Women Spies of the Civil War Essay

1615 Words Jul 14th, 2009 7 Pages
Women Spies of the Civil War

“ [At first] it was not deemed possible that any danger could result from the utterances of non-combatant females… That this policy was a mistaken one was soon fully proved…”
- Allan Pinkerton, The Spy of the Rebellions, 1883 (Leonard 1).

In antebellum America there was little tolerance for autonomous women. Usually females, spanning all classes, were attached to households, dependent on males for status and wealth. Society demanded that domesticity be the woman’s domain, any deviations from this constricting edict was met with disdain. The cultural myth of the model genteel women permeated the fabric of 19th century life. However, with the advent of the Civil
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Beauregard received the missive in time and was able to strategically rearrange his troops. Rose is credited as a crucial component to the Confederate victory at the first Battle of Bull Run.
Isabelle Buchanan Edmondson, nicknamed Belle, was an uncontrollable, wild young woman living with her family in Elm Ridge, Tennessee. Searching for an outlet for her restless energy she began smuggling and spying for her beloved South. In 1863, Belle began working for Captain Thomas Henderson’s Independent Scouts based out of Memphis. She transported contraband: basic necessities, medicine, weapons, and hundreds of letters between rebel soldiers and their families across the Yankee picket lines. To hide all of these illegal goods, Belle utilized the traditional Southern style dress of hoop skirts and elaborate hairdos, which concealed much. Sometimes she could not walk because of the heavy weight of hidden items under her clothes and would have to hire a ride.
Yankee spy Pauline Cushman was born Harriet Wood in New Orleans, Louisiana. However her father lost all of his money when Harriet was young and moved the family to Grand Rapids, Michigan. From this rugged, outdoor life, she developed a passion for adventure that would last a lifetime. At age eighteen, Harriet decided to leave home to discover the rest of the world. Her…