Flag Talk

Flag Talk (HM4Y7)

Location: Millville, WV 25432 Jefferson County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 18.969', W 77° 46.771'

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Inscription
Accurate communication was crucial to winning the Battle of Harpers Ferry. Rivers, mountains, and miles of distance separated Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson from his mountaintop commanders. With telegraph messaging impossible and courier service difficult, signal flags became the principle form of communication. Confederate signal men occupied positions on the heights, waving flags in patters to transmit coded messages. This laborious system took time and Jackson complained that "the day was much advanced" before his orders were transmitted. Nonetheless, Jackson received important intelligence from his commanders, like "not much could be expected from their artillery so long as the enemy retained his advanced position on Bolivar Heights." Such intelligence enabled Jackson to envision the enemy, thus helping him to devise his plan of attack.

I do not desire...to open [fire] until all are ready on both sides of the river.
Message flagged from Jackson to Walker and McLaws.

(Sidebar): Flagging
Although fog or mist could interfere, the flag system was widely used and an effective form of communication during the Civil War. Only one flag or torch was used at a time. Three simple motions could be combined to signal a message.
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Details
HM NumberHM4Y7
Tags
Placed ByHarpers Ferry National Historical Park - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 5:25pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 260372 N 4355545
Decimal Degrees39.31615000, -77.77951667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 18.969', W 77° 46.771'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 18' 58.14" N, 77° 46' 46.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10194 US-340, Millville WV 25432, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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