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47135Huntington Library acquires Civil War documents

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  • Rick Moody
    Jan 28, 2012
      Civil War scholars take note;

      The Huntington Library has just acquired two important collections of civil war documents.

      The Civil War Telegraph Archive of Thomas T. Eckert

      The papers of Thomas T. Eckert range from 1862, during the early months of conflict between the North and South, through 1877, at the close of Reconstruction. The sizeable archive of 76 books includes 35 manuscript ledger books of coded telegraphs sent and received by the War Department, including 7 full ledgers of ciphered telegrams—that is, coded messages sent from Washington, D.C. Taken together, the books contain more than 100 messages from Lincoln. Also among the materials is a number of cipher books, which reveal the complex coding system used to decipher messages—including code names for Lincoln: “Ida” and “India,” among others. The Confederate Army never cracked the Union Army’s code.

      Opening Salvo in the Political Battle that Would Lead to the Civil War

      Also purchased by the Library Collectors’ Council is a family archive that includes documentation of the first congressional action to limit slavery in the United States. Daniel Gott (1794–1864), a U.S. Congressman from western New York, proposed a resolution in 1848 banning “traffic in human beings as chattels” in the District of Columbia. The Gott resolution was approved by the House but repealed three weeks later after Southern lawmakers threatened secession. 

      Rick Moody