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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND

 

Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1898


Coast Signal Service

The coast line was divided into eight districts, in which were distributed 36 signal stations, officered and manned entirely by the State Naval Militia. Under instructions from the Secretary of the Treasury, the Life-Saving Service and the Light-House Service cooperated, and the observers of the Weather Bureau were also called upon. The different stations of the Signal Service were connected with the general telegraph and telephone systems of the country, and with the Life-Saving Service telephone lines, that link together every station along the coast.

When all these arrangements were complete there were 2,326 men on the lookout for the approach of an enemy's vessel or of suspicious craft of any kind. Practically our entire coast line from Maine to Texas was under observation. While this service was not called upon to report the movements of any of the Spanish ships, it gave a feeling of security to the people along our entire coast line, and the experience gained by the instruction of this large number of men in the use of the international code flags and books, and of the "wigwag" code and nava1 night signals, will greatly add to the efficiency of such a service should it be necessary to again organize it.

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20 February 1998