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War in any age has depended on the flow of information to and from the decision makers, information passed from the scouts, spies and horse bound messengers to the generals and statesmen in charge. Speed is always key, and in the day of the Civil War, the fastest transmission was by telegraph. As the frontlines advanced and retreated, the wire would have to be strung to the front lines. In this fascinating volume, Alvin Harlow, recounts many of the adventures of the Civil War telegraphers, who despite their civilian status shared the dangers of the soldiers as they sent massages back to the various headquarters and generals. As the title suggests the telegraphers were often no more than teenagers, and their stories form an interesting sidelight on the Civil War
It is a collection of stories I assume to be mostly true of the young men and their adventures in their service as telegraphers during the Civil War. There’s really not much in there about telegraphy in particular, more just about the gumption of those young men (boys really). Also this was long before radio-telegraphy so it has nothing to do with amateur-radio or CW but some may find it an interesting read.
It certainly was a different time and different sensibilities regarding the independence of boys and what they can accomplish. It’s certainly no great literary work but it is an interesting read.
It does show the growing recognition of the importance of the telegraph in war-time communications.
Some of the telegrapher’s became well known such as Jesse Bunnell who later designed an improved sideswiper key to deal with telegrapher “glass arm”
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