Belle Boyd: Confederate Woman Spy

Essay by joeyk06High School, 11th gradeA, July 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.9 1 reviews

When a person today thinks of a spy, he or she normally pictures James Bond with a nice suit and big guns. Spies are not a new thing and do not exist only in this modern form. Spies have always existed in many different forms: one of the most important forms is a women spy. The best spies are people that would never be expected. Throughout history, women have been spies and the American Civil War was no exception. Females provided imperative information, whether they dressed as men and joined the army, posed as senseless slaves, or just kept their ears open in social circles. It was a woman spy who provided the Union battle plans to the Confederate Army, which allowed them to win the First Battle of Manassass, also known as First Bull Run (Payne). This woman was Belle Boyd and one of the greatest women spies in American History.

She used her quick-wittedness and charm to successfully spy for the Confederate Army (Female Heroes and Spies of the Civil War).

Isabelle Boyd was born on May 9, 1844 in Martinsburg, Virginia; she would later be called Belle Boyd, "La Belle Rebelle", "Siren of the Shenandoah" and "rebel Joan of Arc." Boyd attended Mount Washington Female College in Baltimore from 1856 to 1860. When she returned to Martinsburg, she took part in fund raising events to benefit the Confederacy. When Union soldiers occupied her hometown in July 1861, Boyd mingled with the Union officers, picking up pieces of military secrets, which she passed along by messenger to Confederate Officials. One of these letters was intercepted, but the Union officers only reprimanded Miss Boyd. She was appointed courier for Generals Beauregard and Thomas Jackson (Remember the Ladies).

Boyd operated her spying operations from her father's hotel in Front...