unimportant dispatches a time when the utmost celerity is demanded for really important dispatches, is a perversion of its use which ought not to be sanctioned.
The prevalent idea that he who sends most dispatches is most efficient is as untrue as it is absurd.
The very efficient service which the military telegraph has rendered the military authorities within the department has been from time to time acknowledged in an unofficial manner; but justice demands that these acknowledgments should receive official sanction.
Spread out as these lines State, and extending to its borders, we have been enabled to give the military authorities prompt and timely notice of the approach or appearance of the enemy.
In times of actual invasion or imminent danger no persons in the employ of the Government, whether they be officers, soldiers, or citizens, or with whatever branch of the service they may be connected, have been more faithful, attentive, or sleepless than the military telegraph operator, who, after working hard all day in the discharge of his ordinary duties, has sat by his instrument half, two-thirds, or even all night long, faithfully watching, ready to send or receive the important dispatch that should give timely notice of the enemy's movements or foil his most daring schemes.
The general condition and working of the lines under my charge has been greatly improved since the 1st of January. I doubt if lines can be found anywhere, which are not extended along railroads, upon which fewer interruptions occur from natural causes, or where less time is lost in reopening communication when an interruption occurs, or which works clearer in all kinds of weather, than the military lines within this department.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. GROSS,
Captain and A. Q. M., Asst. Supt. U. S. Military Telegraph.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. MILITARY TELEGRAPH,
DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Nashville, Tenn., October 26, 1864.
Captain SAM. BRUCH,
A. Q. M. and Asst. Supt. U. S. Mil. Tel., Louisville, Ky.:
CAPTAIN: At the commencement of the fiscal year last past I was acting in the capacity of assistant superintendent U. S. Military Telegraph for the Department of the Cumberland, without rank, and was pushing the reconstruction of the line south, along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, keeping pace with the advance of the Army of the Cumberland from Murfreesborough, and on the afternoon of the 2nd of July my party entered Tullahoma and opened an office at the headquarters of General Rosecrans, commanding army and department; three hours after the establishment of such headquarters having opened offices at Fosterville and Wartrace. On the 14th the line was extended to Elk River, and an office opened at the camp of the Pioneer Brigade; on the 5th to Decherd, and on the 7th, at the headquarters of the Twentieth Army Corps, at Winchester.