Digital Archives

Federal Army Cipher Books


Subject: Cryptology

This item is believed to be the most valuable item in the entire Friedman Collection because it is believed to be the only set in existence. Friedman believes that it contains seven of the cipher books used by the Federal Army in the Civil War. This book also contains two messages to General Grant but they were written in the book perhaps by Plum, in 1879. They are, nevertheless, interesting and authentic messages.

These books came into the possession by Friedman by accident. He just happened to be walking through as they were about to be burned by personnel of the Old Records Division of the Adjutant General’s Office, Munitions Building, because they were considered to be of no use or interest. There is a short note attached to each cipher booklet with Friedman’s theory of the order in which these booklets were used which was NOT in numerical sequence.

Volume 1

Volume 4

Volume 5

Volume 9

Volume 10

Volume 12


Location: Stacks
Holding ID: Item 187