The telegraph was emerging as a means of sending messages electronically. Telegraph corps followed troops and erected telegraph poles and wires to provide communication from the battle front




Дата канвертавання27.04.2016
Памер6.17 Kb.

The telegraph was emerging as a means of sending messages electronically. Telegraph corps followed troops and erected telegraph poles and wires to provide communication from the battle front. This photograph shows a group of military telegraph operators. Poles carrying the telegraph wires can be seen leading into the distance (Source: Library of Congress).



Tall signal towers were used to send messages short distances. This photograph shows the Butler's signal tower, Bermuda Hundred, Virginia (Source: Library of Congress).


When the Civil War began, the telegraph was quickly used to report battle information and soon became the most important form of military communication. It was used to report intelligence information very rapidly and soon became a prime target for military counter-operations. There were some instances where messages were intercepted and replaced with disinformation. One Union commander captured at least two Confederate supply trains in this way.


The telegraph became an increasingly important military tool and began to affect the outcome of battles. This was nowhere more pronounced than it was in an operation at Fort Sanders near Knoxville, Tennessee. Southern forces, commanded by General James Longstreet, got tangled up in Union telegraph lines strung from tree stump to tree stump while attacking Union forces commanded by General Ambrose Burnside. Ordinarily the effect of the telegraph on military operations was more closely related to communication functions.
The Civil War was the first war where news media played a major role. Because the American press had grown to a very large size before the Civil War began, there were many news organizations vying for the latest scoop on the war. The telegraph with its nearly instant communication ability added considerably to the scope of this phenomenon. It suddenly was necessary for the military to manage the media exposure and this caused many problems at the beginning of the war. Most of the military leaders were not pleased with spending time on media functions and were concerned about jeopardizing their operations through indiscriminate releases of information. General Ulysses S. Grant was one of few Generals that felt that a good relationship with the press was worth cultivating. Even President Abraham Lincoln seemed unable to deal with the press effectively. Nevertheless, the press played a key role in maintaining public support and was the primary source of information for the troops in the field.


  • List two ways in which the telegraph was important during the Civil War.



  • Why was the telegraph so much more effective than other methods of communication?



  • How would this new technology have affected the Civil War?


База данных защищена авторским правом ©shkola.of.by 2016
звярнуцца да адміністрацыі

    Галоўная старонка