Civil War Spies Facts

Civil War Spies Facts
Although espionage is generally associated with the Cold War today, it has been used by armies and governments since the dawn of civilization. Governments have traditionally used spies to learn the movements of their enemies' armies, to steal important technology, to cause dissension in the enemies' ranks, and sometimes to assassinate leaders. During the American Civil War, espionage was used by both sides with spies building sometimes elaborate rings. Although women were officially prohibited from joining either army during the war, many played vital roles in spy rings, especially for the Confederates. Women were usually not suspected of being involved in espionage, which was especially true for many southern women who seemingly fit the "Southern Belle" stereotype.
Interesting Civil War Spies Facts:
The Confederate Secret Service was the name for all of the espionage operations conducted by the Confederacy, both official and non-official, over the course of the war and included missions of intelligence gathering and sabotage.
The Union Army created the Bureau of Military Information in 1863 as its official espionage organization.
Spies and scouts were two different categories: scouts wore military uniforms and if captured were imprisoned, while spies dressed as civilians and were often executed if captured.
Alan D. Richardson (1833-1869) was a journalist who covered the war while subsequently giving intelligence to the Union Army. He was imprisoned for twenty months by the Confederacy for spying.
John Wilke's Booth, President Lincoln's assassin, worked as a Confederate spy toward the end of the war, most likely as a courier.
The Confederates developed elaborate and effective spy rings in Alexandria, Virginia in order to collect intelligence in Washington.
The Union Army often used slaves and former slaves for intelligence, which were called "black dispatches."
Virginia and Charlotte Moon were two sisters who were recruited by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to spy for the Confederacy in Union occupied Memphis, Tennessee.
Lottie Moon left Union General Ambrose Burnside at the altar, but he latter imprisoned her for several months for spying.
Southern Belle spies would sometimes smuggle messages or supplies in their large hoop skirts.
Pinkerton agent and British born Union spy Timothy Webster was the first spy to be executed during the Civil War. He posed as a Confederate sympathizer and was able to collect important intelligence, but was caught and executed by the Confederacy in April 1862.
Union spy and espionage activities were aided by the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), who is best known for being one of the primary operators of the Underground Railroad, worked as a spy for the Union Army.
A Confederate spy named Zora Fair nearly exposed the plans for General Sherman's "March to the Sea" when she disguised herself as a black servant by rubbing crushed walnuts on her skin and then sneaking into his office: although she got the plans, she was captured before turning them over to the Confederate forces.
The Confederate Signal Corps was an organization created in 1862 within the Confederate Secret Service to intercept, decipher, and send secret messages.

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