Constructing telegraph lines, American Civil War, April 1864

Not long after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 President Abraham Lincoln ordered seventy-five thousand troops to assemble in Washington, D.C. On April 19, 1861, Harpers Ferry,Virginia (which was along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad) was captured by Confederate troops. Thus, Washington lost one of its only railroad and telegraphic communications route to the North. The only railroad and telegraph lines connecting the Northern states to Washington left were located in Maryland, a state whose loyalty to the Union was not trusted.
The Telegraph Construction Corps were charged with the dangerous job of building telegraph lines in the field during battles. Consisting of about one hundred fifty men, the Telegraph Construction Corps set out in wagon trains to construct temporary lines. During a battle, one wagon was stationed at the starting point of the battle to act as a receiving station, while another wagon traveled into the field to be a sending station.

Taken on 1864-04-01
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Uploaded by Matlindsay on 2014-12-12


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