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Posted By: Pete on: 12/06/2004 18:44:41 EDT
Subject: Telegraph Wagons

Message Detail:
Walt,
The lack of progress on telegraph wagons wasn't due to fecklessness or negligence in allowing something something to drop through the cracks--it was high-level opposition to the idea of the Signal Corps moving into the area of telegraphy. Myer said as much in his after-action report for the Peninsula Campaign.
Here's how Myer put it in his report:
"It was from the beginning the intention to place in charge of this corps the flying or field electric telegraphs, for use upon the field of battle or in the immediate presence of the enemy. These were to be similar in their general construction to those telegraphic trains at a later day brought into use on the Peninsula. The efforts to procure these trains were thwarted to some extent by the actions of persons who seemed to greatly desire that all the duties of electric telegraphy should be in the hands of civilians, and in part, perhaps, by the hesitation of officers in authority to become responsible by favoring it for the success of what was then an experiment in our service. I did all I could to obtain authority and the means to properly fit such trains to accompany the army on the march. In the early days of the war I could not obtain the asked permission to organize a party or to draw on the Departments for supplies. Later, when I submitted plans and further requests on this subject, they were either not answered or received non-committal replies. Estimates accompanying my annual report of November 10, 1862, were not acted upon."

Pete

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