times the lines have been required to take their course through portions of the revolted States actually in the possession of the enemy, and upon such occasions the constructing parties have been obliged to perform their labor during the night-time only to avoid detection and capture by the enemy. It would be difficult to enumerate the hazards, vexations, and obstacles incident to the construction of military telegraph lines.
The telegraph is ever at the front, occupying the post of danger and of honor. It has been frequently in advance of the army, and it cannot be denied but that the result of its enterprising hazard has often proved of much advantage to our forces. But few cases of capture of telegraphers by the enemy have occurred when these experts have voluntarily assumed advanced and exposed positions.
Follow the army where you will, there you will find the telegraph exercising its vigilance and its protection over the surrounding camps. At the foremost picket-posts, in the rifle-pits, and in the advanced parallels, at any hour of the day or the night, you can listen to the mysterious yet intellectual click of the telegraph instrument. Amidst the strife of battle and the whistling of bullets its swift, silent messengers pass unseen and unharmed.
It is through the medium of the telegraph that the vast amount of supplies of various descriptions required for the daily sustenance of the armies are ordered forward from their depositories. If an advance of the army is to be made, all deficiencies to the comfort and necessities of the troops or any lack of the material of war can, by the assistance of the military wires, be immediately ordered and speedily procured. If a retrograde movement is contemplated all detachments adjacent to the line of march are quicky notified by telegraph, and the whole column is in motion at once.
The public mind has but a faint conception of the magnitude of the use of the army telegraph. Its importance and utility in a military campaign are fully understood only by those who are constantly brought into contact with it as a medium for the daily transaction of their important and extensive business. The military telegraph offices are kept open day and night, continually, the lines thus never being closed to the transaction of business.
Take a glance along the military railroads of the country, and in quiet company with the long, continuous band of iron rail you will observe the air lines of iron wire through which the electric winged messengers of thought flashed the orders of our commanders from one section of the country to another. A distant command on some part of the line receives, through the means of this lighting communication, its orders to move forward and create a diversion in favor of the struggle which is going on in some other part of the line, and, perhaps, by destroying the enemy's line of communication, or his supply trains, a victory is won. General orders are given, armies are moved, battles are planned and fought, and victorihis simple yet powerful aide-de-camp-the military telegraph. Even the history of this unholy rebellion is being recorded by the electric dotting of the telegraph from day to day, as the war progress, let us hope, to its speedy termination, and a reunion against all enemies for all future time. The military railroads and telegraphs are the great arteries which warm the soul and keep alive the body of our grant Union Army.
By a close estimate it appears that at least 1,200,000 telegrams have been sent and received over the military lines in operation during the