supplied to Rose by Confederate Colonel Thomas Jordan, a.k.a. Thomas J.
As you can see from
the image to the left, the code is pretty straightforward,
and historians have argued about how difficult Rose's coded messages
be to decipher, so they've debated at length about the usefullness of
While the cipher may be easy to decode, it doesn't appear that it was
decoded until after
Rose had discontinued to use it, at which point the cipher had already
served it's purpose.
Rose was very ingenious at other forms of "code." In her book she
discusses some of
the other forms of code she used. She mentions a vocabulary of colors,
would knit a sweater, socks, etc and send these from her prison to
friends. These friends
would use a key to lay out the colors in the garments and decipher
information hidden within.
She also speaks of the window to her room. While held captive in her
home, she would
arrange her window to deliver messages. Open, closed, partially open,
drapes open or closed,
a candle, or two candles all held special meaning to her "Little Birds."
When allowed outside, a flick of her fan, a twist of her parasol, a
hanky held to her face,
all held significance to "little birds" passing by.
Later in the war Rose used a more creative code. She advised Botoler in
a letter to obtain
the code and use her name as a key. Codes requiring a key are
more difficult to decipher.
Source: This image is a photograph taken from a copy held at The North
Carolina State Archives
in Raleigh, North Carolina.
It was found on Rose after she drowned.
Here's a view of the back of the page. Note that it was folded
over twice. There's an imprint on the back, that probably came from the
enclosure the page was hidden in.
I suspect it may have been a woman's compact, or some such item. Note
the name E Labrey. This may shed a clue as to what the code key was
Note: If you look elsewhere on this site and find the photo of Little
Rose, taken in London, you'll notice that the photographer was none
other than E. Labrey!