Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Josh Wallick

Abraham Lincoln’s use of the emerging telegraph network won the Civil War for the Union. The telegraph system developed because the commanding officers needed to communicate quickly and efficiently. The telegraph eventually became the greatest weapon President Lincoln had at his disposal. Everyone knows that Abraham Lincoln was cursed by poor generals in the Civil War, but what most people do not know is how he overcame it. Through the eventual realization that his generals could not fight against the South efficiently, President Lincoln effectively became the “ghost” general at the front. Lincoln’s telegraph station was set up next to the White House. He did this partly to keep a more orderly office, where he could receive military advisors. From his telegraph command center he was able to direct the troops effectively without being in harm’s way. Lincoln eventually appointed Ulysses S. Grant to General-in-Chief. This allowed Grant control all Union armies, whom applied the North’s battle strategies. With leadership on the field that the nation desperately needed, Lincoln effectively set up the modern leadership model that is still in place today. The leadership model he bestowed to the nation tracked troop conditions and watched soldier movement. This enabled him to give his full attention to the overall war. Much to the South’s distress, Lincoln was not the “country bumpkin” he had been projected to be. With many in the South believing this image, they underestimated him. Lincoln strategically moved his troops so that the North would have fewer casualties than the South. With President Lincoln presiding over many battles, the North was able to defeat the South through repetitive relentless barrages. Josh Wallick Fisher High School Fisher, IL