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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 12/26/2007 11:17:00 EDT
Subject: RE: ANV field telegraph

Message Detail:
Tom,
The answer seems to be that little or no use was made of mobile, field telegraph by the South, and, specifically, the ANV. The problem was probably resources, rather than desire. Unhobbled by a Stanton (vis-a-vis the USMT), the CS Sig Corps sought a capability (e.g., a requisition for a "buggy" to carry tel wire onto the field...no indication whether satisfied) and tried to train or employ American Morse telegraphers, but, again, no evidence of employment in a tactical situtation. How, then, were such rare resources used? (Lee surrendered about half a dozen at Appomattox.) Possibly they represented (as with cavalry commaners) a capability to tap enemy lines, to tap into and "commandeer" commercial lines, and do the same for lines of the CSMT, which supplemented the commercial lines. (The CSMT reported some thirty-odd miles of line set up for G'bg campaign...but no indication where and how employed! It would make a whale of a lot of difference, all things being equal, whether this was a "gap-filler" stretch somewhere back in Virginia or a 30-mile projection into the rear area of the battlefield...or a CSMT hook-up with that Sig Corps "buggy"!)
The little evidence that I've seen of CS Sig Corps involvement in elec telegraphy is in Dept of SC, GA, FL, which even had a "practice" net of dedicated lines used for training Sig Corps ops. (I don't cite as example of field tel, per se, but Sig Corps use of elec tel on static, fied lines, perhaps to supplement visual sigs.)
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