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Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and ChildrenCobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children

Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children October 2018

COBBLESTONE is the award-winning and respected leader in the study of American history for young people. COBBLESTONE tells America’s story through a unique mix of captivating articles, lively graphics, historical photographs, primary sources, and maps. Each themed-issue examines historical events in detail making them exciting and relevant to today. A must-have for every history classroom and media center. Grades 5-9.

United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Issues


access_time2 min.
getting started

Espionage—the art of spying—is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. Except there’s a twist: Spies start with only one piece of the puzzle. There’s no picture to guide them. And before they can think about putting the puzzle together, they have to find the other pieces first! Spies are agents employed by a state or a government to obtain secret information. That information often focuses on military issues related to the state or government’s enemies. In the example provided here, the puzzle pieces represent information. The more information (puzzle pieces) a spy can find, the better the sense of the situation (the puzzle) the spy and the government that he or she serves can get. Spying is about gathering intelligence. Intelligence helps leaders stop enemies who intend to harm their country or their people.…

access_time5 min.
the culper ring: covers, coves, and codes

General George Washington needed intelligence about British troops. He wanted to know their locations, numbers, movements, and plans. During the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), Washington developed a network of spies to learn details and to relay messages in a timely manner. Spying against the British was dangerous. One man who had volunteered to spy, Nathan Hale, was hanged in 1776. He had been caught behind British lines trying to gain information for the Continental Army. By 1777, the British had pushed Washington and his troops out of New York City. The British then set up their headquarters there. They remained in the city until the war ended. In order to discover their plans, Washington asked Major Benjamin Tallmadge to coordinate a network of spies. Covers Tallmadge was a former schoolteacher from Connecticut. He had…

access_time6 min.
civil war deception

Throughout the Civil War (1861–1865), many individuals passed along general information. They weren’t hired to gather it. They simply wanted to help their side win. They passed along information about what they observed in their communities. They saw soldiers moving in the area. They saw campfires at night. They heard people talking in town. No formal records were kept of this type of intelligence-gathering. In other cases, the dangerous and secretive nature of spying encouraged government leaders to destroy official records. Some spies later wrote of their exploits, but historians suspect some of those accounts may be exaggerated. These factors make understanding the true extent of spying in the Civil War challenging. GETTING ORGANIZED When the Civil War began, no formal spy organizations existed. But both the Union and the Confederate armies…

access_time2 min.
black dispatches

Union spymaster Allan Pinkerton liked to question people, particularly people who traveled from behind Confederate lines. He discovered that African Americans made great spies. They were familiar with Southern geography. They knew detailed information about the enemy’s supply issues. They shared facts about troop numbers and movements. As Union forces moved southward during the Civil War (1861–1865), more and more slaves fled to their lines. Interviews with them provided an enormous amount of good intelligence. Even Confederate general Robert E. Lee noted that African Americans were the Union’s greatest source of information. One of Pinkerton’s best black agents was former slave John Scobell. Scobell moved easily between North and South. In white society, he sometimes pretended to be the servant of a Pinkerton agent. Southerners assumed he was illiterate, so they…

access_time5 min.
spies in petticoats

Women of all ages worked as spies on both sides during the Civil War (1861–1865). They had some advantages in those roles. Women at that time were believed to be the weaker sex. For that reason, no one at first suspected that women and girls who traveled back and forth might be carrying secret information. Soldiers not only were unlikely to suspect women, but they also were reluctant to search women. The custom of the time was that only a woman’s husband or her doctor was permitted to touch her. Women spies took advantage of that tradition and their clothing, too. Hoop skirts and petticoats made it easy to hide messages, papers, and small packages. As soldiers learned about female agents, however, women were more likely to be stopped. Here’s…

access_time4 min.
sending secrets

It doesn’t help to gather secret intelligence if a spy can’t pass it along without the enemy knowing. Throughout history, spies have developed ways to do just that. The process of communicating through secret writing is called cryptography. Codes and ciphers are examples of cryptography. For codes or ciphers to work, both the sender and the receiver must know how to encipher and decipher the message. 376-245-42-642 A code uses words, numbers, or symbols that have a secret meaning. A code often requires a key to the code. Codebooks list the code words as well as their true meaning. General George Washington’s Culper Ring used a code system. It substituted numbers for words. Using the Culper codebook, the secret message at the start of this section reads: “Make-Haste-Apprehend-Traitor.” AYL WMS PCYB RFGQ LMU? A…