ATG Quirkies: Thousands of Civil War Telegrams Written in Secret Code Need Deciphering

Anyone interested in the American Civil War will be fascinated by this post from the LA Times that tells how the Huntington Library is setting out to decode thousands of Civil War telegrams hidden for a century. The Huntington has started a “Decoding the Civil War” crowdsourcing campaign that is digitizing, transcribing, and decoding the the nearly 16,000 telegrams from The Thomas T. Eckert Papers which cover everything from news of “typhoid and scurvy” outbreaks to “long marches and vast battles to “fretting over drunken soldiers and praising the unwavering president of a fraying republic.”


“It’s mind-boggling and unpredictable,” said Olga Tsapina, curator of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens’ trove of 35 leather-bound ledgers and documents relating to telegrams sent between 1862 and 1867.”

(Thanks to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies)

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