Friday, December 16, 2011

"No Help Coming!": Message Decoded-- Part 2

The code it was written in is called Vigenere cipher and is a century-old encryption. The letters of the alphabet are shifted a set number of places. In this case, an "a" became a "d".

This code was used often by Confederate forces. Too bad lee's orders at Antietam weren't in code.

It was Major General John W. Walker of the Texas Division. Captain William Smith was under his command.

The text:

Gen'l Pemperton

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 subjoin a despatch from General Johnston.

Obviously, Gen. Walker had no idea of the impending surrender when he sent it.

Too little, Too Late. --Old B-Runner


DennyG said...

Too late indeed. The city had already offered to surrender on the third. Whether Grant delayed a day to think through the terms (He apparently ended up backing off from his "unconditional" stance.) or to intentionally place the surrender on Independence Day is debatable but the residents felt it was the latter. They refused to celebrate the holiday until the feds made it an official -- and paid -- one in 1941.

It's cool that details like this message are still being discovered all these years later.

RoadDog said...

Things like this keep the war "alive" for me.