Confederate officer’s wartime diary decoded

WLNI-SSARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) _ Nearly 150 years after the Civil War, coded entries in a diary kept by a Confederate officer have been deciphered. And it turns out he liked to gossip. Lt. James Malbone of Virginia wrote in code about a fellow soldier caught in bed with another man’s wife. And he gave an encrypted description of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ wife, who at the time was rumored to be of mixed race. Malbone reported that she had “very very brown skin.” The coded entries were discovered two years ago by a volunteer for the New York State Military Museum, which holds the diary. Kent D. Boklan, a Queens College computer science professor and former government cryptographer, cracked the code and deciphered the passages in just a week.

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