Among the famous spies of the War Between the
States was Belle Boyd who did intelligence work for President Jefferson
Davis and the Confederacy.
Boyd was born in Martinsburg, Virginia on May 9,
1843, and war correspondents nicknamed her "La Belle Rebelle." New York
newspapers called her "That Secesh Cleopatra." The vivacious and outspoken
Belle Boyd loved the attention she received. Her career as a Confederate
spy started at the beginning of the War Between the States, and she would
become the most colorful and famous of the Southern agents.
Belle was a natural for spying and would use her
keen eyes and charms to coax secrets from the Union officers. She thrived
on daring and risky night rides to pass on information to General's
Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart.
By age 21 Belle Boyd had been arrested 7 times
and imprisoned twice by the federals. Even when she was serving time in
Washington, D.C. at Old Capitol Prison she still found a way to get
messages of vital information to the Confederates. She was sent twice back
to her lines and told to stay away, however, in 1863 she accepted a
mission to take diplomatic dispatches to England for President Jefferson
After the War Between the States, Belle Boyd
became an actress. She also lectured on her war time experiences as a spy
and wrote an account of her exploits, entitled, "Belle Boyd in Camp and
Prison." She was well received in the North and South.
Belle Boyd died of a heart attack in Kilbourne,
Wisconsin on June 11, 1900.