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A. J. Myer

A. J. Myer

Federal (USA)


Albert James Myer

(1829 - 1880)

Home State: New York

Education: Hobart College ('47), Buffalo Medical College, Class of 1851

Command Billet: Chief Signal Officer

Branch of Service: Signals

Unit: Army of the Potomac


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

Before attending college he had apprenticed with the New York Telegraph Company. He then completed bachelor's and master's degrees, and completed medical school. In 1854, after 3 years' private practice in Florida, he was commissioned Assistant Surgeon in the Army, and served in Texas and the Southwest. He was already skilled as a telegrapher and, inspired by Native American signalling techniques, invented Wig-Wag flag signalling. This was approved doe Army use in 1859. In 1860 the first Signal Officer position was authorized, and Myer was promoted to Major to fill it. In 1861 he was ordered east to Washington DC to "organize and command a signal corps", which he did. He was on the staff of the Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula and Maryland Campaigns of 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Colonel on 3 March 1863 when the Army Signal Corps was officially created, and was its first Chief. In November 1863 he was removed after a conflict with an assistant secretary of war, and assigned to West Mississippi for the rest of the War.

After the War

He continued on Regular Army service, becoming again Chief Signal Officer, and in 1867, Chief of the Army Signal Corps. He remained in that job until his death, being promoted to Brigadier General in June 1880. During his tenure and under the direction of the Corps, he created the United States Weather Bureau - he has been credited as its "father".

References & notes

Fort Myer, Arlington, Virginia, and USNS Albert J. Myer (ship) were named for him. Photo is a Mathew Brady portrait of 1865, from USAMHI. 1 Bio details from SCRA.2


9/20/1829; Newburgh, NY


8/24/1880; Buffalo, NY; burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY


1   US Army, Military History Institute (USAMHI), American Civil War (ACW) photographs, Military History Institute Photograph Database, Published c. 1998, first accessed 01 January 2005, <>, Source page: Photo ID RG98S-CWP82.26  [AotW citation 172]

2   SCRA, Albert James Myer (1828 ~ 1880), Signal Corps Regimental Association (SCRA), Published c. 2004, first accessed 19 July 2005, <>  [AotW citation 173]