The Giddings Field Message Book was a small pocket book with a multi-page
note pad and a built-in US Army Cipher Disk with a
It was intended for use in the
field by soldiers who needed to issue secure messages during the
Spanish-American War in 1898 .
The image on the right shows the Message Book in use.
Message were encrypted using the hard-paper cipher disc that was mounted
inside the flap. This US Army Cipher Disk was similar to the
Confederate Cipher Disc.
Once sent, the encyphered messages were stored in a pocket of the flap.
Copies of the message were created using a piece of carbon paper that was
stored at the back of the book.
The book itself had a green leather cover. When closed, the two halves
were held together with a pencil that was inserted at the front.
The book was designed by Major Howard A. Giddings of the Brigadier Signal
Officer Office of the Connecticut National Guard. It was published by
Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co. in Kansas City (Missouri, USA) and was first
mentioned in the Privates' Handbook
At the time, a soldier would pay USD 1.00 for it.
Full instruction are at the back of the book.
Although the Spanish-American war of 1898 was a conflict between Spain
and the United States about Cuba, it involved the Caribbean and the
Pacific, including the Philippines
When found, the Field Message-Book shown here, contained a Cablegram
message inside its pocket. The message was sent in 1901 and was received
by the Headquarters Division of the Philippines.