The American Civil War was the war fought between the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South) within the United States. The war erupted after years worth of conflicts between the two sides. Eventually, the Union was able to take the victory home, which ultimately united both sides. If the South would have taken the victory, it would have been two distinct sides. The victory of the Civil War has been accredited to the skill of the commanders, the fighting qualities of troops, and resources in men and material, when in truth, it was all thanks to much more than that, such as the militarys intelligence and communication networks. The use of communication in the military was essential for the victory of the Civil War. Although many people may believe that the Union won due to the North having larger and many more companies and factories, larger cities, and a better economy than the South, nevertheless the Union attained the victory due to their communication networks within the military because they gained insight into the other sides locations and etc., looked at tactics they were using and were able to advance.
The use of communication in the military was essential to the victory of the war for the North. Whether if it was through the form of letters, spies, an etc. Due to the fact that the main source of communication during the civil war was through letters, people had to advance so that others for whom the letters werent intended for, wouldnt be able to identify the content of what was being said. Many of the times, letters were intercepted, and the information was leaked, which affected either the Union or the Confederacy. Letters evolved over time, using ciphers to uncover the true motive of the letter. Military communication was a prominent aspect to the victory of the Civil War. If the military had no type of communication, they wouldnt have been able to gain insight, know when they were overpowered, and other information that was essentially a necessity.
Communication between the military and others was a necessity because they needed to know information, because they could not just go in blindly, they needed to know that they were doing the correct thing. For instance, the Battle at Gettysburg, was not a mere collision of the two armies, the Confederates were going in blindly, but not the Union. The Union had marched 150 miles knowing that they would be there, because of the soldier-spies, that had reported back to them. The Union had spies that communicated back to them, fourteen locally organized groups of spies, had granted the Union the information necessary for the victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. According to the primary source, Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) to Colonel Robert Crooke Wood, the historical context is that it describes the armies preparedness, during the time of the Battle at Vicksburg. Furthermore, the importance of this document is that it demonstrates how with the communication they held between each other, they were able to continue the war because they had knowledge of what was occurring and if they were ready at the moment.
The intended audience is Colonel Robert Crooke Wood and the purpose is to inform the Colonel of his army being well supplied with surgeons, medicines, medical supplies and hospital accommodations. It is a piece of letter that informs about the soldiers battling at the Vicksburg and how he was worried because many of the population had been wounded. The perspective is from William Tecumseh Sherman, who commands an army, and this is important because it is a form of communication, in which was effective because they informed each other whether they were prepared to go to battle. This piece of evidence demonstrates how a method of communication within the military was through letters, which was very so effective because they were able to communicate important information such as being prepared to continue going into war. Based on the primary source, Knox, William (1756-1795) Knoxs army diary (incomplete), the historical context is that it is on information about military tactics around the Battle of Germantown. It mentions movements of the army and important events that had occurred.
Additionally, the importance of this document is that it represents how the army was doing in terms of ground they covered, materials they were in need of, things they had encountered that was information that could benefit them. The intended audience is that due to it being a diary, it was either for himself or for future references, if anything ever happened to him, or if he had to make reports to someone higher in power or status. The purpose was to record the movements of the army around Philadelphia in September and October 1777. The perspective was from William Knox who was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the U.S. Army, who also served as the 1st United States Secretary of War from 1789 to 1794. It is important because it records important information that was helpful for others in the military, like when it states on September 19, Intelligence recd. of the enemys pushing for Philadelphia the army crossd the Schylkill.
According to a primary source, Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Nicholas Eveleigh, it is another primitive example of how military communication helped the Union be at a stage of benefit. The historical context is that is notes important events that relate to that of war. For instance, it mentions how ships loaded with arms had arrived from France and that Lord Cornwallis nearly captured General Benjamin Lincoln. Moreover, the context is that it informs the intended audience of prominent information such as the shipment of materials that were needed for the continuation of the war. The intended audience was Nicholas Eveleigh, who was an American planter and political leader who was a delegate to the Continental Congress for South Carolina in 1781 and 1782. The purpose is to inform of important details regarding the war and possible information that would help in the future of the war. The perspective is from Henry Knox, the secretary of War and it is important because it lists reports that were prominent to the continuation of the war, such as war materials arriving. If they hadnt received insight on the arrival of the materials, they wouldnt have known, when to continue and when to go pick up the latest arrival.
Military communication was also used to let others know of plans that had went through, whether they were struggling or etc. According to a primary source named, Schuyler, Philip John (1733-1804) to James Duane, it demonstrates how the military communicated hardships or celebrations. In addition, the source is a piece of evidence that altered the war because many of those fighting the war, communicated about their losses and victories, in order to tell them details about how the other side was doing and the locations of where they were last at.The historical context is that it goes into great detail of the battle fought in New York, where they had to take the defeat due to them being overwhelmed. It states, abandon the fortress on York Island because the enemys strength was overwhelming. The intended audience is James Duane, a political leader throughout the war. The purpose is to inform the and give a response to James in terms of military actions that were taken and should be taken. It also informs of insight in terms of counties wanting to break away from New York and etc.
The perspective is from Philip John Schuyler, a general in the American Revolution, and a United States senator from New York. This is important because it is a letter with intelligence that would benefit the Union, if they had received such important information. According to a primary source, Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to Lucy Knox, it demonstrates how even within family, military information was passed. The historical context is that it reports little activities since the retreat in the Battle of Long Island. It discusses military activities and the effects of such movements. The intended audience is Lucy Knox, the wife of Henry Know, I believe. The purpose is to inform her of important information such as military movements and life. Albeit, the information may seem to broad, in terms of its relation to the topic, the context of the letter was prominent because anyone who might intercept the letter would just see that there is communication between family, therefore, they would not care much of what the information could have potentially said. The perspective is from Henry Knox, a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, who also served as the 1st United States Secretary of War. It is important because they oftentimes speculated of military activities that would occur later on, due to the information they had received. They informed one another of details regarding the military and etc.
Military communication was more like military intelligence because it helped the military advance and know certain information, such as locations, names of certain people, the events of the current situation and more. According to a secondary source, Military Intelligence During Americas Civil War,it mentioned how a major part of intelligence used during the Civil War was through the following source: spies, scouts, cavalry reconnaissance, captured documents, mail, newspapers, interrogation of enemy prisoners, deserters, refugees, contrabands (fugitive slaves) ordinary civilians, balloonists and signal corps stations of observation.
According to a secondary source, Lincoln in the Telegraph Office: Recollections of the United States Military Telegraph Corps during the Civil War, it mentions how essential communication in the military actually was. It discusses how the electric telegraph maintained speedy communication between Washington and armies in distant fields. By the ending of the war, the Union had strung over fifteen hundred miles of military telegraph line, whereas the Confederacy had only about a thousand. It was estimated that 6,500,00 Union messages passed over the wires during the war at a cost of about 40 cents per message. Ciphers were also very commonly used. The service arbitrarily assigned significance to certain words, or arranged words in a false position, throwing in meaningless words to confuse certain readers.
According to a secondary source, The secret War for the Union: The Untold Story of Military Intelligence in the Civil War, it mentions how the success was due to the militarys communication. It states, for example, the standard depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg as the accidental collision of two armies marching half blindly is found to be true only for the Confederates. Their 150-mile march from the Rappahannock River to Pennsylvania was penetrated by soldier-spies whose findings enabled the pursuing Federals to cross the Potomac simultaneously with the main body of the invaders, and unbeknown to them. The Confederates assumed dangerously dispersed positions across South-Central Pennsylvania, their movements reported by fourteen locally organized groups of citizen-spies and scouts.
In conclusion, the communication within the military was essential to the victory of the Union. Without the military communication, the Union would have been unable to win against the Confederates. Although many historians may believe that the Union was able to take the victory to the South due to its tactics or a better sustained economy, nevertheless, the Union was able to become victorious due to the communication networks in the military because they were able to gain insight, they were able to learn certain tactics from the other team, being able to know the location from the other side and etc. Communication network was an aspect of the Civil War that was essentially the victory of the war, due to the reaps of benefits, such as the importance of information.
Cite this page