Louisiana has played an "important role" in American history, as reflected in a series of New York Times articles written by Dr. Terry L. Jones, professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
His latest piece, "The Codes of War," is the 15th installment he has contributed to the "Disunion" series published in the New York Times.
"Our state has played an important role in American history, particularly during the Civil War era, but we are often forgotten. The New York Times 'Disunion' series is a good opportunity to educate people on Louisiana's contributions to American history," Jones said.
While a graduate student, Jones based his thesis on a Michigan soldier's Civil War diary. In his diary, Joseph W. Ely made a couple of short entries using strange symbols instead of letters.
"I was intrigued, but could never break the secret cipher until I saw it on a children's television program several years later. It turned out the cipher is known as the Freemason Cipher; Masons used it early in their history."
Further research revealed that during the Civil War, both the North and South frequently used ciphers and codes to encrypt sensitive information that was transmitted through written orders, telegrams, and flag signals.
"Many such codes and ciphers were used during the war. Sometimes an enemy's code was broken by capturing deciphered messages, but others remained secure and were never cracked."
To view the article, visit: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/the-codes-of-war/
For Further Reading
The New York Times has published 14 other articles by Jones between 2011-2012, and are available for reading on the New York Times' Web site:
The Canal to Nowhere (January 2013) tells the story of Gen. U.S. Grant digging a canal to try to change the course of the Mississippi River.
The Fighting Irish Brigade (December 2012) is a history of the Union's famous Irish Brigade, a unit made up of mostly Irish immigrants.
Under the Knife (November 2012) takes a look at surgical practices during the Civil War.
The Free Men of Color Go to War (October 2012), tells the story of the Louisiana Native Guards, the first African American unit in the U.S. Army;
Brothers Against Microbes (October 2012) discusses the treatment of diseases during the Civil War.
The Fighting Bishop (October 2012) tells the story of Gen. Leonidas Polk, Louisiana's Episcopal Bishop.
The Dead of Antietam (September 2012), discusses the Louisiana Tigers in the Battle of Antietam and two photographs;
The Battle of Baton Rouge (Aug. 2012), discusses the symbolic battle for the fight over the Louisiana capital;
Brothers in Arms (July 2012), details how two units, one Union; one Confederate, fought against each other in 1862 found themselves fighting alongside each other in Iraq;
The Beast in the Big Easy (May 2012) which details how Union Flag Officer David Farragut and the Navy won a "stunning victory" that put the Union one step closer to securing the entire Mississippi River;
The Jewish Rebel (April 2012), which delivers an insightful look into the life of Confederate War Department Secretary Judah P. Benjamin.
Tiger Execution (Dec. 2011), details how two Louisiana soldiers were among the first to be executed in the Civil War.
The Terrifying Tigers (Sept. 2011), tells how Louisiana soldiers in Virginia became famous for both misbehaving and battlefield heroics; and
The Southern Cross (July 2011), which details how Louisiana soldiers gave birth to the Confederate battle flag.
Jones, a native of Winn Parish, has served ULM for more than 20 years as a professor. Jones earned his Ph.D. in history from Texas A&M University.