honor to submit my annual report of the operations and condition of U. S. Military Telegraphs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1865, &c. I have the honor to hand you also herewith the reports of such of the officers serving under me as have been received up to this time. That of Captain J. C. Van Duzer, marked A; Captain R. C. Clowry, B; Captain W. G. Fuller, C; Captain W. L. Gross, D; Captain J. R. Gilmore, E; Captain S. G. Lynch, F. The report of Major Thomas T. Eckert has not yet reached me.* My annual report for 1864 was forwarded to your department in the latter part of October, 1864, accompanied by the reports of the several officers acting as assistant superintendents and assistant quartermasters, attached to this branch of the public service.
It has been my duty during the past year to act as chief officer of U. S. Military Telegraphs, having a general superintendence over all the lines, providing the necessary funds, and supervising the purchase of material required for the operation and construction of the same. I have been very ably and energetically assisted in the discharge of my duties as general superintendent of U. S. Military Telegraphs by the several officers acting as assistant superintendents in the various military departments, and I desire to accord to them the greater portion of whatever merit attaches to this branch of the public service. I have the honor to call attention to the reports of those officers, herewith transmitted, and to ask the consideration of the department to the merits of the officers respectively.
The demands of the proper military authorities for telegraphic communication have always been promptly answered, and, I believed, fully satisfied. The military telegraph, under the immediate charge of the several assistant superintendents thereof, has kept company with our armies wherever they have gone and upon all important expeditions, and it is a well-established fact that the mobility of the Army has been greatly accelerated by its usefulness and assistance.
The military telegraph has been an invaluable assistant in the construction and operation of the various military railroads. Trains have been run and many of the roads operated almost exclusively by telegraph. The military railroads and the military telegraph have been great auxiliaries to the gigantic and successful efforts of the Government in suppressing the rebellion.
The military telegraph has operated frequently in the field in conjunction with the Signal Corps, and has rendered efficient aid in this respect by diffusing information from advanced signal stations simultaneously to the headquarters of the commanding general and the different corps headquarters. The military telegraph could be made the means of establishing the Signal Corps of the Army for active operations upon a much more useful basis than heretofore. The telegraph depends not upon the atmosphere nor the weather, but flashes its thoughts alike unheeded, through storm or sunshine, darkness or light. I am, however, of the opinion that the field telegraph, which we have operated independently, as well as in connection with the Signal Corps, could be so perfected and operated as to completely and advantageously supplant the use of a signal corps for military operations.
In may, 1865, it was decided by the War Department that all commercial telegraph lines throughout the Southern States, lately in armed resistance to the U. S. authorities, should be supervised and controlled by the officers of the U. S. Military Telegraph, subject to
*But see Series I, Vol. LI, Part I, p. 261.