Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Civil War Signaling

Marker ID:  
Location: at the end of Signal Point Road, in Signal Point Park, Signal Mountain, TN
County: Hamilton
Coordinates: N 35° 7.172    W 085° 22.012
  35.11953333    -85.36686666
Waymark: None


Civil War Signaling
With flags and torches, signalmen passed the word

When Confederate forces laid siege to Chattanooga in late September 1863, they cut off telegraph lines leading into the city. The Federals, in order to move messages from Chattanooga to their supply base in Bridgeport, Alabama, established a series of signal stations. One of those stations was here at Signal Point.

Messages relayed here from Bridgeport were flashed to Stringers Ridge (upriver to your left) and then on to Cameron Hill in the city. By this means, the Federals received news of reinforcements and supplies coming to their relief. When the siege was broken in late October, the signal stations diminished in importance.

The U.S. Army Signal Corps, established during the Civil War, operated the stations. Signals were sent by waving square flags or torches. Flag-waving patterns represented numbers. By using secret codes, number combinations could be translated into letters to form words. Observers used telescopes and binoculars for long-range viewing.

Erected by Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.