American Civil War Spies
There were a variety of spies who acted separately of any company. These were frequently patriotic females looking for some method to assist the war effort of their federal government. Both federal governments likewise recruited and organized their spy rings to penetrate and report on opponent activity.
Among the most famous independent American Civil War spies was Belle Boyd (above). She started her spying profession just a couple months after her seventeenth birthday, and she was introduced down that path by shooting a Union soldier for insulting her mom. True story!
Army scouts and Rangers also need to be considered. Though these guys usually served in uniform, they likewise at times participated in extensive espionage activities, such as the notorious Northwest Conspiracy.
The Northwest Conspiracy was an espionage effort led by a Confederate cavalry Captain, Thomas Hines. This plot was mostly focused on freeing scores of Confederate prisoners in the North and spread initial panic with the hope that it would influence the 1864 U. S. Presidential election.
All American Civil War spies needed to be very cautious not get captured; since the penalty for spying was death. There were a variety of males on both sides who were caught and performed as spies during the war. The first was Union spy Timothy Webster, and one of the most popular – a minimum of in the South – was Confederate “kid hero” Sam Davis.
Union and Confederate Spying
Union Spy Chief LaFayette Baker
At the outset of the war, neither side had a traditional means of gathering intelligence. The Confederacy clearly could not, since it had not truly existed in the past, and the Union didn’t honestly need spies collecting information within the Confederacy before there was a Confederacy, now did it?
Both sides worked feverishly to find out the best ways to spy out their enemies, and both had some quantity of success
There were spy rings in each of the capital cities, Washington D. C. and Richmond, sending out valuable information back to their respective governments, and each side had a variety of independent spies working for them. Some of these independent spies were under contract. However, others did their hazardous work out of love for their nation.
One extremely prominent male in the Unions espionage activities was Lafayette Baker (right).
After some exciting adventures as a Union spy, Baker went on to head his spying and counter-espionage network, working for the U. S. War Department. Baker is also the man who chaired the effective manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. Due to power struggles and other disputes, Baker fell out of favor in Washington after the war was over, but thanks to some accusatory Testaments he offered and the suspicious nature of his death, Baker has given rise to many conspiracy theories surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Both the Union and Confederacy saw success and failure in their espionage ventures. However, there can be no doubt that the stories of the American Civil War spies, who carried out the secret responsibilities of their federal governments, are a few of the most amazing stories of the Civil War period.
Civil War Spies
American Civil War spies were a few of the most interesting characters of the war, and there were many different people, on both sides, who had their influence on the dispute. Hopefully, we will – gradually – be able to bring their stories together here for the pleasure of all.
This list is not intended to be extensive. As we add more pages, the list will grow. Do not hesitate to contact me with recommendations for American Civil War spies to blog about in the future.
LaFayette Baker – Union spy chief, the basis of many stories and conspiracy theories.
Belle Boyd – Teenage Confederate spy, started profession by shooting Union soldier.
Rose O’Neal Greenhow – a Confederate spy in Washington and carrier to Europe.
Timothy Webster – Union spy, and the first Civil War spy to be carried out.
Mary Bowser – the Former slave, turned Union spy who infiltrated the Confederate White House.
Sam Davis – Kid Hero of the Confederacy.
Elizabeth Van Lew – Union spy chief who ran an exceptionally efficient spy ring in Richmond.
For related video about the SPIES in American Civil War History, watch this video: