T.J. Newsome (plaintiff) sent a telegraph ordering expedited delivery of four gallons of whisky for his raft hands working in a dry county. According to Newsome, the workers agreed to construct rafts to transport Newsome’s timber and rosin to Wilmington, North Carolina, during a heavy river flow only if he provided whisky. Newsome said he told the telegraph operator he needed the whisky to get his rafting work done, but the operator transcribed his signature as T.J. Sessons instead of Newsome on the telegram, and the whisky never arrived. Newsome’s crew refused to get in the water without it, so Newsome lost the opportunity created by the heavy river flow. Newsome sued Western Union Telegraph Company (defendant) for the lost profits resulting from the errant telegram. The trial court determined that the damages requested were too speculative and refused to award them. Newsome appealed.