Packed in a wooden box, the unit became the heart of the Federal “flying telegraph train.” This portable military telegraph contained about five miles of insulated wire and was transported in two wagons. By 1864, Beardslee’s invention was so successful, Federal commanders dispensed with the formerly used courier riders. Most communications, from that point on, were in the form of telegrams.
The Southern army was unable to use the mobile telegraph systems, at least on par with the Federals. It’s speculated this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the Confederate army, but no one knows for sure. However, this mobile telegraph unit was the direct predecessor of the portable two-way radio.