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    Description

    Civil War. An Extremely Rare Union Cipher Book for Generals and Places. A 26-page (18 blank), 4" x 6", circa 1863 Union army cipher book with board covers with gold stamp rules. During the Civil War both Union and Confederate armies understood the critical importance of protecting ciphers and codes sent via the telegraph and developed encryption to prevent messages from being read by the enemy. The Union Army's initial attempts at using a cipher was easily broken, so the army employed a more complicated cipher developed by Anson Stager, which used route transposition, whereby words were written in a matrix line by line, with the cipher text then formed by taking the words column by column according to a certain route. As the war progressed, the Stager cipher was developed into twelve versions and changes. This book here appears to relate to ciphers 9, 10, and 12, which were adopted in 1862. These ciphers were formed on a template which included a commencement word (indicators) and an arbitrary word (code words), to which specific routes and meanings were handwritten for respective versions. This book commences with instructions on how to use the template.
    "Write given number of words - space regularly, so as to form________columns. At end each column an extra or check word will be added. Commencement words indicate number of lines in message, the number of lines not to exceed______after ________lines begin anew. If message will not fill out column, add a few words after signature, in relation to the weather, etc. The real address and signature must be written in body of message, and Cipher addressed to Cipher operator."
    There are seven pages of code words, with fifteen sets of words on each page, following the instructions. The book, which is in mint condition, has not been used.
    There is a filled-copy of this exact cipher book at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and it is referred to as a Cipher Book for Generals and Places.
    Cipher books such as this rarely appear on the market.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    17th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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