Item description: Letter, 16 August 1861, from William Mumford, Lt. Col., 17th Regiment, to Edward Porter Alexander, enclosing a captured “cypher” letter. According to Mumford, the letter was found on the battlefield at First Bull Run (First Manassas), the author of the cipher is unidentified. On the back of the cipher letter, it appears that Alexander deciphered the following message, “Send me tomorrow powder & caps I have lead but am also short of provisions I will advance tonight.”
Aug. 16th 1861
At the suggestion of Genl. Longstreet I enclose herewith a cypher found on the battle field of the 21st. I have exhausted all my ingenuity in efforts to decypher it, and as it may contain something of interest I send it to you. If you should solve it will you allow me to trouble you to send me a copy of the translation. I have retained and accurate of the original.
With great respect,
Wm. Mumford, Lt. Col.