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Posted By: Tom Ryan on: 03/18/2010 14:02:46 EDT
Subject: Codes, ciphers, etc.

Message Detail:
In reading Brown's book on the Signal Corps, I find the explanation about the use of codes and ciphers not entirely clear. For example, the difference between a two-element code and a four-element code. At least on the surface, it appears that a four-element code would be cumbersome to employ. Can someone boil this down with a simple explanation of why and how these two codes were used?
Also, can someone explain why the use of a cipher disk was an advantage? It seems rather cumbersome to the layman's eye. How did the Confederate and Union cipher disks differ? Another question, how did the Court and Vigenere ciphers differ, if at all? I somehow got the impression they may have been the same.
New subject: The SC used kerosene as a fuel, and turpentine as a cleaner, correct? Was turpentine also used as a fuel? On page 115, Brown states that the part of the signal apparatus was a canteen that "was capable of containing one gallon of turpentine or other burning fluid." It says the service can contained five gallons, but does not say what. I assume it was used for kerosene. Why the need for two containers of different sizes, and what they were actually used to carry? Lastly, were all signal parties supplied with both a telescope and field glasses (binoculars) as part of their standard equipment?
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