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Posted By: David Winfred Gaddy on: 08/14/2005 05:58:11 EDT
Subject: CS Mil Tel for Gettysburg?

Message Detail:
Ray Wemple's recent posts about the electromagnetic telegraph made me think of an interesting puzzler I haven't resolved: In responding, I cited E. Merton Coulter's 1950 history "The Confederate States of America: 1861-1865." In a brief discussion of the tel system (such as it was in the South), Dr. Coulter made this interesting statement: "[CS Mil Tel] Supervisor Caldwell[sic: J.T. Coldwell] extended a military [telegraph] line fifty-seven miles in eleven days in the Gettysburg campaign... ." (P. 283)

Note that this was an extension, and a military line. (Was it a military extension from a commercial line or from a pre-existing military line? Where?? Was this back-up in VA, or did it extend into MD or even PA? Fifty-seven miles isn't a great length, but specification of construction in eleven days suggests urgency...a critical need. Might this relate to the Richmond Signal Bureau's special requisition for a field telegraph "surry"--a buggy or two-wheeled wagon/cart--to carry tel wire? Did the CSMT play a previously unknown role in the Gettysburg campaign?)

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