Discussion Raw Intelligence gathered and used during the Civil War from both Armies...

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major bill

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OK.... major bill, I suppose that we could change the title to "Information gathered covertly and used during the Civil War by both Armies...", if that would be more appropriate? It is too late for me to do this as my time to edit it has expired, one of the Moderators or Forum Host`s would have to do it.
"Intelligence" is fine for a title, I was just pointing out that in most cases Civil War officers were making decisions based on raw information and not processed intelligence. In some cases this resulted in mistakes.

For example an Army commander might be told the enemy had transfered two new divisions to the army he was facing. This is raw information but lacks a study of why the enemy moved in two new divisions, or how the fresh divisions impacts the tactical stiuation, or how the new divisions might influence future friendly offensive or defensive plans.
 
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Thank you, this is an aspect of the war of which few seem to be aware. I personally find it fascinating. Both armies when capturing someone who was covertly gathering, acquiring or obtaining sensitive operational Information, or gathering Intelligence by todays standard, would consider them as "spies" and order them to be shot or hanged for their crimes. Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson, under whom the 2nd Regiment Alabama Cavalry served in his Cavalry Brigade, wrote in his journal about such a case and the outcome.

It was on 5 Oct 1863, just before Maj. General Stephen D. Lee was about to leave Pontotoc, Ms. with two Brigades of Cavalry to oppose Sherman`s March from the Big Black River at Memphis to Chattanooga along the Tennessee Valley. Those two Brigades belonging to Brig. General Samuel W. Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade and Brig. General Lawrence S. Ross` Texas Cavalry Brigade. General Joseph E. Johnston was there to discuss the upcoming expedition to the Tennessee Valley with Maj. General S. D. Lee when a "spy" was brought in who had tried to capture one of Johnston`s couriers and had other operational information on his person, which resulted in him being captured. He was tried by Military Court and was found guilty of being a "spy" and sentenced to death by hanging. One of the officers of Lawrence S. Ross`s Regiment was the Provost Marshall and his company comprised the Provost guards of S. D. Lee`s Command and it was up to them to carry out the sentence of hanging the condemned man.

Below is what Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson wrote in his journal and later in his memoirs:

"When camped at Pontotoc I was joined by General Ross with his Texas Brigade of Cavalry and by some other troops assembled under General S. D. Lee to oppose Sherman`s march from Memphis to Chattanooga. We were relieved by General Joseph E. Johnston. Here I saw a Spy hung, he had been tried by Court Martial, sentenced to be hung, and the sentence approved by General Johnston. The Texans (Ross) were designated to hang him and they went about it like old hands at the business. The condemned man took his fate very coolly, distributed his little belongings among his guard, shook hands with them while a rope was tied around his neck. A man had in the meantime climbed the tree above him, then made the rope fast to a limb. The man stood up in the saddle, the horse was given a cut, and it was all over."

Military justice, in both armies, was swift and certain regarding "spies" or "scouts", an interchangeable term used to reference the same thing back during the Civil War.
 
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Cavalry Charger

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There is an interesting little snippet in Julia Dent Grant's memoirs where she mentions the activity of a spy.

Grant had sent for Julia to visit him at Corinth, Tennessee just prior to the battle of Corinth. She mentions that a day or two before the battle he sent her home from there on foot of some important news, but in the interim the two of them were having a conversation about a letter she had received. As she was discussing this with him she 'happened to look up and saw a young man standing near the door. He started and looked surprised. I did not recognize him, and the thought flashed across my mind, "What is he doing here? He must be a spy." I at once wrote on the margin of my letter "Who is this strange young man? He is much interested in what is going on here. I am sure he is a spy." The General wrote, "You are right. He is in our employ." And would you believe it. He was a spy for both sides. He asked many questions: How each room was occupied and by whom.'

Looks like Julia unknowingly uncovered a 'double agent', though I've no idea who he might have been or what might have happened to him.
 

Cavalry Charger

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It would be interesting to know what methods were used to determine who was a spy and who wasn't. The spy you mention above was an 'obvious' one, caught 'red handed' so to speak. But what about those who were only suspected? Were there any Orders issued in relation to this?

Here is something I found re: the Lieber Code:

63. Troops who fight in the uniform of their enemies,
without any plain, striking, and uniform mark of distinction
of their own, can expect no quarter.

Which pretty much adds up to summary execution.
 
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I would think (hope) there would have to be a high burden of proof to be met and strong evidence brought forward and presented which would be irrefutable. But I am certain that there were incidents where someone was just accused and not vetted properly, which resulted in them being put to death for a crime that they did not commit.
 
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According to my 3rd Great Grandfather`s service records, from 22-30 Aug 1862 his company ("B" Troop), 2nd Regiment Alabama Cavalry, was sent on a large scout 110 miles (one way) east of their camp at Bluff Springs, FL. to arrest a spy at Choctawhatchee Bay (near Fort Walton). During the Civil War this area was commonly known as "Boggy Bayou". They effected the arrest and brought the spy back to their camp at Bluff Springs and then carried him up to Headquarters at Camp Lee, Pollard, Alabama turning him over to Col. John R. F. Tattnall who commanded the Detachment of Observation in the Department of the Gulf.

Below is what is written in his service records regarding this scout:

"On the 22nd day of August 1862 a scout under command of Lt. Burwell B. Lewis left Camp Lee to arrest one B. Calvin who lived on Choctawhatchie Bay, a distance of one hundred and ten miles from camps. The Lt. and his command effected the arrest of said Calvin and returned to camp Aug 30, 1862."

In a letter written on 3 Sep 1862 by Pvt. Hardin Perkins Cochrane, "D" Troop, 2nd Regiment Alabama Cavalry, to his brother confirmed "B" Troop`s Scouting Expedition to Choctawhatchee Bay and wrote his observations regarding their actions once they returned to camp:

"One scouting party under Lt. Burwell Lewis went near Tampa Bay and brought back two men in Yankee uniforms, I suppose they were Yankee soldiers, and an old man who was suspected (to be a spy). They were carried on to Pollard that evening to headquarters."

This Mr. B. Calvin must have really did some damage for them to send out a special company sized scout for 220 miles roundtrip which took 8 days just to arrest him and bring him back for trial. I am sure that he was hanged after them going to that much trouble to travel so far and to stay out so long to arrest him and bring him back.
 
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Belle Montgomery

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Women spies were never "put to death" The only one who ever came close was Pauline Cushman, John Hunt Morgan captured her in 1863 and Nathan Bedford Forrest ordered her hung. She escaped during the commotion of an oncoming Union attack. Even after both being found guilty, Hattie Lawton only got one year in Castle Thunder while her male partner, Timothy Webster, was executed in 1862.
The female Rebel spies, some accused of being a spy just by smuggling goods, carrying letters or sabotage efforts like caught cutting a telegraph wire, were simply imprisoned and many were just made to say the "oath" and sent home down South "promising to lead a better life"
Even the most dangerous like Rose Greenhow and those in her spy ring never got the "death penalty" for treason.
Mary Surratt was the only woman ever put to death for clandestine activities.
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Belle Montgomery, thanks for sharing this. Some of the women who worked at saloons and other places of ill repute during the ACW had the best opportunity to be spies and obtain critical information for both the Federal and Confederate armies equally. As these women would entertain soldiers and officers from both armies they were known to be given quite a bit of useful information regarding troop movements, enemy positions, upcoming moves and other information that could be used to strategical advantage. I have read about several such accounts happening at Canton, Ms., Memphis and Atlanta while campaigns were being fought in those areas. Then there were women of respectable business who had similar opportunities while trading and doing day to day business with soldiers and officers of both armies. Not to mention Social Functions of the day of great significance.
 
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Did they use the term "intelligence" during the Civil War? From a modern view the term "intelligence" would not normally apply to the Civil War. What was done during the Civil War was gathering information. Note in post #1 the use of the term "information".
major bill, I just came across this in the "OR" regarding the use of the word "intelligence" during the Civil War. I actually just stumbled upon it while looking for something else and remembered what you wrote here a few weeks back. I have not found any other accounts where the word itself was used but it was used, even if sparingly during the Civil War. As you pointed out the term "information" was almost always used in most reports and communications.

Below I attach part of a report written from Colonel George B. Hodge (Confederate Asst. Inspector General) to General Samuel Cooper (Confederate Adjutant and Inspector General) regarding Sherman`s Great Mississippi Expedition (Meridian Campaign), specifically reporting "intelligence" that Maj. General Nathan Bedford Forrest had received from his scouts on 11 Feb 1864 regarding the movement of Brig. General`s Grierson and Sooy Smith towards his location in north Mississippi.

The reference is made at the top of the 2nd page below. The whole report can be found in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, volume XXXIX, Part II, page`s 568-571.

May 2, 1864 (1).jpg


May 2, 1864 (2).jpg
 
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