The Army Telegraph—Setting Up The Wire During An Action

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The Army Telegraph—Setting Up The Wire During An Action


Army Telegraph


On this page Mr. Waud has illustrated for us the Army Telegraph. Of this important institution he says: “The army signal-telegraph has been so far perfected that in a few hours quite a large force can be in constant connection with head-quarters. This, while a battle is progressing, is a great convenience. The wire used is a copper one insulated, raised on light poles, made expressly for the purpose, on convenient trees, or trailed along fences. The wire and the instrument can be easily carried in a cart, which as it proceeds unwinds the wire, and, when a connection is made, becomes the telegraph-office. Where the cart can not go the men carry the drum of wire by hand. In the picture the cart has come to a halt, and the signal-men are hastening along—some with the drum, while others with crow-bars make the holes for the poles, upon which it is rapidly raised.

“The machine is a simple one, worked by a handle, which is passed around a dial-plate marked with numerals and the alphabet. By stopping at the necessary letters a message is easily spelled out upon the instrument at the other end of the line, which repeats by a pointer every move on the dial-plate. The whole thing is so simple that any man able to read and write can work it with facility.”

Published January 24, 1863, in Harper’s Weekly


Alfred Waud


Harper's Weekly


January 24, 1863


Public Domain

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Alfred Waud, “The Army Telegraph—Setting Up The Wire During An Action,” Mapping the Civil War in Arlington, accessed June 15, 2024,

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