Rose's Coded Letters

We've all heard of Rose's coded message to General Beauregard on July 10th, 1861, that resulted in the confederacy winning the battle of Manassas or first Bull Run. We know that Betty Duvall hid the message in the folds of her long hair, crossed through enemy lines dressed as a simple farm girl, and only when confronted by the general himself did she let down her hair and hand him the contraband message, which was fashioned into a small silk purse.

Have you ever wondered how the general knew the message was genuine? 

Of course, Betty told him the message was from Rose, but still, I'm sure he wanted more than the word of a stranger.

First, Rose left a calling card by way of the purse the message was wrapped in. The purse was  made of a black silk, easily identifiable to anyone familiar with fashions of the time to know that it was of a variety known as "mourning silk." It was the first measure of introduction by the "lady in mourning."

Second she left a coded "key" on the envelope that contained the message. Above the name Beauregard you will see six cryptic figures.
These six symbols, when decoded, spell out the name JORDAN, which signified that the letter had come from Rose, Jordan's agent.
At this point the General was convinced that the letter was genuine, but still wished to confirm it's authenticity, so he sent George Donnellan to meet Rose face to face and confirm that she was indeed the sender and the information was reliable. And, of course he used other resources to check the validity of the information, as well.

The silk purse and the envelope still remain today in the National Archives, but unfortunately, the coded message is lost to us.
The message contained 10 words, to wit: "McDowell has certainly been ordered to advance on the sixteenth. ROG"
Coded, the message would have looked something like this............

The photo of Betty can be found at Georgetown University in the David Rankin Barbee papers. The original appears to be a black and white photo that was colored with a crayon or chalk, as was the custom at the time the photo was taken. It was badly faded; almost beyond recognition. I used a graphics manipulation program called Neat Image to clean up the noise and then used Paint Shop Pro to adjust the histogram, reduce the contrast and reanimate the features of Betty's face and hair. I also added the matte, returning the image to what it probably looked like originally.