Emma Green

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Emma Green was born in 1843 in Alexandria, Virginia. Her father, James Green, was the owner of the Mansion House Hotel and the richest man in Alexandria. The family also owned the Green & Brother furniture factory, which was confiscated as a prison for Union deserters.

In November 1861, the family was forced out of the Mansion House Hotel and it was confiscated by the Union Army on December 1, 1861. The Union Army began using the Green family hotel as a First Division General Hospital, and it was the largest of the confiscated buildings used as a military hospital in the city. It could hold up to 700 sick and wounded soldiers.

During the war, her fiancé Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Stringfellow operated as a Confederate spy. It is possible that she assisted in his espionage activities. Enlisting in the Confederate Army at the start of the war, Stringfellow was sent to spy in Alexandria while pretending to be a dental assistant. At one point in April 1862, in the dentist’s office, Emma incidentally encountered him and called him by name. However, suspicions were not raised and they avoided further contact through 1862, while he remained with the dentist. Frank eventually left Alexandria for other missions.

Frank Stringfellow returned to Alexandria in 1863, again as a spy. According to some historians, such as author Virginia Morton, Emma assisted Frank throughout 1863. In one story, "Stringfellow proceeded to Emma’s house alone but discovered Union officers occupying the upper levels. Undeterred, he crept into the cellar from the back of the house and asked Emma’s maid to fetch her… Emma agreed to call on the informers and returned within a few hours with vital information of Union Gen. Irvin McDowell’s planned attack."

Frank Stringfellow returned to Washington in March 1865, and reports say that Emma moved to live with family friends so she could be closer to him. By the end of the War, he had a $10,000 bounty for his capture. When Richmond fell, Frank left for Virginia, after he discovered that he was rumored to be an accomplice in Lincoln's assassination. He eventually made his way to Canada. Following the surrender of the Confederacy on April 9, 1865, the Mansion House was returned to the Greens and reopened as a hotel, operating as the Mansion House Hotel until it was acquired by new proprietors in the early 1880s.

After the war, Emma reunited with Frank when he returned from Canada, and they were married on January 23, 1867. Frank became an Episcopalian minister, and they had four children.

In 1883, the Green family was awarded late rent by the US government for its use of the Mansion House Hotel. Frank Stringfellow died in 1913. Emma lived until 1929. Frank and Emma are buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.
 

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Ole Miss

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Women were by far the best equipped spies of the war no doubt. Not many soldiers would ever have thought to search a woman's garments let alone pat her body. A coquette smile was effective with men who had been living hard lives in the army. What man has ever resisted the smile and batted eyes of a woman among thousands of men. The most effective femme fatales are still unknown and probably never revealed but that does not mean they were not spying for both sides.
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James N.

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… Frank Stringfellow returned to Alexandria in 1863, again as a spy. According to some historians, such as author Virginia Morton, Emma assisted Frank throughout 1863. In one story, "Stringfellow proceeded to Emma’s house alone but discovered Union officers occupying the upper levels. Undeterred, he crept into the cellar from the back of the house and asked Emma’s maid to fetch her… Emma agreed to call on the informers and returned within a few hours with vital information of Union Gen. Irvin McDowell’s planned attack."
This part of the story is dubious in its details, though possibly taken out of context - by 1863 Irvin McDowell was likely gone altogether from the scene, being replaced at the head of his corps after the disaster at Second Bull Run in Aug., 1862, eventually winding up commanding the garrisons on the California coast where he died and is buried today at San Francisco's Fort Point Cemetery. Perhaps this refers to 1861 when McDowell led the Union army to its defeat in July at First Bull Run?
 

Hussar Yeomanry

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This part of the story is dubious in its details, though possibly taken out of context - by 1863 Irvin McDowell was likely gone altogether from the scene, being replaced at the head of his corps after the disaster at Second Bull Run in Aug., 1862, eventually winding up commanding the garrisons on the California coast where he died and is buried today at San Francisco's Fort Point Cemetery. Perhaps this refers to 1861 when McDowell led the Union army to its defeat in July at First Bull Run?
Not wanting to minimise her importance because I am in awe of people willing to do such things but if it is about First Bull Run then any information she learned would have been tenuous at best. Along the lines of 'the army has begun to march south' (information that was readily available in any newspaper!). I say this because McDowell initially has only very general plans (and that is being generous). Plans that he firms up once he has arrived at Centreville (c.5 miles from Manassas) and then after inconclusive skirmishing at Blackburn's Ford (the place he first decides to cross Bull Run) he totally discards.
 

byron ed

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#12
I believe the TV series "Mercy Street" involved the Green family
...which is about the Union Army taking over a Southerner's city mansion to use as a hospital, one daughter's beau being a Confederate spy. Hmmm.

(For those not familiar, despite the mansion owner's trial and that of his family, it seems the viewer is more expected to relate to the fate of the not-so-well-married-and-a-bit-addicted-to-drugs young Army Surgeon and his perhaps-a-bit-too-beautiful nurse, his savior and potential lover; with a sidebar story of a medically-educated-and-by-proxy-an-MD, a free black man hired as a hospital orderly and his desired paramour, a cook's assistant, a woman badly abused by the contracted kitchen manager at the mansion/hospital).
 
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There is a certain well-known professor who insist that there were few effective female spies. Nice to see confirmation of another one! Thanks for posting.
Well-known professors are the only ones who haven't figured out that the only spies we know about are the ones who got caught. :smile:

If she didn't get caught, she didn't exist, right? :smile:

I think moderns might be amazed...
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Well-known professors are the only ones who haven't figured out that the only spies we know about are the ones who got caught. :smile:

If she didn't get caught, she didn't exist, right? :smile:

I think moderns might be amazed...

Right? Nothing like reading era accounts. Honestly, between revisionist nonsense and patting women on the head, none of them did a thing- until you spend time in 1861-1865. Gee whiz. When Union soldiers have it so much a part of daily life, interviewing women to see if they'd be a spy, it actually makes a full-page spread in a periodical on ' camp life ' AND an entire house is given over to their confinement ( when caught ) something's up. Here's something else annoying. When caught, whether spy or disguised soldier- frequently accused of being a prostitute.

Thanks very much @CSA Today ! This is so odd- just came from another thread where the whole ' happy ending ' should have been doubtful. Emma's just shouldn't have happened, between war, risk, heck, disease- and it did. I understand it's unreasonable to expect many of these, it's just a little nice to come across the Emma's once in awhile- in the middle of so much awful.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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There is a certain well-known professor who insist that there were few effective female spies. Nice to see confirmation of another one! Thanks for posting.

Is that a ' thing ' too? *sigh* Hadn't come across that which means my blood pressure is just fine at the moment. I've read copious denials on female soldiers, read all about how women weren't in camps except for a flying visit once in awhile BUT can't find a thing on how many nurses died during the war ( horses and mules we know ). Have a feeling we weren't there at all.
 

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