Among the documents in the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection is a cipher dispatch attributed to Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard that outlines a plot to burn Washington, D.C., and “despatch” President Lincoln and Gen. Winfield Scott.
Beauregard’s cipher dispatch is written on blue transparent paper.
The sender created the coded message by placing the transparent sheet over a cipher sheet on which the alphabet in various combinations was printed in parallel lines.
The letters required to spell out the coded message were then circled on the transparent top sheet. When the top sheet was removed, the result was an apparently random pattern of circles and lines. The recipient read the message by placing the transparent sheet over an identical cipher sheet. Cipher sheets were changed frequently to prevent the code from being broken.
Beauregard’s decoded message is written at the bottom of the blue paper. It reads:
“I shal cros the river above Little Falls on Sunday at two AM Signal red and white rockets from Turners Hill For Gods Sake dont fail us Fire the city at all points agreed on at once Despatch Lincoln and Scott as you suggest and let the execution of our plot be perfect Beauregard”
The discovery and transcription of the message were reported in the Des Moines (Iowa) Daily State Register and the Burlington (Iowa) Weekly Hawk-Eye on April 19, 1862, and cited to the New York Evening Post. The newspapers stated that the dispatch was from Beauregard to “some Confederate in Washington” and that “the circumstances of its discovery mark it as authentic and genuine.” They went on to suggest that the dispatch demonstrated “the desperate means proposed by the rebel General for getting possession of the capital”—means that included “arson and assassination.” “The rebels,” the newspapers concluded, “stick at nothing in prosecuting their traitorous schemes.”
Yeah, well, eventually he came around to the idea, at least.
McKinley is the Man! And also there’s that other guy, who may come in handy someday …
Check out the transportation used by presidents before Air Force One. Source: Library of Congress
Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President-Designate
President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, the former Governor of New York, as his Vice President on August 20, 1974.
Selecting a Vice President had been one of President Ford’s main priorities after taking office. He requested recommendations from the members of his Cabinet and Congressional leaders. By the end of his first week as President he had narrowed his choice down to five candidates, and after careful deliberation he asked Rockefeller to take the position.
After announcing the nomination President Ford introduced Rockefeller for a brief press conference. “I think he will make a great teammate,” he said. “I think he will be good for the country, I think he will be good for the world, and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Vice President-designate Rockefeller fielded questions about why he accepted a job he had previously turned down during other administrations and the confirmation process. Although he didn’t know what his specific duties would be yet he stated, “I am deeply honored and should I be confirmed by the Congress, will look forward to the privilege and honor of serving the President of the United States and, as I said in the other room, through him all of the people of this great country.”
After four months of extended hearings Rockefeller was confirmed and sworn in as the 41st Vice President of the United States on December 19, 1974, becoming the second person to fill the office under the 25th Amendment.
Images: President Ford and Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Oval Office as the President prepares his message to Congress nominating Rockefeller as Vice President, 8/20/1974; Message of President Gerald R. Ford nominating Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Vice President of the United States, 08/20/1974, from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
Here’s an article on that: Billy Possum: President Taft’s Answer to the Teddy Bear
We all know about the Teddy Bear, named for Theodore Roosevelt. Apparently, there was a stuffed animal named after William Taft, that didn’t do so well - the Billy Possum.
Today, Teddy Roosevelt is known as a trust-buster…but he used to have a reputation as a politician on the take. We explore accusations of corruption in the 1904 presidential election, and how it lead to some of the first efforts for campaign finance reform over a century ago, on our latest episode.