Women Spies

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Does anyone have any information about women spying in the Civil War? I am looking for primary documentation, if possible, but any resources would help! Thank you so much in advance!
Sydney

There's a ton of primary documentation on quite a few? Some, like Elizabeth Van Lew's story have become awfully convoluted over time, the whole ' Crazy Bets ' thing caught fire and seems to have side tracked her genuine story. The famous names would be fairly easy to confirm between some really good research out there and official records. Belle Boyd was a riot and poor Rosie Greenhow's story somehow remains intact no matter how many layers of romantic shellack get applied.

The provosts in DC tended to arrest a lot- names we probably never heard of would be in official records somewhere, if someone knows where to look. I've never looked into it but we have a few members who would know where to find this stuff.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Harnett T. Kane, Spies for the Blue and Gray

John Bakeless, Spies for the Confederacy

Edwin Fishel, The Secret War for the Union

Kane, a woman, felt that female spies were particularly effective. "As the war grew slowly more bitter, men operatives were hanged, one by one. The women received threats, or perhaps a prison term, and then freedom to try again." Since women could disclose their activities with lesser consequence there tends to be more information about them in the public record.

Since Jefferson Davis and Union spy leader Grenville Dodge discouraged inquiries into spy activity after the war, they left the gate opened for participant memoirs, which sometimes include tall tales.
 
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Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
I've seen this recent volume from author Karen Abbott on store bookshelves and been tempted to purchase:

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War Hardcover – September 2, 2014
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I've seen this recent volume from author Karen Abbott on store bookshelves and been tempted to purchase:

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War Hardcover – September 2, 2014

It's worth it, beautifully researched and a great read. She was a member here when I joined- really knew her stuff!
 
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