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Transcript of the Culpeper Code Book

 

On the last page, the transcript reads:

Directions for the Alphabet

N.B. the use of the alphabet is when you wish to express some words not mentioned in the numerical Dictionary. For instance the word heart would be expressed thus bielv. look the letters of the real word in the first column of the Alphabet and then apposite to them, let those letters in the second column represent them; in this case always observe to draw a line under the word, as fwv stands for but. Numbers are represented by their opposite Letters which must have a double line under them as fikm is 2 4 5 6. & nqu is 790.

Directions for the numerical Dictionary

In the numerical Dictionary it is sufficient to express a part of a sentence only in figures, to make the rest perfectly unintelligable, as all words cannot be mentioned those of a synonimous meaning must be sought for. & if not to be found, & the word not proper to be wrote, then the alphabet must be used - When numbers are used always observe to put a period after the number thus 284. Stands for it & 295. inforce. It will often happen that the same word may need to be changed thro the different moods, tenses, nums. &c - thus if you would express the word Introduce the number would be 328. if you express the word introduced make a small flourish over the same ~328- Horse is repres[ented] by 255. Horses by ~255., kill by 344. killed by ~344. impress by 290. impressed by ~290, in such cases the Foregoing & subsequent parts must determine the word.

 

The Culper Code Book was used by the Culper spy ring to send coded messages to George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Informants used fake names and a numerical code book consisting of seven hundred and sixty-three numbers representing words, names, and places to communicate their information. The Culper Code Book was essential in protecting the vital communications and identities of this important intelligence gathering group.

Consider these questions while analyzing the Code Book:

  • Why do you think Washington sent coded messages?
    • What benefits and drawbacks come from this method of communication?
  • How would you try and crack this code? Do you think the British figured out the key?
  • What do you think happened to those convicted of espionage? How were spies useful in the Revolutionary War?

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The Culper Code Book was used by the Culper spy ring to send coded messages to George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. People used fake names and codes to make sure their identities and messages were kept a secret. 

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