Tag Archives: American Civil War

Codes, cyphers and the National Cryptologic Museum

Located at the edge of Fort Meade, Maryland, in an old, nondescript motel, is the National Cryptologic Museum. Admission is free, and with that admission you can explore how the worlds of communications, mathematics, and security intersect in cryptology.

Photos from the National Cryptologic Museum.

Rosetta Stone
Outside the National Cryptologic Museum gift store is this replica of the Rosetta Stone. Created around 196 BC, it displays a decree from an Egyptian king, written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script and ancient Greek. Discovered by a French soldier during France’s invasion of Egypt in 1799, it provided the key to unlocking Egyptian hieroglyphs, much as modern code breakers look for keys in breaking coded texts. The real Rosetta Stone is on display at the British Museum in London.

Photos of Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is a lovely small town surrounded by farms. The area is awash in green, rolling hills, and is almost stereotypically serene and peaceful.

This was not the case during July 1-3, when two massive armies collided in and around the town in the costliest battle in U.S. history. The Confederate retreat on July 4, combined with the surrender of Vicksburg to Major General Ulysses S. Grant on the same day, effectively doomed the Confederacy.

Photos from Gettysburg

Parrott Rifle at Gettysburg
Parrott Rifle, a type of muzzle-loading, rifled cannon on a Napoleonic carriage, near the Peace Light in the northwestern part of the battlefield.

Photos of historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Founded as a town in Virginia, Harpers Ferry endured fluctuating economic conditions, Civil War, and floods that carried away the apostrophe in the town’s name but still left a spectacular natural and man-made landscape.

Photos of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Stone wall at Harpers Ferry
Closeup of a stone wall at Harpers Ferry. Much of the original construction is unmortared, with stones fitted in based on size and shape. This photo makes a great high-security computer desktop: no hacker will be able to find a thing.