Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Message in a Civil War Spool of Thread


The Huntington Library has an interesting item in their collection:
A wooden spool of thread (looks like a Coats & Clark's spool.)
Inside the hole is a coiled piece of paper.

The curators and staff unfurled it in this video:

(Those white cords are like small book snakes to gently hold the note in place)

Some time ago the message was typed.
It's some kind of military order---issued before the Civil War began
in April, but probably having to do with the future Confederates gathering their
assets in the face of Union threats to confiscate them.

General David E. Twiggs (1790-1862),
commander of the U.S. Army's Dept. of Texas.
After surrendering his army and armaments to the secessionists
he was dismissed from the army as a traitor.

William Augustus Nichols (1818-1869) during the 
Mexican War of the 1840s
During the Civil War he served under Union Generals Sherman & Sheridan

Major W.A. Nichols was aware of Twiggs's plans and seems to have had other ideas. The message in the spool appears to be an attempt to foil Twiggs's plot. Perhaps the spool was passed by Nichols's wife Clara DeRussey Nichols. Or perhaps the message was never read---why is it still coiled in the spool?


Helenchaffin said...

This is interesting! It's never crossed my mind that bobbins were made of wood ,I luv your blog♥️ few yrs shy of 70 & still.lesrningšŸ¤£

Helenchaffin said...

šŸ¤” still "learning" "to spell I seešŸ¤£

Anonymous said...

The spool of thread was made of wood.