Exhibit Preview - Spies and Conspiracies

During the Civil War both sides used all of their resources to conduct intelligence operations that would give them an advantage. Even though these intelligence operations were often disjointed and uncoordinated, both sides experienced occasional successes.

  • How did the North and South spy on each other?

  • How did each side protect its communications?

  • What conspiracies were formed during the war?

  • What kinds of sabotage took place?

Uncover the covert Civil War.

Conflicting Positions

Turning circles around the Confederates

Maj. Albert J. Myer, a U.S. Army Surgeon, created this cipher disk to protect Union Army communications. Letters on the upper two disks aligned with numbers on the two lower disks. In this image, for example, the letter "A" would be sent as "81." Myer's earlier work was reviewed by Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee. One of Myer's assistants was Lt. J.E.B. Stuart.

National Archives, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer