Manchester Bluff: A Civil War Novel
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Thanks much, Cynthia. I never was much of a cryptogram person, so I had no hope of cracking the code. Wow, the code took me back to the newspaper Cryptograms my paternal grandmother used to enjoy 'cracking'. And the code 'books' and games of my childhood. Besides enjoying this interesting article, I want to congratulate you on your selection for the year's HubPages honours!
Good work as ever! Thanks, Lawrence. I, too, found it a fascinating story. In fact, there are many incidents of the siege of Vicksburg that are still of compelling interest today. Fascinating read here, I'd heard of the battle of Vicksburg, but didn't know too much else, this was a great read. And he's worked on most all brands Starting the initial normal key with the alphabet in correct order, underneath it, copy the alphabet again in correct order, except for beginning with "Z" and continuing in the proper order from there, omitting "Z" at the end.
To encode, use letters from the top row, and substitute for its companion letter just below. To decode, go the opposite direction.
Review: 'Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring' by Enimga Alberti and Tony Cliff - GeekMom
I think the message would have been straightforward to decrypt, provided both the sender and the receiver had a common understanding of the method used. We would have to ask someone who is knowledgeable on how the signals folks of the Civil War era were taught to know if, in this case, sender and receiver may have had different understandings of method and keyword. In other words, taught one method, maybe did not pay attention in class, and then used another method. My recall from trying to learn about Vigenere is that the system was developed in the 's.
Even though the system was known, it was indeed considered near unbreakable by a third party anyone who intercepted the message if they were not aware of the method and keywords or keystream used. It would also be difficult and slow to break if sender and receiver had different understandings of the method used. You indicate that the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia held the bottle and message. If I can get down that way, I'll stop in and ask about it.
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Would you be 'ok' with me sharing this article with them? Thanks so much, MsDora. I thought some readers might have fun trying to work it out before, like me, they gave up in frustration! FitnezzJim, it's great that you really gave deciphering the message a try. I have to admit that from the beginning I knew it was far too difficult for me. I wonder whether Union codebreakers in that cryptologically less sophisticated time could have decoded the message if the bottle had fallen into their hands. Interesting story told by a great story teller. The way you included the letter and solicited help to solve it was brilliant.
Suddenly the reader was involved in solving the mystery. Thelma, I remember seeing something about the message in Lincoln's watch a few years ago. It's another reminder that history is about real people living multifaceted lives. Thanks for reading. Ron, like you, I am a lover of history. However, I had not heard about this message in a bottle.
It reminds me of a hub I wrote about the secret message inside Lincoln's watch. You can always learn something new in history! Ok, so I stopped at that point, realizing that maybe this is why the battle was lost. BTW, I'm an amateur at this stuff, so I could be confused about what qualifies as Vigenere and what does not, but I can say the system here is different from and simpler than what the folks trying to solve Kryptos call a Vigenere system. This is a fascinating article. The explanation of the Vigenere system is different from how the Kryptos system is described.
In Kryptos, the system is described as two keywords, one to generate a scrambled alphabet as in substitution systems , and the second keyword to generate offsets in the starting point of the scramble alphabet similar to what you describe. Thanks, Eric. I find history endlessly fascinating, and I enjoy sharing some of the lesser-known events that still have resonance today. Thanks, CJ. In my opinion Vicksburg was as much a turning point of the war as was Gettysburg. So I agree, it's a must-see site. Liz, I don't know specifically if that method of coding was ever used, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had been.
Thanks, Liz. I admire people like your mom. I used to do crossword puzzles, but was only successful with the simple ones. The New York Times puzzle was way beyond me - I never came close. Interestingly, in WW2 one of the ways the British recruited their codebreakers was by looking for people who were good at crossword puzzles.
I just thought of another way to make a cipher more difficult: by deliberate misspelling of words to their phonetic equivalent, or their equivalent as follows rules of pronunciation. Alternately, a straight phonetic spelling of any word with complex spelling, such as, "fezant," instead of "pheasant. I did not try it; I'm not so good at those kinds of puzzles. However, my mother would have loved to tackle it.
I don't know if she could have gotten it, either, but she sure would have given it a valiant try! She LOVED crossword puzzles; the harder, the better, even doing ones where the clues were often puns or riddles. She was also expert at doing the cryptograms in the daily paper. Those, too, are a substitution cipher of sorts. She had a strategy for solving those.
I don't think, however, that she ever tried one requiring a key phrase. Virginia, I'm sure a battlefield tour at Vicksburg must be fascinating, and it's something I'd love to do some day. Thanks for reading! Interesting article!
I visited the site of Vicksburg with my father many years ago. We went on a "Civil War battlefield tour" together and it started my interest in that period of time in American history. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc. As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.
Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Ronald E Franklin more. A Desperate General But now Vicksburg was under siege. A Mysterious Museum Exhibit For whatever reason, Captain Smith held on to the message bottle for decades after the war. Can You Break the Code? Were you able to break the code?
Yes - I figured it out! No - I tried but couldn't do it No - I can't even do a crossword puzzle, let alone something like this See results. Return to Book Page. Preview — Manchester Bluff by J. Manchester Bluff by J. Proffitt Goodreads Author.
Secret Message From Civil War Siege of Vicksburg Decoded
Jason Alexander is abruptly informed that he won't be able to finish his studies at Illinois College because the school is closing down for the Civil War in the fall of Jason's adventures begin on the train ride to Washington when he foils an attempt by an evil member of Jason Alexander is abruptly informed that he won't be able to finish his studies at Illinois College because the school is closing down for the Civil War in the fall of Jason's adventures begin on the train ride to Washington when he foils an attempt by an evil member of the subversive Knights of the Golden Circle to assassinate Anna Ella Carroll, a close confidant of President Abraham Lincoln.
Reporting to the assistant secretary of war, Agent Alexander examines mysterious documents and explores the dangerous countryside for clues to the Confederacy's uncanny ability to smuggle critical information out of Washington and into the hands of Jeb Stuart's cavalry, lurking just beyond the outer perimeter of the city's defenses.
Miss Carroll mentors Jason as he confronts both War Department politics and the determined enemies of the Union.
Jason Alexander's gripping saga finds him locked in deadly struggles for survival as one revealing discovery leads to another at the war's most pivotal moments just prior to Gettysburg. Manchester Bluff is a thrilling story of individual sacrifice and determination that blends fact and fiction in a way that makes it impossible to determine which is which. This is a must-read for Civil War and thriller aficionados alike. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Manchester Bluff , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jun 29, Susan rated it did not like it. I wanted to like this novel. The author is an instructor note not in history at Illinois College; the novel begins in Morgan County; and includes scenes in Jacksonville and at Illinois College in as the "hero" is called away from his studies at IC to join the War Department.