Guilford Signal Station

Old Vestal's Gap Road, Sterling, VA 20164

Guilford Signal Station: Tracking the Confederates

History: During the Civil War signal stations served as early warning posts, observation posts and communication centers. On June 19, 1863, nearly 15,000 Union troops of Gen. John F. Reynolds' I Corps marched along the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad to Guilford Station. At the Lanesville house, Reynolds erected a signal station - at 442 feet, one of the highest points in the region. The signal officer constantly communicated with nearby signal stations attempting to locate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Lee slipped through the Blue Ridge Mountain gaps to the Shenandoah Valley, but the U.S. Signal Corps detected him as he began his second invasion of the North. On June 24, Reynolds' pursued Lee. The two armies clashed in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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Photo Credits:

  1. "Pencil sketch of Signal tower on roof of house."
  2. "Signal station on top of Maryland Heights, the highest point in the region."
  3. "Pencil drawing of army marching through a gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains." Prints courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.