Signal Corps

Meet Zoeth Knowles

Zoeth_knowles_cropped_higher_res_12Among the people visitors met in “Remember Me:  Highlights from the National Heritage Museum” is a young Civil War soldier, Zoeth Knowles (bn. 1843).

Knowles’ bold gaze, relaxed posture and handsome Zouave uniform do more than suggest youthful confidence--he projects it.  The twenty-one-year-old Knowles may have commissioned this daguerreotype, along with another in the NHM collection, when he joined the war effort in 1864.  With these images, his parents and five siblings would have something to remember him by during his absence or if he did not return home to Boston.

A member of the Signal Corps, Knowles sent messages between armed forces personnel using flags and codes. Standing on towers or other high points waving flags, signalmen were particularly vulnerable to sniper fire. 

In spite of his work, Knowles survived his sixteen months of service.  Afterward, he returned to the Boston area where he was a cabinetmaker for many years.

Please find a 2012 revision to this blog post here!

Zoeth Knowles, Gift of the Cloues Family, 96.045.4