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Civil War Cell Phones. Essay

1028 words - 4 pages

By John GrayMay 6,2003Mr. Fiddler 6th periodCivil War Cell phones"Remember back in the days?" This is a famous quote by many of the older generations, which came before us. However, really if you think about it they are a bit spoiled; they had it much better than earlier generations. They had telephones, etc. not like the much older generations. With war looming in Iraq just think how much more difficult it was to communicate during the Civil War as compared to our modern generals. The U.S. Army officers in particular can really appreciate our modern forms of communication. Just think of how difficult it was for generals, such as Lee, Grant, Longfellow, Meade, Jackson, and the beloved General Sherman. During their time it was much more difficult to communicate. How did communication affect the battlefield then and now?During the Civil War days, the most advanced form of communication was the telegraph. Imagine how much work that would cut off for the delivery boy who would have had to ride a horse to get the message to someone. The down side to this was that the telegraph required long wires. Often times when the enemy found a wire, they would cut it and so on the battlefield the telegraph was not very useful. They could also be tapped into in order to find out information on the enemy. The most useful part of the telegraph during this time was that Commanding Generals could relay information and battle plans over great distances. The telegraph was most useful for the Union Army since the majority of fighting took place in the south and the northern troops were able to upset the telegraphs of the southern army.Now if they couldn't communicate with telegrams the next best thing was using horses to deliver messages. The advantage of horses that telegrams could not do was that on the battlefield they could easily go back and forth delivering messages. Another important point was that the message delivered on horse could not be intercepted as easily as the telegraph. The enemy could tap into the telegraph line of their opponent and no one could know they were listening. The messages delivered on horseback by carriers were much more secure. If a messenger on horse was captured, you know your intelligence was compromised. A message delivered on horseback had many weaknesses also. It was not nearly as fast as the telegraph and its range of communication was shorter. Horses were also expensive to buy and required constant care. On the battlefield, a horse was an easy target to hit. It was much larger and canon artillery fire or an enemy sniper could easily hit it, crippling the communication of a unit.Delivering messages on horseback was not always practical. Some commanders, especially lower ranking commanders, did not have the immediate access to horses as the higher-ranking officers had. Many times these commanders had to rely on human runners. Human runners had their advantages and disadvantages as well. They were smaller than horses and not as...

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