Deciphering the code

ca. 1781

Messages in secret code traveled across the Atlantic between the peace commissioners and Congress throughout the Revolutionary War. Ciphers like this were used to decode the messages. American peace commissioner Henry Laurens was imprisoned when he was caught en route to Paris with instructions, and the Americans learned the hard way that “treasonous” correspondence could land them in the Tower of London.

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention


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