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Posted By: Ray Wemple on: 06/13/2002 21:16:01 CDT
Subject: RE: Civilians & The Signal Corps - Guidelines

Message Detail:
HELLO AGAIN CHUCK,
I AM RESPONDING TO YOUR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REGARDING CIVILIANS DOING COMMUNICATIONS WORK DURING THE LATE UNPLEASANTNESS. I QUALIFY MY REMARKS AS ALWAYS BY STATING I AM NOT AN EXPERT AT ANY OF THIS AND AM JUST LEARNING ABOUT MANY THINGS MYSELF.

AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, THE UNITED STATES MILITARY TELEGRAPH WAS NOT IN FACT A MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS UNIT. THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT MANNED THE TELEGRAPH KEYS AND WHO EVENTUALLY WORKED ON THE "FLYING TELEGRAPH TRAINS" DEVELOPED BY MYER FOR THE ARMY WERE CIVILIANS AND DRESSED IN CIVILAN GARB OF THE DAY. THE TELEGRAPH TRAINS WERE TURNED OVER TO THE CONTROL OF THE U.S.M.T. ON OR ABOUT NOVEMBER 10, 1863 WHEN MYER WAS EXILED TO CAIRO, IL OR MEMPHIS,TN BY SEC. OF WAR EDWIN M. STANTON. YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THEM BY LOOKING AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SITE ON THE INTERNET AND BROWSING THROUGH THE PHOTO COLLECTIONS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR PERUSAL. ABOUT THE ONLY FOLKS WHO WERE MILITARY IN THAT OUTFIT WERE ANSON STAGER( FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT OF WESTERN UNION) WHO WAS GIVENT THE MILITARY RANK OF COLONEL AND HIS ASSISTANT, THOMAS ECKERT( AMERICAN TELEGRAPH CO.) WHO WAS GIVEN THE EVENTUAL RANK OF MAJOR. ALL OF THE MILITARY TELEGRAPH OPERATORS AND LINEMEN THAT I HAVE SEEN PHOTOS OF WERE ALL DRESSED IN CIVILIAN CLOTHING OF THAT TIME.

I HOPE THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN HELPFUL TO YOU. YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY KNOWN THIS BUT THOUGHT I WOULD PASS IT YOUR WAY TO BE SURE. GOOD LUCK.
RAY

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