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Posted By: Tom Ryan on: 04/19/2010 16:13:40 EDT
Subject: Breaking the SC code

Message Detail:
In Stephen Sears' "Chancellorsville," he states on page 102 that the Union army CSO was "in possesion of the full code of signals used by the enemy's Signal Corps." Sears goes on to say that the Union forces learned from a "caputured Confederate signal officer that Lee's signalmen had broken the Yankee's code and could read their flag messages."
Not sure exactly what is going on here. I generally understand that both sides used the same code originally developed by Myer. But why would both sides have to "break" the code of the other, since the code should have been the same? I assume the answer is that each side changed their code from time to time to keep the other side from reading their messages. Is that what actually took place?
Also, I believe that speaking about the message "code" is different than messages actually being sent in cipher to add another layer of security.
Can someone provide a clearer interpretation of what actually was taking place during these events at Chancellorsville. Thanks, Tom
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