Title: Lincoln in The Telegraph Office
Author: David Homer Bates
Bates, David Homer (1907, 1939, 1995). Lincoln in The Telegraph Office: Recollections of The U.S. Military Telegraph Corps During The Civil War. Lincoln, NE : University of Nebraska Lincoln
- Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
- United States. Military Telegraph Corps.
- Military telegraph–United States–History–19th century.
- United States–History–Civil War, 1861-1865–Communications.
Date Updated: April 4, 2017
Reviewed by George C. Constantinides
Richard Rowan in The Story of Secret Service calls to our attention the fact that the invention of telegraphic wire tapping occurred in the American Civil War, making it an American development in military intelligence. The author of this book, first published in 1907, was manager of the U.S. War Department Telegraph Office and a cipher-operator during the years 1861-1866. He was one of the first four operators in this office, involved in both cryptographic and cryptanalytic duties. Unfortunately only some four chapters are devoted to codes, ciphers, and cryptologic matters and to Union counterintelligence—using deciphered messages against Confederate agents. What Bates reveals only whets the appetite for more. Still, we learn that the Confederates failed to break higher-level Union cryptographic systems while the Union had greater success. A historical gem is his description of President Lincoln’s personal interest in the breaking of enciphered Confederate messages.
In David Kahn’s monumental The Codebreakers, a chapter is partly based on this work. Taylor’s The Signal and Secret Service of the Confederate States tells a little of what has come down to us about the Confederate cryptologic effort.
 George C. Constantinides in Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press (1983), pp. 75-76
 Rowan, Richard Wilmer (1967) with Robert G. Deindorfer. Secret Service: Thirty-Three Centuries of Espionage. New York, Hawthorn Books
 Taylor, Charles E. (1903, 1986). The Signal And Secret Service of The Confederate States. Harmans, MD: Toomey Press