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Posted By: Bill Hock on: 10/05/2011 16:20:27 EDT
Subject: Wilson's Creek & early use of telegraph

Message Detail:
Hello Fellow S.C.
Does anyone have any information about the use of the telegraph at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, Aug.,1861?
I've spent much time researching but little-results!

Too early for U.S. Signal Corps to be present at the battle and I believe That also applies to the the U S Military telegraph, but I did find reference that the both Armies used messengers and the telegraph ("extensive use") for communications.(non-tactical)

Since there were lines from Kansas City and Springfield and St.Louis connected to Ft. Smith,AR (completed in 1860)(The Butterfield Overland Mail Route & Fayettville Road) I would assume the line on Telegraph Road was part of that network and Lyon could have used them to send messages East and the Confederates had access to the line from Springfield to Little Rock and South/East.

If they indeed were using the telegraph they could have found a local operating-station or could have "tapped" the line anywhere. All they would need it seems is an apparatus and a qualified operator.

My guess is that both sides did tap-in or use local-stations somewhere near the battle for logistic and strategic communications.(Battlefield Librarian claims no evidence line was used by either side!)
Too bad there seems no record of this.

Does anyone have any information on this?
Also, How did Armies use/access Western-telegraph lines early in the war if there was no USMT or S.C. operators?
Did the Armies rely only on local-stations and operators?

Thanks you for your consideration!
Bill Hock, U.S. signal Corps, 1st Brigade,Illinois Volunteers

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