Confederate Telegraphy Equipment

At the outbreak of war, the Confederates became the first into the field with their own corps of signalers. They also became adept practitioners of telegraphy. Indeed, so handy did some Rebs become with the telegraph key that they were perhaps the first in peace or war to "wire tap." Some former railroad telegraphers riding with Rebel partisans learned how to throw a wire across telegraph transmission lines, cut one, and tap into the break with a portable key. The consequence was a breach of Federal security, and a couple of waggish Rebel soldiers sending false messages of their own just to confuse the enemy. The creation of secret communications ciphers were among the most esoteric enterprises of the war. Complex keys and ciphers were in use in both armies, leading to equally innovative efforts at cipher breaking. Communications were vital in this continental war.

Military Cipher Communications


1 Telegraph relay used by the Army of Northern Virginia

2 and 3 Brass encoding and decoding discs

4 Rubber insulated telegraph wire

5 Pocket telegraph relay

Railroad Telegraph Relay

Veterans' Medals and Medals of Honor

At the start of the war, the greatest in American history, neither side had recognized awards for valor. Once the conflict was over, veterans' organizations flourished in the North and became a major aspect of social life, issuing many medals, a small selection of which are shown here. Veterans in the impoverished South, however, did not organize themselves until the latter part of the 19th century.

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A selection of Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) National Encampment Badges as awarded to personnel who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War

A further selection of Grand Army of the Republic National Encampment

Examples of National Encampment Badges awarded to members of the Union forces by the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of

Grand Army Badges

Pennsylvania the Civil War

Selection of badges and insignia 5 Badges struck for and awarded by struck for and awarded by the Veteran Union units to commemorate formal

Society to those personnel who had postwar reunion gatherings fought on the side of the Union during continued ►

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