War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0980 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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"click" of our instruments "have been heard and read by civilians in the roar or cannon and din of war "full as near the opened batteries of Port Hudson as the most enthusiastic admirer of Beardslee's machine ever steadily manipulated his instrument. If the "enemy can connect with the wires of the Union lines" on poles, he can certainly connect more rapidly with those on the ground, or if a "telegraph station is taken by the enemy" the result would be the same, whatever the instrument used. The statement that electric currents from our batteries "require very large conducting wires" can only deceive those unacquainted with telegraphing. One smallest relay magnet wire that is no larger than a horse heir caur system ten times the distance that he can work one of any size. It is a proved and established fact that magnet electric currents will not give the certain, steady, and continuous flow over long lines that is produced by the galvanic current generated in a battery. Material for galvanic batteries is not necessarily "carried in glass or earthen vessels," but can "be transported in metallic vessels" or even in gunny estructible materials used in the construction of our field batteries is sheet copper, and the "considerable supplies" would amount to one pound of material per day for a line of 100 miles in length. If "officers, and even soldiers from the ranks, become expert operators with these instruments after a few hours" practice," to be without good operators must be in issuable folly. Hence the frequent errors in the transmission of these message must result from imperfection of the instrument. In the last movement of our army up the Bayou Teche I was ordered, to make New Iberia the end of our line. From this place Beardslee's instruments were used with the field wire eighteen miles in length toward Vermillionville, which they worked in two circuits of nine miles each. The errors in the messages transmitted were so frequent and annoying that we were obliged to send mounted orderlies with copies of all given them. At Port Hudson these instruments were so inefficient and their performance so unsatisfactory that Major-General Banks gave me orders to take and work their wire of three miles and a half in length, which we connected with our own camp lines and worked to the end of the siege. Major Myer's signal officer in his communication states that there is "occasional liability of going to the next letter to the one intended." The train in the Department of the Gulf, for which they made requisition over the Opelousas Railroad for transportation, consisted of 12 wagons, 38 mules, 13 horses, 52 enlisted men, and 10 teamsters, with 18 miles of wire, of which the parties in charge informed me. Our force, which has not been exceeded, consist of 52 white men (including operators at 23 stations), 13 negroes, 4 horses, 10 mules, 2 army wagons, and 1 ambulance, with 510 miles of lines now working. Our lines have been generally kept ut with the advance giving, the other system but little opportunity to display the superiority claimed. In the field before Port Hudson the commanding general has an operator at his side, who was connected with important points throughout the whole extent of our lines. We are using the same field wire as the Beardslee system, with as much ability to establish lines rapidly. Our perfect instruments are less than two pounds in weight, and their reliability is proved by the success of the Morse telegraph during the past fifteen years. Our whole working apparatus is light, simple in construction, and certain in its operations.

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, A. Q. M., and Asst. Supt. U. S. Military Telegraph.