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December 27, 2010



I have a full explanation on my blog of how to decode the message. It doesn't help that some of the letters were encoded incorrectly and a few were then incorrectly transcribed onto the paper. The repeating of FEQT is an example of such a mistake. Also many of the occurrences of U got read/written as a W.

The short answer is they used a Vigenère cipher with a key of "Manchester Bluff". A Vigenère cipher may encode the same word differently (as you noted with Johnston), but when it aligns, you might see the same letter patterns (e.g. SEA/SEAN for Gen. or Gen'l.)

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