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Confederate White House Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 May 2017

Confederate White House

Meanwhile, some women mustered enough courage to volunteer as spies for their respective armies. The Union Army had some notable ones. Pauline Cushman was an actress. Initially, she was only paid to offer a toast to Jefferson Davis during a social event. She was later convicted as a spy and was sentenced to die by hanging when some incriminating documents were found in her possession. Fortunately, she was rescued barely three days before her execution. Harriet Tubman, on the other hand, became known for her efforts to free slaves. She was reported to have made around 20 trips to the South to do her mission.

She also helped organize a network of spies in South Carolina. Mary Elizabeth Bowser was another important Union agent. She spied on the “Confederate White House” itself. Working as a maid whose presence was ignored even when sensitive matters were discussed, she was able to deliver delicate information to the Union leaders. An abolitionist in the person of Elizabeth Van Liew had been instrumental in smuggling in clothes and food to imprisoned Union army personnel and was also successful in planting a spy in the residence of Jefferson Davis.

(Lewis, 2007) Perhaps one of the most productive Union spies was Sarah E. Thompson. She was married to Sylvanius H. Thompson, a private attached to the 1st Tennessee Cavalry who started his army career as a recruiter. They formed a husband and wife team charged with the dangerous mission of organizing a network of sympathizers in a rebel-dominated area near Greeneville, Tennessee. When her husband was killed in a Confederate ambush in the early part of 1864, Sarah kept on working as a Union agent.

She achieved her biggest success as a spy when Confederate troops under the command of General John Hunt Morgan decided to spend a night in Greeneville. As soon as the enemy soldiers were settled for the night, Sarah sneaked out to inform the nearby unit of the Union Army. When the place was raided, Sarah herself became responsible for the death of the General when she personally pointed him out to a soldier who subsequently shot him. (Sarah E. Thompson Papers, 1996) The Confederate Army was not without its share of daring spies.

In fact if the Union Army had a husband and wife team in the Thompsons, the Confederacy had a Moon sister act. Lottie and Ginnie were the daughters of a Virginia physician who later moved his family to Ohio. Lottie, the elder of the two, started carrying secret documents for the Confederacy in the 1860s because she knew Judge Clark in Oxford with whose family her younger sister Ginnie was staying at the time. The Judge was an active operative in the Confederate underground movement, particularly the “Knights of the Golden Circle” and Lottie and her younger sister Ginnie were also pro-Confederacy.

Ginnie, on the other hand, became a Confederate spy in Tennessee. She started her work as a courier just as the Union Army was already approaching Tennessee. However, Ginnie and her mother were later arrested in possession of substantial quantities of morphine, opium, and camphor which were intended for wounded Confederate soldiers. Lottie was likewise arrested when she attempted to secure their release. (Wilson, 2000) Belle Boyd was another female Confederate spy. She was caught and imprisoned for relaying information to General T. J.

Jackson regarding the movements of the Union Army in the Shenandoah. She survived the war to write a book about her exploits during the war. Antonia Ford, meanwhile, monitored Union army activities in Fairfax, Virginia and reported to General J. E. B. Stuart. When she was arrested and imprisoned, she was able to secure her release by marrying a Union army major. Meanwhile, in Washington, D. C. , well-known socialite Rose O’Neal Greenhow gathered sensitive information through her connections in high society and relayed them to her Confederate contacts.

She was likewise discovered, arrested for espionage, and subsequently imprisoned. She later moved to England where she put her accounts of the war into writing. Nancy Hart would spy on Union army movements and positions and later led Confederate forces to them. She was captured but managed to escape by killing her minder using the minder’s own gun. Laura Ratcliffe, on the other hand, started as a spy by helping Colonel Mosby and his Rangers evade capture. Later, she would pass information and money by using a rock near her house as a drop. (Lewis, 2007)

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 May 2017

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