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The Coded Charles Thomson Letter

June 7, 1780

This coded letter in the Mount Vernon collection describes the doleful news of the capture of Charleston by the British in May 1780. As Secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomson’s decision to conceal information about this significant setback is steeped in strategy. After enduring significant losses in the siege of Charleston, the American troops were left extremely vulnerable. It was critical to hide this weakness for as long as possible. As it would happen, the information was kept so secretive that few actually believed it to be true.
The Coded Charles Thomson letter of June 7, 1780

The Coded Charles Thomson letter of June 7, 1780

©2013 Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.

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