Annual Report of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York (1934), p. 56 (hereafter cited as USMA Graduates Report). Giddings, Exploits of the Signal Corps, pp. 28-36, contains an account of Allen's cable-cutting mission.

41 See ARSO, 1898, pp. 882-83 and Allen's report at appendix 3 cited above. On naval cable-cutting operations, see Trask, War with Spain, p. 110, and Sampson, "Atlantic Fleet."

42 Greely, Reminiscences, p. 185. Woods, Tactical Signal Communications, p. 91, relates a similar story and quotes Shafter as saying: "I don't want men with flags! I want men with guns!" See also ARSO, 1898, p. 884.

43 Montgomery had worked as the White House telegraph operator since 1877. List of White House Employees, 1 Dec 1880, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio (copy in author's files). On presidential communications during the War with Spain, see Richard T. Loomis, "The White House Telephone and Crisis Management," United States Naval Institute Proceedings 12 (Dec 1969): 63-73; Trask, War with Spain, p. 169; Adolphus W. Greely, "The Signal Corps in War-Time," The Century Magazine 66 (Sep 1903): 812-13.

44 See ARSO, 1898, pp. 883-88 and app. 4, pp. 953-59. In addition to his official report, Greely discusses the Santiago campaign in chapter 19 of his Reminiscences. See also Howard A. Giddings, "Electric Communication in the Field: Remarks on Equipment," JMSI45 (Jul 1899): 58-64 (reprinted in Scheips, ed., Military Signal Communications, vol. 1).

45 On the prewar preparations of the balloon detachment, see Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," ch. 5.

46 On ballooning at Santiago, see ARSO, 1898, pp. 888-91 and Maxfield's report at app. 5, pp. 960-66. Other accounts include Charles Johnson Post, The Little War of Private Post (New York: Signet Books, 1961), pp. 118-24; Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," chapter 6, which includes excerpts from Derby's report; John R. Cuneo, "The Balloon at Hell's Corner," Military Affairs 7 (Fall 1943): 189-95; Giddings, Exploits of the Signal Corps, pp. 47-65; Crouch, Eagle Aloft, pp. 524-26.

47 Companies A and D are perpetuated by the 121st Signal Battalion. Neither Company B nor Company C is perpetuated by an active unit. According to notes in the file of the 121st Signal Battalion, Organizational History Branch, U.S. Army Center of Military History (hereafter cited as DAMH-HSO), the companies were formed per Orders no. 10, War Department, Signal Office, 27 Jul 1898. The volunteer companies serving in Puerto Rico were the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th.

48 ARSO, 1898, pp. 895-97 and the reports of Allen, who served as the chief signal offi­cer of the expedition, and Reber at app. 3, pp. 946-53. A photograph of Reber's improvised switchboard faces p. 952. Glassford's report of 7 July 1899, covering his service in Puerto Rico, is published as Appendix 5 to ARSO, 1899 in ARSW, 1899, vol. 1, pt. 2.

49 Cosmas, Army for Empire, pp. 191-92; Trask, War with Spain, chs. 5 and 16.

50 Trask, War with Spain, pp. 105 and 369.

51 ARSO, 1898, p. 877.

52 Ibid., pp. 877-78 and app. 1; ARSO, 1899, p. 798.

53 For a discussion of the Battle of Manila and the surrender arrangements, see Trask, War with Spain, ch. 18.

54 ARSO, 1898, p. 910. For details on the Corps' service in the Philippines, see ARSO, 1899, pp. 745-46 and Rpt, Maj Richard E. Thompson to the Chief Signal Officer, 20 Aug 1899, at app. 6; see also Thompson's report to the Adjutant General, Department of the Pacific and Eighth Army Corps, in ARSW, 1898, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 126-27.

55 Ltr, Maj R. E. Thompson to the Adjutant General, Department of Pacific and Eighth Army Corps, 14 Aug 1898, printed as inclosure 2 to app. 1, ARSO, 1898, p. 918.

56 For casualty statistics, see Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteers Called Into Service During the War with Spain; With Losses From All Causes (Washington, D.C.: Adjutant General's Office, 1899), pp. 2-3.

57 U.S. Congress, Senate, Report of the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with Spain, 56th Cong., 1st sess., 1900, S. Doc. 221, 8 vols., 1: 202.

58 Donald Smythe, Guerrilla Warrior: The Early Life of John J. Pershing (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973), p. 51.

59 John J. Pershing, "The Campaign of Santiago," in Hershel V. Cashin et al., Under Fire with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry (Chicago: 1902; New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1969), p. 206. See also Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," pp. 141-53.

60 From "The Price of the Harness," Wounds in the Rain (London: 1900), as quoted in Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," p. 142. Crane's comments on the balloon are also quoted in Frank Freidel, The Splendid Little War (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1958), p. 150.

61 Reber's map is published as part of Appendix 3, ARSO, 1898. See also Greely, "The Signal Corps in War-Time," p. 823.

62 Rpt, Capt Eugene O. Fechet, Disbursing Officer, to the Chief Signal Officer, 12 Aug 1899 in ARSO, 1899, app. 9, p. 818. On photographic techniques, see Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography, revised edition (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1982), pp. 126f.

63 The report of the Corps' exhibit, written by Sgt. Harry W. Chadwick, is published as Appendix 20 to ARSO, 1901 in ARSW, 1901, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 1080-81. The Buffalo exposition is, unfortunately, better known as the site of the assassination of President McKinley.

64 Orders no. 13, War Department, Signal Office, 13 Sep 1898; also published as app. 9, ARSO, 1898, pp. 983-85, and in Giddings, Exploits of the Signal Corps, pp. 121-26.

65 On Cuban operations, see ARSO, 1899, pp. 931-37 and apps. 1-3; ARSO, 1900, pp. 964-71 and app. 3 in ARSW, 1900, vol. 1, pt. 2; ARSO, 1901, pp. 924-27 and app. 6 ARSO, 1902, pp. 671-77. Capt. Otto Nesmith replaced Dunwoody in 1901.

66 On Puerto Rican operations, see ARSO, 1899, pp. 737-39 and app. 5; ARSO, 1900, pp. 971-74 and app. 4; ARSO, 1901, pp. 927-28 and app. 7.

67 See Kilbourne's entry in U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-1978, 96th Cong., 1st sess., 1979, Senate Committee Print no. 3, p. 375. See also ARSO, 1899, p. 802. Details of Kilbourne's career are given in Paul D. Hughes, "Charles E. Kilbourne: A Study in Leadership," Army Communicator 10 (Summer 1985): 7-9 and "Kilbourne, Charles E.," biographical files, Historical Resources Branch, U.S. Army Center of Military History (hereafter cited as DAMH­HSR). Kilbourne's feat is mentioned in William Thaddeus Sexton, Soldiers in the Sun: An Adventure in Imperialism (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971), p. 96.

68 On the proclamation, see John M. Gates, Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1973), pp. 80-81.

69 Sexton, Soldiers in the Sun, pp. 211-14, describes the rescue of several prisoners to include two members of the Signal Corps, Pvts. Leland S. Smith and Frank Stone. A third signal soldier, Pvt. John G. Desmond, captured along with Smith and Stone, managed to escape from the insurgents. See ARSO, 1900, p. 1058. On Philippine operations, see ARSO, 1899, pp. 745-46 and app. 6; ARSO, 1900, pp. 974-89 and apps. 5-12.

70 On Philippine cable operations, see ARSO, 1899, pp. 739-43 and app. 7; Rpt, Maj Richard E. Thompson to the Chief Signal Officer, 20 Aug 1899, published as app. 6 to ARSO, 1899 and app. K to Rpt, Maj Gen E. S. Otis, Commander of the Department of the Pacific and VIII Army Corps, to The Adjutant General, 31 Aug 1899, in ARSW, 1899, vol. 1, pt. 4, pp. 254-57; ARSO, 1900, p. 986-89 and app. 13; ARSO, 1901, pp. 931-32 and apps. 8 and 9; ARSO, 1902, pp. 677, 682-84; Paul Wilson Clark, "Major General George O. Squier: Military Scientist" (Ph.D. dissertation, Case Western Reserve University, 1974), pp. 89-95.

71 On signal operations, see ARSO, 1901, pp. 928-33 and apps. 8 and 10; ARSO, 1902, pp. 677-96. Maj. William Glassford succeeded Allen in March 1902.

72 ARSO, 1902, pp. 692-93; ARSO, 1908, p. 194 in ARSW, 1908, vol. 2. According to Heath Twichell, Allen: The Biography of an Army Officer, 1859-1930 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1974), p. 143, the Army initially turned over the telephone and telegraph system to the Philippine Constabulary, which operated it until 1906 when the Bureau of Posts assumed control.

73 ARSO, 1899, p. 743. Richardson, ed., Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 14: 6354-55.

74 Clark, "Squier," pp. 89, 95-108.

75 ARSO, 1901, app. 5, p. 959; Historical Sketch, p. 49.

76 For details on the Signal Corps' service in the Boxer Rebellion, see ARSO, 1900, pp. 960-64; ARSO, 1901, app. 5; Historical Sketch, pp. 47-48.

77 WDGO 37, 9 Mar 1899, announces the increase in enlisted strength; WDGO 36, 4 Mar 1899, contains the provision on volunteer officers.

78 The personnel increase is announced in WDGO 17, 16 Feb 1900. On the appointment of volunteer officers, see WDGO 86, 16 Jun 1900. The officers were to be first lieutenants whose commissions would expire on 30 June 1901.

79 WDGO 9, 6 Feb 1901; ARSO, 1901, pp. 940-41.

80 WDGO 63, 1 Jul 1902. On the temporary sergeants, see WDGO 68, 5 Jul 1902, p. 4.

81 ARSO, 1902, pp. 713-14.

82 ARSO, 1901, p. 940.

83 WDGO 24, 7 Mar 1903.

84 WDGO 193, 2 Nov 1899.

85 Under the new Army Regulations of 1895, departmental signal instruction fell under paragraph 1544. This paragraph was amended by WDGO 114, 22 Jun 1899.

86 WDGO 18, 16 Feb 1900.

87 On balloon operations, see ARSO, 1900, app. 2; ARSO, 1901, app. 2. There were no operations to discuss in the reports of 1902 and 1903. See also Parkinson, "Politics, Patents, and Planes," ch. 10; Chandler and Lahm, How Army Grew Wings, pp. 50-52; and Crouch, Eagle Aloft, pp. 518-29.

88 ARSO, 1902, pp. 717-20; ARSO, 1903, pp. 353-54 in ARSW, 1903, vol. 2.

89 For a masterful discussion of the early development of radio technology, see Hugh G. J. Aitken, Syntony and Spark-The Origins of Radio (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985). See also Susan J. Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), which emphasizes the social and cultural aspects of radio.

90 Clark, "Squier," pp. 8, 16-17.

91 A brief report on wireless in San Francisco Harbor is published in ARSO, 1901, app. 17, pp. 1073-74. On the Signal Corps' experiments with wireless telegraphy, see Clark, "Squier," pp. 76-78, and ARSO, 1900, pp. 992-93.

92 Rodney Ellis Bell, "A Life of Russell Alexander Alger, 1836-1907" (Ph.D. disser­tation, University of Michigan, 1975), pp. 310-11. See also Rpt, Maj Gen H. C. Merriam, Commander of the Department of the Columbia, to The Adjutant General, 1 Oct 1898, in ARSW, 1898, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 180-81.

93 WDGO 76,1 Jun 1900.

94 William L. Mitchell, The Opening ofAlaska, ed. Lyman L. Woodman (Anchorage: Cook Inlet Historical Society, 1982).

95 Ibid., p. 44.

96 Ibid., p. 87 and p. 88, n. 1. In 1967 Mitchell was posthumously elected to the Mushers' Hall of Fame in Knik, Alaska, for his exploits while working on the telegraph line.

97 ARSO, 1903, p. 329.

98 See Greely, Reminiscences, ch. 20, on his meeting in Canada.

99 Historical Sketch, p. 46.

100 Some sources, such as the Historical Sketch, give the date as 1903. H. L. Chadbourne in his unpublished study "Leonard D. Wildman and the First Alaskan Radio (Safety Harbor-St. Michael)" documents the trials and tribulations of building this system that delayed its successful operation until 1904. The confusion may stem, as Chadbourne believes, from the chief signal officer's annual report of 1904. Although the report is supposed to cover the Corps' operations up to 30 June 1904, it includes the successful opening of the Norton Sound station two months later. This date has apparently been misinterpreted by some writers as August 1903. A copy of Chadbourne's study is in the author's files.

101 ARSO, 1904, p. 368 in ARSW, 1904, vol. 2.

102 Ibid., p. 359.

103 Details about the construction of the system are contained in the following chief signal officer's annual reports: 1900, pp. 956-60 and app. 18; 1901, pp. 921-24 and apps. 3 and 4; 1902, pp. 663-71; 1903, pp. 327-33; and 1904, pp. 359-69.

104 James E. Hewes, Jr., From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900-1963, Special Studies (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1975), pp. 2-12; Matloff, ed., American Military History, pp. 346-50; Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), pp. 313-20. The provisions of the General Staff Act are published in WDGO 15, 18 Feb 1903.

105 Matloff, ed., American Military History, pp. 350-51; Weigley, History of Army, pp. 320-22. The Dick Act's provisions are published in WDGO 7, 24 Jan 1903.

106 ARSO, 1900, p. 982. Greely uses the contemporary spelling of Puerto Rico.

Return to Chapter III

Return to Table of Contents

Search CHM Online
Last updated 3 April 2006