Today marks the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental telegraph message linking the Atlantic and Pacific United States. It was sent from the B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 24, 1861, the day the telegraph line between Sacramento and Salt Lake City was completed. The message's content was fairly momentous. Stephen J. Field, Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, informed President Abraham Lincoln that California would stay loyal to the Union.
Apparently The Sacramento Bee (then known as The Daily Bee) wasn't privy to Field's historic communication, since the newspaper reported on Oct. 25:
The overland telegraph line between this city and Salt Lake was completed yesterday, and at dark, last evening, the first communication passed over the wires between these points; but there was no direct communication with any point east of Salt Lake!
The Daily Bee did report other Eastern news that was forwarded from Utah via telegraph. The most important being the death of Oregon Sen. Edward Dickinson Baker. Baker, serving as a colonel in the Union Army, was killed at the Battle of Ball's Bluff fought in Loudoun County, Virginia. See the 1861 Bee article taken from microfilm.
You can also see the original hand-written letter from Justice Field to President Lincoln housed at the Library of Congress.
PHOTO CREDIT: California Chief Justice Stephen J. Field (between 1855 and 1865). Brady-Handy Photograph Collection, Library of Congress.