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Female Spies of the Confederacy

Women Civil War Spies

By

Belle Boyd, Confederate spy

Belle Boyd, Confederate spy of the American Civil War

Courtesy Library of Congress, Brady-Handy Collection

Belle Boyd, Antonia Forc, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Nancy Hart, Laura Ratcliffe, Loreta Janeta Velazquez and more: here are some women who spied during the American Civil War, passing information to the Confederacy. Some were captured and imprisoned, some escaped detection.

Belle Boyd:
She passed information on Union army movements in the Shenandoah to General T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson, and was imprisoned as a spy. She wrote a book on her exploits.

Antonia Ford:
She informed General J.E.B. Stuart of Union activity near her Fairfax, Virginia, home. She married a Union major who helped gain her release.

Rose O'Neal Greenhow :
A popular society hostess in Washington, DC, she used her contacts to gain information to pass to the Confederacy. Imprisoned for a time for her espionage, she published her memoirs in England.

Nancy Hart:
She gathered information on federal movements and led rebels to their positions. Captured, she tricked a man into showing her his gun -- then killed him with it to escape.

Laura Ratcliffe:
She helped Colonel Mosby, of Mosby's Rangers, elude capture, and passed information and funds by hiding them under a rock near her home.

Loreta Janeta Velazquez:
Her highly dramatic autobiography has come into question, but her story is that she disguised herself as a man and fought for the Confederacy, sometimes "disguising" herself as a woman to spy.

More: Other women who spied for the Confederacy include Belle Edmondson, Elizabeth C. Howland, Ginnie and Lottie Moon, Eugenia Levy Phillips and Emeline Pigott.

 

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