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On the battlefield, the accumulation of secret intelligence is one of the most important weapons that can be used to gain vital advantages. The American Civil War probably involved more spying, including more people, than any other conflict in history. Spies targeted the capitals of the North and South, Washington and Richmond, which lay only 100 miles apart. Many a Union and Confederate spy cleverly concealed and smuggled secret information through enemy lines. This cipher wheel was one such way spies used to pass coded messages back and forth, so if they were intercepted by the enemy, the message would be unreadable to the enemy without the key agreed upon previously by the spies.