6234CS-ANV Sep 62 Telegram from Maryland?
- Apr 19, 2010The 1961 Dowdey-Manarin edition of "The Wartime Papers of R.E. Lee," prints (p. 296) a message #290 from Gen. Lee to Pres. Davis indicated as a telegram, headed "13 miles from Fredericktown, Maryland, September 6, 1862."
The same telegram appears in the 1957 "new edition" of Freeman and McWhiney "Lee's Dispatches" (p. 61) as #31, with an interesting addition: it is headed "Rec[eive]d at Richmond Sept 8, 1862/By Telegraph from Montgomery Co., Md." This conforms to the actual telegram form used both by the commercial (Southern Tel Co) and military (Confed Mil Tel) operators, in which the "By telegraph from" entry implies direct contact unless modified in some way (such as "via"). I had assumed for years that this represented a message couriered back across the river to the nearest tel office in CS hands, but recently, in exchange with Tom Ryan (concerning ANV occupancy of captured Union signal station on Sugar Loaf)I cited this odd message, and we recalled the report that, as part of the Gettysburg campaign nine months later, the CS Mil Tel laid some thirty miles of wire, and also that the ANV may have had a field tel capability in its inventory. On the other hand, the time delay between origination and receipt (two days) must be considered.
It's intriguing to think that an electrical connection could have -- even temporarily -- crossed from Montgomery county, Md., back into Confederate Northern Virginia, across the Potomac. Reactions?
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