The Double Lives of Spies in the Civil War By Alyssa Fabia
1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected president of the U.S. Once, Lincoln was elected many of the Southerners that lived in the capital of Washington D.C. moved down south to the newly seceded Confederate States of America a year later. One of the few Southerners that stayed at the capital was Rose O’Neal Greenhow (showed on the right). Rose had vowed to still serve the South despite her residency in the Union. The Confederate President Davis was one of Rose’s closest friends.
“ No drop of Yankee blood ever polluted my veins.” -Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Spring of 1861: Rose is recruited to be a Southern Spy Recruited by Col. Thomas Jordan she was appointed to do whatever it takes to retrieve vital intelligence of the enemy: the Union government. She gladly accepted the proposition and was handed a 26-symbol cipher to code the messages she would send to important Confederate leaders. (to the right is a message that Rose has written in code)
July 1861 The Blood Bath That is Battle of bull run Lincoln launches a surprise attack against the Confederates. Unfortunately for the Federals, Rose knew about the plan before hand and immediately sent a young girl to send the crucial information over to important confederate leaders. The young girl was Bettie Duvall and she cleverly hid the important message in the curls of her dark hair no larger than a silver dollar. To the right is the silk purse that Bettie Duvall had hid the coded message and then late on tie onto her hair. When the message was deciphered it stated: “McDowell has certainly been ordered to advance on the sixteenth. R.O.G.”
Rose’s Collaborators Bettie Duvall wasn’t the only one of Rose’s messengers. Rose had an entire spy ring that stretched all across the segregated nation. These messengers passed along the vital information all over the country until it had reached its intended destination. Some of her most trusted couriers also called scoutes were included Lillie Mackall, banker William Smithson (double life as Charles Cable), dentist Aaron Van Camp, and her own daughter little Rose
July 21 1861the conquering Confederates win The battle of bull run Once notified about the confederate victory Rose received gratitude from the Confederate president Davis, claiming that the confederacy had owed Rose a debt. Later on after the battle, Rose continued her traitorous acts of betrayal to the Federals. Seducing many Union political figures, generals, and officials. Such officials sent Rose various love letters that showed their emotional standing toward Rose (to the right is one example). However, Rose became imprudent about these dangerous documents and left them scattered in her home rather than being disposed of immediately.
1861 out of the loss of the battle of bull run a union loyalist is born out of a southern belle At the loss of the battle of bull run for the union, a woman observed the Confederates wild celebration calls, silently mourning in her southern home. Living in the heart of the confederacy , Elizabeth Van Lew was born in Virginia both grew up with abolitionists aspects. At the start of the war, she refused the offer to aid confederate soldiers with their necessities. This proved to be a fatal mistake as she was accused of treachery and faced the charges of deportation, imprisonment, and even possible death penalty. To avoid these charges, she led the double life of pretending to be loyal to the south at the same time discreetly aiding the Union. Elizabeth Van Lew was born a Southern Woman but raised with thoughts of anti-slavery and a strong hatred towards the Confederates.
“Miss Lizzie” finds a way to contact with the prisoners One of the many achievement that Miss Lizzie accomplished was the aiding of the captured Union cavalry She flattered and sweetened the prison guard into letting her provide food and clothing to the prisoners of war Along with food and clothing, Miss Lizzie also had given the prisoners books in which they underlined certain words that when put together could be read as messages However, these acts of kindness towards the “damn Yankees” were highly disapproved of and Miss Lizzie was again subject to serious charges To gain the trust of the Confederates again she had to feign her loyalty and played a last desperate card by welcomingCapt. George C. Gibbs, a new prison guard for the captured Union cavalry, and his family to her home for boarding.
August 22 1861 “Wild Rose” Is discovered of her Dastardly deeds Allan Pinkerton head of the Union Secret Service organization was informed that a certain Southern woman living in the midst of Washington D.C. was obtaining incriminating Union plans and sending the intelligence to Southern officials. To investigate the case, Pinkerton went late at night to the Greenhow residence in which he discovered one of his own federal official was betraying their country. Soon later Pinkerton reported his surveillance of the Greenhow and concluded that Rose was indeed guilty of treason. Then locking up in her own, Pinkerton and his crew of detectives scoured the house to find her journal full of union plans, love letters from federal officials, and letters of Federal military strategy. Which were hidden in all manners of ways including in the clothes of Mrs. Greenhow was currently wearing. Rose’s home turned into jail for traitorous women. Rose and her scouts were forced to confine in what is known as “Fort Greenhow”
Life in confinement Despite of Rose’s imprisonment in her own home, she was able to discreetly send out messages to Confederate officials. She did this by infatuating the prison guard to letting her use writing utensils and paper and sending out her daughter with messages in a ball of yarn. She was then discovered of these traitorous acts and was moved to The Old Capital Prison where many traitorous people were withheld. while at The Old Capital Prison she was disgusted by the shabby condition, but she did not have to wait long. She skipped a trial due to the incriminating facts about the government that she could deal out with her sharp tongue; instead she had a hearing in which shortly afterwards was exiled to the Confederacy.
March 1862 Confederates take a blow: Security is tightened The confederates suffered great battles losses at which point forced the Confederate government to tighten the security greatly. The act of donating goods to the Union soldiers were now intolerable, so Miss Lizzie had to think of more devious ways to supply aid to the Union soldiers. One of her plans was to persuade surgeons to have the union soldiers stay at hospitals so she could offer necessities to the soldiers legally but this was only of a short time. The use of bribery then came into play as they bribed prison guards to sneak in necessities to the captured soldiers to look the other way when a soldier was escaping. This was Miss Lizzie’s humble home where she supervised a massive underground refuge for escaping union soldiers
Miss Lizzie’s Richmond Underground for Escaping union Soldiers Miss Lizzie’s home was full of secret chambers which she confined escaping Union soldiers until they were led to freedom into Federal territory. One such chamber (to the right) was up in Miss Lizzie’s attic where it could be opened by a secret spring hidden behind an antique chest of drawers. On the far right, Miss Lizzie is providing a hidden soldier with food by the light of a candle.
January 1, 1863 Lincoln’s Emancipation Declaration The announcement of all the slaves being free in the whole nation , also known as the Emancipation Proclamation, hardened the lives of Miss Lizzie and her conspirators. As the security of the Confederates tightened, even tighter than ever before, prisons were overstocked with convicts and food was a rare necessity. about the intensified security, she was finally reached by the government by Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler and hatched a plan to free some of the Union officials.