Pictures Please! Telegraph Operators

telegraph_operators_richmond

Telegraph operators, June 1865, James E. Taylor Collection

Ever wonder what the telegraph operators of the United States Military Telegraph looked like? In earlier posts we have shown the men who ran the USMT,  Anson Stager and Thomas T. Eckert, and even one of the few women operators, Louisa Volker. But what of the other operators? The above image is a popular photograph of the men in the USMT, taken in June of 1865. It was reproduced in the 1911 edition of The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume 8, Page 363, which provides the following identifications:

“…The members of the group are, from left to right: 1, Dennis Doren, Superintendent of Construction; 2, L.D. McCandless; 3, Charles Bart; 4, Thomas Morrison: 5, James B. Norris; 6, James Caldwell; 7, A. Harper Caldwell, chief cipher operator, and in charge; 8, Maynard A. Huyck; 9, Dennis Palmer; 10, J.H. Emerick; 11, James H. Nichols. …”

There is a variant of this image at the Library of Congress:

telegraph_operators_richmond_loc_var_cropped

Richmond, Virginia. Military telegraph operators

Identification is, from left to right: James Caldwell, J.H. Emerick, Charles Bart, L.D. McCandless, Thomas Morrison, James B. Norris, A. Harper Caldwell, Dennis Doren, Dennis Palmer, Maynard A. Huyck, James H. Nichols.

Pulling from these two images we get these close up of the operators:

Charles Bart

A. Harper Caldwell

James Caldwell

Dennis Doren

J.H. Emerick

Maynard A. Huyck

L.D. McCandless

Thomas Morrison

James H. Nichols

James B. Norris

Dennis Palmer

Finally, there is this image, which we have used in several posts, of Thomas T. Eckert with a few of his operators in 1864:

UDID_49424_crop_Eckert_PH

There is no identification given, save for Eckert. But now some of the other men are identifiable, including A. Harper Caldwell immediately behind Eckert, and Dennis Doren to Eckert’s left, staring at the camera. Behind Doren, in profile, is J.H. Emerick. But the other three men? Time and others will possibly identify them.


 

Thanks to Zooniverse users OlEnglish and absoluteforth for the idea of connecting a few faces to a few names.

Sources:

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens: Telegraph operators, June 1865, James E. Taylor Collection : Scrapbook One, page 90: Top (photCL 300, vol. 1, UDID 49337)

The Library of Congress: Richmond, Virginia. Military telegraph operators, Digital ID: (digital file from original neg.) cwpb 03642 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpb.03642 Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens: Col. Thomas Eckert and telegraph assistants, 1864, James E. Taylor Collection : Scrapbook Two, page 55: Top (photCL 300, vol. 2, UDID 49424)

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3 responses to “Pictures Please! Telegraph Operators”

  1. SarahTheEntwife says :

    Do we know if the two Caldwells were related?

    Like

    • marioeinaudi says :

      They certainly look related, but paging through Plum I could not find an answer. Both A. Harper and James are mentioned, but I can see no mention of family (brother/cousin) in relation to their names. Bates only mentions A. Harper three times, James not at all.

      Like

  2. FlowCoef says :

    Straw hats were Popular.

    Like

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