Signal Corps Kit
Equipment Bag Contents
It's important to note that these items could change slightly depending on the necessary items useful to the signal party. The writing kit, for example, could be any writing kit. For simplicity, the writing kit is packed in the bag. But, the NCO or officer may very well carry the writing kit on his person. The same goes for the glasses. Since glasses were a very critical piece of equipment and was protected against capture, the NCO or officer may have kept it in his possession for easy destruction if they were in danger of being captured. David Gaddy has provided a list of what a signal station had in it's possession HERE.
Ken Dombroski of the
California Historical Artillery Society and an already very accomplished Signalman, makes the
The haversack issue has always intrigued me. I thought it odd that the signal gear would be stored in an obsolete and non-waterproof haversack. Then I saw your photos of the leather haversack from the Span-Am war kit. It looks identical to a gunner's haversack; it could well have been excess stock that was issued to the SigC. Heck, they were still issuing the old wool trowsers for years after the war. What made it even more intriguing was in searching through the OR Series 1, vol. 25 (Part 1), pp. 235-237, I found a report by Lt. Denicke dated May 7, 1863 on his actions during Chancellorsville in which he stated:
"Remarks: Lost haversack for signal equipments, containing shades, shears, wicking and funnel, while on the field of battle, by the breaking of the strap. It is my humble opinion that the black haversacks now in use are made of too weak material. I think leather would be a good substitute."
Since Lt. Denicke had just been detailed from the [Signal Corps] Camp of Instruction at Georgetown where he would have been issued his equipment, it seems safe to say that by spring 1863 the Signal Corps was issuing the black haversacks instead of the earlier white canvas ones seen in some photos dating to 1861. I wonder when the SigC decided to take Lt. Denicke's advice and switched to leather?
Excellent observation on Ken's part. It would appear that the black haversack is quite appropriate for 1863.
|A - Notebook||H - Pliers||O - Stakes for foot torch|
|B - Pencils||I - Spare Parts Container||P - Compass|
|C - Extra Wicks||J - Flame Guards/Shields||Q - Turpentine Canteen|
|D - Writing Kit||K - Glasses/Telescope|
|E - Sewing Kit||L - Code Wheels|
|F - Scissors||M - Clean Rag|
|G - Screw Driver||N - Wind Guards/Sheilds
and Turpentine Funnel