Diary of Orrin Brown—March 2, 1865

Telegram-A.Lincoln to Lt.Gen. Grant, March 2, 1865Diary of Orrin Brown, Chesterfield County, South Carolina

Thursday–March 2nd

We were on the road at 6 AM and found very good roads for 4 or 5 miles and then the road was dreadful muddy and we marched very fast. It rained some through the night and it has been misty and wet all day. We haulted about 1 PM for the train to come up and lay there till about 4 PM then fell in and marched about 2 miles and went into camp about 5 PM in a beautifull pine grove. We crossed Lynch Creek about a mile back. I read 7 Chapts. in the Testament today.

Abraham Lincoln was the original wired president.  The advent of the telegraph gave Lincoln historical access to near real-time information from across the front during the Civil War.  In May 1862, a telegraph office was opened at the War Department, next door to the White House, and Lincoln was online from then to his end.

By the same note, Sherman’s prolonged breaks in communication on the march would have created more worry now (with our expectation of 24/7 broadband connectivity) then they might have previously, when the telegraph hadn’t provided for regular intelligence.  On 2 March 1865, the President sent a telegram to U.S. Grant, then in the field at City Point, Virginia, inquiring about the day’s newspapers from Richmond.  Grant responded:

Richmond papers received daily.  No bulletins were sent…because there was not an item of either good or bad news in them.  There is every indication that Genl Sherman is perfectly safe.  I am looking every day for direct news from him.



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