The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Abraham Lincoln
Executive Order—Taking into Military Possession all Telegraph Lines in the United States
February 25, 1862

Ordered, first. On and after the 26th day of February instant the President, by virtue of the act of Congress, takes military possession of all the telegraph lines in the United States.

Second. All telegraphic communications in regard to military operations not expressly authorized by the War Department, the General Commanding, or the generals commanding armies in the field, in the several departments, are absolutely forbidden.

Third. All newspapers publishing military news, however obtained and by whatever medium received, not authorized by the official authority mentioned in the preceding paragraph will be excluded thereafter from receiving information by telegraph or from transmitting their papers by railroad.

Fourth. Edward S. Sanford is made military supervisor of telegraphic messages throughout the United States. Anson Stager is made military superintendent of all telegraph lines and offices in the United States.

Fifth. This possession and control of the telegraph lines is not intended to interfere in any respect with the ordinary affairs of the companies or with private business.

By order of the President:


Secretary of War.

Citation: Abraham Lincoln: "Executive Order—Taking into Military Possession all Telegraph Lines in the United States", February 25, 1862. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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