Telegram announcing the surrender of Fort Sumter.

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AndyHall

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Reposted from an earlier thread:

Anderson and the "the heroes of Fort Sumter" came north to New York aboard the steamship Baltic, arriving at New York at midday on April 19. The reference to Baltic is Anderson's location on sending the message; he likely sent it ashore at Sandy Hook with the pilot before he himself disembarked later, at Manhattan.

An early teleprinter was available in 1861, and may have been in use on the New York -- Washington line. From Wiki:

The printing telegraph was invented by Royal Earl House (9 September 1814 - 25 February 1895) in 1846.

The device was made by linking two 28-key piano-style keyboards by wire. Each piano key represented a letter of the alphabet and when pressed caused the corresponding letter to print at the receiving end. A "shift" key gave each main key two optional values. A 56-character typewheel at the sending end was synchronised to coincide with a similar wheel at the receiving end. If the key corresponding to a particular character was pressed at the home station, it actuated the typewheel at the distant station just as the same character moved into the printing position, in a way similar to the daisy wheel printer. It was thus an example of a synchronous data transmission system. House's equipment could transmit around 40 instantly readable words per minute, but was difficult to manufacture in bulk. The printer could copy and print out up to 2,000 words per hour. This invention was first put in operation and exhibited at the Mechanics Institute in New York in 1844.[1][2]

House’s Type Printing Telegraph of 1849 was Royal Earl House's second and much improved type-printing instrument and was widely used on lines on America's east coast from 1850.[3]
 
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Drew

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"Anson Stager, the former general superintendent of the Western Union Company, was another important figure in the secret Civil War. A skilled telegrapher, he served on Gen. George B. McClellan’s staff before being promoted to colonel and put in command of the Military Telegraph Corps. Stager controlled the Union’s entire telegraph system and developed a code based on one used by Scotland’s Earl of Argyle in his fight against the British some 200 years earlier. In Stager’s system, the message’s words were tapped out in standard Morse code, but they were transmitted out of order to make them gibberish unless one knew the decipher key.

To decipher the message, the words had to be rearranged on a grid of rows and columns. The first word in the message was the key that told the reader how to arrange the words in a predetermined vertical or horizontal manner. Some words were standard code words for important cities and individuals (“Lincoln” meant Louisville, Ky., and “Adam” meant Gen. Henry Halleck), and some were “nulls” or meaningless words designed to confuse anyone trying to decipher the message.

Pvt. Charles A. Gaston, a telegrapher serving in the 11th Mississippi and detached as a scout, intercepted Union messages encrypted in Stager’s code near Petersburg in the last year of the war, but Confederate agents were unable to break the code. Some of the encrypted messages were even published in Southern newspapers with rewards offered to anyone who could decode them. Apparently, no one ever collected the money."

From the NYT Opinionator Blog, here.
 

AndyHall

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Dec 13, 2011
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Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Common landfall for ships arriving off New York Harbor. Inbound ships would typically take on a local pilot there to guide them up into New York. In the days before radio, it was also the first opportunity for those on the ship to pass a communication to someone on shore -- hence Major Anderson's telegram dispatched from there.
 
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GrammyCat

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Jul 10, 2017
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"Anson Stager, the former general superintendent of the Western Union Company, was another important figure in the secret Civil War. A skilled telegrapher, he served on Gen. George B. McClellan’s staff before being promoted to colonel and put in command of the Military Telegraph Corps. Stager controlled the Union’s entire telegraph system and developed a code based on one used by Scotland’s Earl of Argyle in his fight against the British some 200 years earlier. In Stager’s system, the message’s words were tapped out in standard Morse code, but they were transmitted out of order to make them gibberish unless one knew the decipher key.

To decipher the message, the words had to be rearranged on a grid of rows and columns. The first word in the message was the key that told the reader how to arrange the words in a predetermined vertical or horizontal manner. Some words were standard code words for important cities and individuals (“Lincoln” meant Louisville, Ky., and “Adam” meant Gen. Henry Halleck), and some were “nulls” or meaningless words designed to confuse anyone trying to decipher the message.

Pvt. Charles A. Gaston, a telegrapher serving in the 11th Mississippi and detached as a scout, intercepted Union messages encrypted in Stager’s code near Petersburg in the last year of the war, but Confederate agents were unable to break the code. Some of the encrypted messages were even published in Southern newspapers with rewards offered to anyone who could decode them. Apparently, no one ever collected the money."

From the NYT Opinionator Blog, here.
Came across a photo of Anson Stager
 

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