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Civil War message opened, decoded: No help coming
AP/YahhoNewa ^ | 12/25/10 | STEVE SZKOTA

Posted on 12/26/2010 1:39:06 AM PST by Kartographer

A glass vial stopped with a cork during the Civil War has been opened, revealing a coded message to the desperate Confederate commander in Vicksburg on the day the Mississippi city fell to Union forces 147 years ago.

The dispatch offered no hope to doomed Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton: Reinforcements are not on the way.

The encrypted, 6-line message was dated July 4, 1863, the date of Pemberton's surrender to Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Siege of Vicksburg in what historians say was a turning point midway into the Civil War.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Mississippi
KEYWORDS: civil; civilwar; coming; confederate; decoded; help; johnpemberton; message; mississippi; opened; pemberton; vicksburg; war

1 posted on 12/26/2010 1:39:12 AM PST by Kartographer
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To: Kartographer
I know the feeling,

everytime I open the news and hear about another act of congress or the executive. Resisting the federal monster is a tough business

2 posted on 12/26/2010 1:53:10 AM PST by KTM rider ( patriot turned rebel)
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To: KTM rider

The message that we are losing to socialism reached voters in 2010, years too late as well.

3 posted on 12/26/2010 2:12:40 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (REPEAL WASHINGTON! -- Islam Delenda Est! -- I Want Constantinople Back. -- Rumble thee forth.)
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To: Kartographer

Stayed at a B&B in Vicksburg a few years back. A 3” cannon ball is still embedded in the door frame to one of the rooms INSIDE the house. I was told a union gun boat went up and down the river firing rounds indescriminately (sp?) into the city.

4 posted on 12/26/2010 5:25:42 AM PST by Terry Mross
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To: Kartographer

Thanks for posting this, K.
I enjoyed reading this tiny historical tidbit.
If the second messenger (carrying the code) failed to arrive,
Pemberton, himself, may have never known what the message said.
...strange little bottle containing a tightly wrapped note, a .38-caliber bullet and a white thread...had sat undisturbed at the museum since 1896.

...the 6 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch paper, which was folded to fit into the bottle.

The encrypted, 6-line message was dated July 4, 1863.
The code is called the “Vigenere cipher”, a centuries-old encryption in which letters of the alphabet are shifted a set number of places so an “a” would become a “d”...was widely used by Southern forces...

The full text of the message to Pemberton reads:
“Gen’l Pemberton:
You can expect no help from this side of the river. Let Gen’l Johnston know, if possible, when you can attack the same point on the enemy’s lines. Inform me also and I will endeavor to make a diversion. I have sent some caps. I subjoin a despatch from General Johnston.”

The last line seems to suggest a separate delivery to Pemberton would be the code to break the message.

So what about the bullet in the bottom of the bottle?
...the messenger was instructed to toss the bottle into the river if Union troops intercepted his passage. The weight of the bullet would have carried the corked bottle to the bottom...

5 posted on 12/26/2010 6:59:06 AM PST by Repeal The 17th
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To: Kartographer
6 posted on 12/26/2010 8:09:39 AM PST by carton253 (Ask me about The Stainless Banner - a free e-zine dedicated to the armies of the Confederacy.)
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