- Editor's Page
The ancient maxim that all's fair in love and war has always included disinformation. In war, Winston Churchill sagely observed, the truth "is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." George A. Ellsworth, John Hunt Morgan's telegraph operator whose Civil War memoir is featured in this issue of the Register, was, indeed, an artful liar. He used the new information technology of telegraphy to keep Union forces in Kentucky and elsewhere off-balance and confused, starting at Ellsworth-created shadows and then failing to meet genuine threats adequately. In this way, he contributed significantly to the success of Morgan's daring forays into enemy territory. Were he alive today in similar circumstances, he would no doubt be a master of cyberwarfare, using the click of the mouse instead of the click of the telegraph key. Editors Stephen E. Towne and Jay G. Heiser have done a fine job of presenting Ellsworth's memoir in this issue of the Register. By blending the newspaper version with the handwritten memoir and providing extensive documentation, they enable us to obtain a clearer understanding of the operations of this master of deception.
The image of a page of Ellsworth's memoir on the cover of this issue is a vivid testimony to the fragility of historical evidence. We live in an age of seemingly inexhaustible and readily accessible information. The wonders of digitized databases and such cornucopias of reference material as Wikipedia, however, can obscure the often-slender threads of the primary sources which connect us to the past. The image of this ragged page of the [End Page 1] Ellsworth memoir is a poignant reminder of just how slender these threads can be.
This double issue of the Register is notable because it is the first to appear with our new design. The changes are not dramatic but incremental, intended primarily to improve both appearance and readability. This redesign would not have been possible without the creative assistance of the Kentucky Historical Society's in-house design studio.
This issue is also notable because it is the first to be published digitally through Project MUSE which is a joint endeavor of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University. Project MUSE is a unique collaboration of libraries and publishers which provides full-text versions of over four hundred journals from almost one hundred publishers to libraries around the world. The participation of the Kentucky Historical Society in this project will greatly increase the vitally important online presence of the Register for a worldwide community of scholars. [End Page 2]