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Civil War books Schroeder Publications Telegraph Goes To War David Homer Bates

The Telegraph Goes To War: The Diary of David Homer Bates

Edited by Donald E. Markle


            David Homer Bates was Lincolnís telegraph operator during the war and one of three expert Union code breakers who kept the Union strategically ahead of the Confederacy throughout the war.  His diary, an extraordinary document for its detail and informative nature, has never been published in its entirety.  Bates was in a unique position to observe the entire Civil War as it was fought in all theaters of operation. As Lincolnís telegraph operator, he was one of the first to know as events unfolded.  Lincoln often came to the telegraph office, in the War Department building adjacent to the White House, and sat with Bates and other operators reading and responding to messages from Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and hundreds of other commanders in the field.  Through his close association with Lincoln, Stanton and other government officials Bates was intimately familiar with the political, diplomatic, and social machinations of the time, and the personal lives of high governmental officials.  He was particularly shaken by the assassination of Lincoln and the coordinated attack on Secretary of State Seward.  Following Mr. Markleís brief, but thorough, history of the development of the telegraph for the military, including the fundamentals of the codes used by both the Union and the Confederacy.  Batesís diary gives us an intimate look at life in the telegraphic center of the world from 1863 through 1865.   6 x 9, case bound, pH neutral paper.  Copyright  2003.  Reprinted by Schroeder Publications in 2006.  Price:  $27.95.  ISBN-1-892059-02-9.

Editor:   Donald E. Markle spent 34 years in the U.S. Intelligence Service of the Department of Defense where he worked as a ctyptologist, predominantly at the National Security Agency.  His interest in all aspects of communications in military environments is unabated in retirement. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Markle has lectured on the telegraph at the Smithsonian Institute and the National Archives.  He now teaches in the Elderhostel Program at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he resides.  His first book, Spies and Spymasters of the Civil War, was a selection of the Military Book Club.

Reviews:   ďBatesís diary is the raw material of reminiscence, companion comments on people and times in wartime Washington.  Bates was part of the action, a witness to history, (and) both Bates and Lincoln in their own way contributed to the future.Ē  ~~B. Franklin Cooling, Industrial College of the Armed Forces


Civil War books Schroeder Publications Telegraph Goes To War David Homer Bates The Telegraph Goes To War:  The Diary of David Homer Bates


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