The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 67
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Notes and Documents
On March 9, 1868, General J. J. Reynolds, commanding the
District of Texas, sent to the assistant adjutant general of the Fifth
Military District in New Orleans an estimate of the cost of a
telegraph line connecting the various military posts from the Red
River to the Rio Grande and "urgently recommended that au-
thority be granted to build this line ... as an important auxiliary
to the defense of the Texas frontier."3 With the aid of the tele-
graph line Reynolds believed that the raids could be greatly cur-
tailed. The recommendation was forwarded to the House of Rep-
resentatives but no action was taken.4
During the years between 1846 and 1866, a telegraph network
was established that linked one part of the country with the other.
In 1861, communications by telegraphy between the Atlantic and
Pacific coasts were completed.5 Nevertheless, vast sections of the
country, notably the southwestern frontier, were not serviced by
either commercial or military lines.
Texas was not connected with the outside world by telegraph
until 1854, when the East Texas town of Marshall was linked to
New Orleans.6 The important port town of Galveston waited
until 1859 before a line was finally completed to the island; and
it was not until 1865 that the capital city of Austin had a tel-
egraph office.' Under those circumstances it is not surprising that
the frontier was without the benefit of the telegraph.
In 1869, General Reynolds reported that the "Indian raids
during the past year have been unusually bold, and have pen-
etrated into the settlements." Loss of life and heavy damage to
livestock and property had resulted from the forays. Voluntary
county organizations were sometimes effective but just as often
they were not. Again, he urged that a telegraph line be built.8
3House Committee Reports, 43rd Cong., Ist Sess. (Serial No. 1623), Report No.
61, pp. 2-3.
"Robert L. Thompson, Wiring a Continent (Princeton, 1947), 368, 440.
'The Texas Republican (Marshall), February 18, 25, 1854.
7Dallas News, January 19, 1954; New Braunfels Herald, November 15, 1949. In
1865, the Army in the Gulf Department, which included Texas, put 3400 miles of
telegraph lines in order. General Philip Sheridan also ordered the construction of
nlew lines in Texas to connect him with such distant posts as those at San Antonio
and Brownsville. William R. Plum, The Military Telegraph During the Civil War
(2 vols.; Chicago, 1882), II, 341-342.
sHouse Committee Reports, 43rd Cong., Ist Sess. (Serial No. 1623), Report No.
61, pp. 3-4-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/85/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.