The Federal signal hub on Pony Mountain

Having established the importance of Pony Mountain (or Mount Pony if you prefer) in the Federal signal network used during the winter of 1864, let me pass along some additional information on that grand old monadnock.  Clark “Bud” Hall wrote an article detailing the history of the mountain in 2006.  He has graciously allowed me to post here, for those interested in the full history of this storied mount.  I urge you to give it a read.  One spoiler – Mount Pony was not named for some artwork on the summit, as some would have you believe.  It is instead named for the Saponi Indians, one of the Siouan-language tribes which lived in the area before the arrival of Europeans.

While we don’t have photographs showing the signal station in detail, there are several drawings which depict it.  A couple by Edwin Forbes have always captured my attention.  One shows the station’s tower as a neat log structure.

The signal flag itself is not on top of the tower, but rather sitting among the rocks.  Note the location of the ladder on the side of the tower.  Then consider Forbes second drawing.

Again, notice the orientation of the ladder.  Sure, give Forbes some artistic license.  But can I take some allowance with that artistic license?  If so, then matching the two depictions, it seems the signal flags were placed down and to the side of the tower.  Thus were somewhat masked from Confederate view.  Though probably not entirely due to the need to signal stations to the east of Mount Pony – say perhaps Cole’s Hill or Stony Point.   And the tower itself, with that officer on the telescope, were dedicated to observation of distant Confederate positions.  Note the inscription on top of Clark’s Mountain – “Signal Station – Gen. Lee’s Army.”

Makes you wish the photographers had carted their equipment up the hill, doesn’t it?


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