I was alerted to your wonderful site by one of your associates, David W.Gaddy, and thought I'd ask if any CMH'n would have a clue as to whereabouts of extant 1861-65 copper signal torches or sections of flag pole staff/joints. We are especially interested in the brass pole connectors (ferrules).
The torches were made of rolled sheet copper, were both 18 inches in length. There were two sizes in width; the foot, or reference light, was two inches in diameter while the flying torch was but an inch and a half wide. Both tubes had fuel fill caps at the sealed ends. The flying torch, however, would have had additional bands for attaching the flag staff.
Just prior to an early twentieth century GAR reunion in Washington, DC, members of the US Veteran Signal Corps Association (USVSCA) were attempting to locate 'war-time' torches and, as the record goes, were, after much searching, successful in their attempts. It was agreed that these night signalling devices were to be donated to the National Museum (Smithsonian) following that year's national encampment. Though information from the USVSCA records exists to support this claim, Smithsionan Institution registrars inform us that they have no accession record for these torches and believe that the torches were never entered into their collection.
Our organization would be most pleased to receive any information on these torches. We also hope that you can provide us with additional research leads or donations (cyber or hard-copy) of images as well as textual information on this or any other topics related to 1861-65 period communication pioneers. We are also maintaining files on post-war activities of both Federal and Confederate communications veterans (signal, telegraph, aeronauts, etc.). Feel free to post up at our site forum or contact us directly at <email@example.com>.
Please know me to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Walter F. Mathers
Signal Corps Association (1860-1865)
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