The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Movements in the West

What was the first message sent across the continent?

On October 24, 1861, the governor of California wired the mayor of New York City. “May the Union be perpetual,” the telegraph message began.

In a sense, that was it so far as the Confederate cause in the Far West was concerned. Once the East and West coasts were connected by a telegraph in Union hands, Northern troops, ships, and money could be sent back and forth with relative ease. The Confederates, by contrast, could only guess as to what was happening in the Far West. For the second time—balloons had come first—the Union demonstrated its technological edge, a superiority that would only increase.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App