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Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails

How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War

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About the Book

Abraham Lincoln's two great legacies to history—his extraordinary power as a writer and his leadership during the Civil War—come together in this close study of the President's use of the telegraph. Invented less than two decades before he entered office, the telegraph came into its own during the Civil War. In a jewel–box of historical writing, Wheeler captures Lincoln as he adapted his folksy rhetorical style to the telegraph, creating an intimate bond with his generals that would ultimately help win the war.

About the Author

Tom Wheeler

Tom Wheeler is managing director of Core Capital and the author of Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War. He is chairman and president of the Foundation for the National Archives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the American story through its documents, and a former director of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He lives in Washington, D.C.


“. . . an original take on Lincoln’s presidency” —Washington Post Book World

“Wheeler [reveals] our now god-like 16th President to be an astute manipulator of modern technology.” —Ken Burns, Filmmaker, PBS's The Civil War

A lively account that crackles with revealing anecdotes and insights, offering new ways to appreciate Lincoln’s genius. —Library Journal

The book thunders along, following the ‘messages of lightning’ down the wires….The writing is focused and lean. —Bloomberg News

“A fascinating, succinct and original history of how a great President used cutting-edge technology to save his country.” —Michael Beschloss, presidential historian, author of The Conquerors

“Just when we might think nothing new can be written about Lincoln comes Wheeler’s captivating take on the Lincoln legacy.” —Harold Holzer, co-chairman, U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, author of Lincoln at Cooper Union

“Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails is an accessible jaunt through this formative American event.” —USA Today